Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Elijah Cummings, Whose District Trump Said Is ‘Infested,’ Has An Israel Program

Rep. Elijah Cummings is a 23-year veteran of Congress and chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, but most Americans likely first heard of when when President Trump went on a multi-day Twitter tirade criticizing him and his Baltimore congressional district.

Cummings is well-known and well-liked among his district’s large Jewish community, JTA reported. He’s even the sponsor of the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel, a two-year leadership development program for non-Jewish high school students that includes a month-long trip to Israel. More than 200 people have graduated the program over the past two decades. Cummings meets with participants and donates his speaking fees to the organization.

“It helps create an understanding that I think sometimes we lack when it comes to being able to collaborate with others who don’t exactly look like you,” former participant Jaina Maultsby told the Baltimore Sun in 2017 about her Israel trip. “Even though there sometimes would be a language barrier, there was still a sense of connection.”

Baltimore has one of the country’s biggest Jewish populations, and community leaders praised his efforts to bring African-Americans and Jews together. The community “has been able to count on Rep. Cummings time and again for assistance and leadership,” Baltimore Jewish Council executive director Howard Libit told Haaretz.

On their Israel trip, fellows stay at the Yemin Orde youth village in Haifa and are paired with Israeli teens of diverse ancestry, with whom they participate in volunteer work and leadership workshops.

“Through this experience, our fellows — who come from diverse backgrounds — learn from one another about tolerance and gain appreciation of different cultures,” Cummings said in a statement to the Sun. “This cross-cultural immersion helps to foster lifelong bonds and create fertile ground for peace.”

Past participants have said that Cummings keeps in touch with alumni long after they complete the program.

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.