We’ve heard a lot of talk about building walls lately, but I want to talk to you about building something much better than walls – building bridges.
The organization doing just that is HUBB. What is a HUBB? No, it is not the cap you put on your tire, nor is it a center of activity. HUBB is an acronym for “Hands United, Building Bridges.” Not bridges of concrete and steel, but bridges of understanding, bridges of peace.
HUBB is a group of 70+ faith leaders from Hampton Roads, as well as some leaders of faith-based organizations and members of law enforcement committed to “strengthening our diverse community, searching for common ground…”
On Saturday, March 30, Rabbi Arnowitz and Dr. Antipas Harris will step up to the dais at the Annual Humanitarian Awards dinner of VCIC (Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities) to receive the Distinguished Merit Citation in the name of HUBB. VCIC was formerly known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Every year, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities presents humanitarian awards to individuals in our community who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Occasionally, local corporations or organizations are recognized with the Distinguished Merit Citation, and this year, HUBB has been selected to receive the Distinguished Merit Citation. The founding “father” is none other than our Rabbi Arnowitz!
In the spring of 2015, following unrest in Baltimore and in Ferguson six months earlier, Rabbi Arnowitz sought to create a network of faith leaders to discuss issues of race and faith in the Greater Hampton Roads area. He soon discovered a terrific partner and kindred spirit in Dr. Antipas Harris. In May of 2015, together they called a first meeting of diverse faith leaders where the idea that they could serve as a “hub for dialogue and exchange of ideas” was born. Topics include education, community policing, understanding Islam, and approaches to solving the problems of poverty.
It is my sincere hope that many of you will be with us to celebrate our rabbi’s achievements, his commitment to tikkun olam, and to lend our support to the wonderful work of VCIC.”
VCIC presents programs to our police, to public and private school students, as well as to businesses and organizations throughout the Commonwealth. These programs are meant to prevent bullying and discrimination, to stop gang activity, while promoting interfaith and interracial dialogue. VCIC is, in one sense, about walls – about tearing down walls and replacing them with bridges.
Headquartered in Richmond, VCIC’s CEO is Jonathan Zur, who happens to be Jewish himself. Under his leadership, the organization continues to make enormous strides in serving the people of Virginia. The organization and its CEO have received innumerable awards in the past several years.