In the summers between 1988 and 2002, approximately 150 African American students traveled to Israel to experience the social, political, economic, and cultural conditions of Israel and of the Israeli-Arab population. In celebration of Black History Month, the Boxser Diversity Initiative in cooperation with the ASALH Manasota Branch is bringing the documentary, Taking Israel, to Sarasota to be shown at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S Tuttle Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237on Tuesday, February 7th at 6:15 pm.

In addition to the film, the evening’s events will include a panel discussion with the participation of the film’s producer, the director as well as one of the students who was part of the original program.  A coffee reception will follow immediately after the program.

* Admission is free and open to the public with donations welcome

This program originated at Wilberforce University, in Ohio, the oldest historical Black University (HBCU) in the United States.

The film traces their journey in Israel, beginning with their three week stay at kibbutz Ramot Menashe located in northern Israel. This is followed by their five-week community service project in the Jesse Cohen community in the city of Holon, at the time, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The trip culminated with a short-term course at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The audience will view the lives of Israeli and Arab citizens through the eyes of African-American students. They will understand the student transformation and the impact the program made on Israeli’s lives. The film will shed light on how this initiative allowed students to gain a deeper cross-cultural understanding.

Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASALH) announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated since the late 19th century.

The Boxser Diversity Initiative provides speakers, exhibits, and uses other methods of communication in South West Florida to support work on issues of nationality, religion, race and gender to achieve fairness and opportunity for all.

The mission of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about Black life, history and culture to the global community.
The Manasota branch of ASALH is the largest branch in the United States.