Jewish History of the American South and the Civil Rights Movement: Past and Present

Jewish History of the American South and the Civil Rights Movement Past and Present
with Chadeish Yameinu of Santa Cruz, CA and Temple Beth El of Aptos, CA
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 07:  "Leaders of the protest, holding flags, from left Bishop James Shannon, Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Dr. Martin Luther King and Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath." Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington Cemetery, February 6, 1968. Published February 7, 1968.  (Photo by Charles Del Vecchio/Washington Post/Getty Images)

March 11-18, 2024 (Register by: January 15)


$4,075 per person x 23-25 travelers

$3,800 per person x 26-28 travelers

$3,575 per person x 29-31 travelers

$3,400 per person x 32-35 travelers

*Prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Single room supplements are available.


The legacy of the Civil Rights Movement continues to resonate across the country. While progress has been made, persistent challenges related to race and equality necessitate ongoing efforts to combat discrimination and pursue social justice. The historic involvement of Jewish communities, including those in the American South, serves as a reminder of an enduring commitment to a fair and equitable America, transcending religious and cultural boundaries.


This week-long experience presents key sites and perspectives of the civil rights movement, and the opportunity to engage with historic Jewish communities across the region. Meet veterans of the struggle, hear from organizations working to build upon a powerful legacy, and consider our role today.


Highlights & Exclusive Experiences
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Edmund Pettus Bridge
National Voting Rights Museum & Institute
Legacy Museum
National Memorial for Peace and Justice (“Lynching Memorial”)
Civil Rights Memorial Center
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church and Parsonage Museum
Freedom Rides Museum
Shabbat in Atlanta with The Temple, Congregation Beth Averim, Atlanta Jews of Color Council, and musical guests
Breman Jewish Museum
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and King Center
“MEJDI Exclusive” Socially Conscious Experiences:
Sit down with friends & family of the victims who died in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham.
Tour Selma with a Civil Rights movement veteran.
Enjoy live music and a Q&A with a local musician about the role of music in the Civil Rights movement.
Meet with the Director from the Center for the Study of Slavery at the College of Charleston and examine the impact of slavery and race-related issues in Charleston and the surrounding region.
Have lunch with a representative from the Southern Poverty Law Center and learn about their work in civil rights and public interest litigation.
Meet with a representative from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and learn about their role in several historic civil rights movements.
Talk with a Civil rights movement veteran who participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides.
Visit the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission to learn about the importance of memory and the preservation of traditions in the Gullah Geechee culture.
Take an African sweetgrass basket making lesson with a descendant of the Gullah Geechee people.
7 nights’ accommodation as per itinerary or similar
1 expert guide throughout
Private bus transportation
Meals as per itinerary
Entrances, sites, and honorariums for speakers
Customary gratuities for tour guide and driver
US-based customer service representatives
Arrival & departure airport transfers
Single Supplement Fees ($850)
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Anything not explicitly mentioned in the included section


Rabbi Eli Cohen

Rabbi Eli Cohen serves as spiritual leader of Chadeish Yameinu, the Jewish Renewal Community of Santa Cruz.  He grew up in a Conservative Jewish home infused with Yiddish language and culture, attended a Jewish day school and has always been actively involved in synagogue life.  Rabbi Eli holds a BA in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton and a JD from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.  After practicing law as a public and juvenile defender, he received smicha (ordination) from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and the Aleph Rabbinic Program in January 2005.  In the lineage of his teachers, Rabbi Eli brings a strong commitment to bridge religious and progressive values, and to carry the depth and joy of Jewish spirituality and practice into the emerging paradigm.  

Rabbi Paula Marcus has served Temple Beth El since 1979, first as a teacher in the religious school and the preschool, then as a co-principal of the religious school, then as a congregational cantor, and as Rabbi beginning in May 2004, upon being ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. She has apprenticed with cantors in the U.S. and Israel, and she received her BA in Judaic studies from SUNY at Binghamton. She also has a masters degree in Rabbinic studies from the Academy of Jewish Religion. She demonstrates her commitment to exploring Jewish prayer and learning as rabbi, cantor, worship service leader, and teacher. Rabbi Paula sees Jewish practice as an ongoing, joyous celebration of God and ourselves. Rabbi Paula is involved in all aspects of the congregation. 

Before you Register​

Read through the Terms and Conditions

Do not book your flight until you receive the tour confirmation email from us. This tour requires a minimum number of travelers to run and we will send out the tour confirmation (and update this note on the webpage) as soon as we have met that number.

Check out travel insurance options. 

Some plans and policies [Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) or coverage for pre-existing conditions] may only available for a limited time (approximately 2 weeks) following your date of deposit.


To make a deposit and hold your spot on this trip, fill in your credit card details and billing address below. You will receive a receipt by email.


All the trips we take are educational and geared towards cultural immersion, and that’s true of MEJDI. But none are so first hand and intentionally personal as the MEJDI tour guides are.

You come away hopeful because the tour guides can have such different backgrounds and experiences and opinions and still respect each other, And, they introduce you to groups that are working to spread that throughout the world.