Representative Elijah Cummings passed away suddenly last week. As a leader in the House of Representatives and House Oversight Committee Chairman, Cummings was a great friend to all of Baltimore — especially its most vulnerable — and to all the people of the United States and Israel. Twenty years ago Representative Cummings combined these passions by founding the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel. That program is a two-year fellowship for mostly minority students that is “infused with the desire to further historic African-American and Jewish Bonds.”
As a part of their curriculum, the fellows stay in the Yemin Orde youth village near Haifa. Representative Cummings spoke about that remarkable village in an address to a plenary session of over 15,000 people at the American Israel Policy Action Committee (AIPAC) in 2014. For those who do not know about Yemin Orde, take 12 minutes to watch the fantastic video below.
Voice4Israel’s Board member Dr. Robert Gutman has been to the village of Yemin Orde twice and has found it to be “a remarkable and unique model of helping young immigrants from around the world.” Community leaders in North Carolina and the United States should view Cumming’s work in Yemin Orde as a model of providing “first-hand cross-cultural knowledge and skills.”
In their statement on his passing, the Congressional Black Caucus wrote, “As a lifelong advocate for justice, equality, and the truth, Elijah Cummings was the true definition of a leader and his commitment to civility and humanity were invaluable in times such as these.”
Elijah Cummings was a true visionary, a remarkable spirit, and a beautiful human being. Voice4Israel joins many other Jewish Organizations in expressing our sadness and condolences.