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National Center for Black-Jewish Relations

President Statement of the Events in Israel and Gaza


End Hatred.

My heart pours out to Israel and the Jewish community here in America, who are experiencing the barbaric atrocities of Hamas terrorists and the fear and anxiety it produces, particularly because Jewish people are targets of hate.

End Antisemitism.

My heart pours out to Palestinians, who are, again, erroneously blamed for the terrorist acts by the Hamas extremists, who also oppress Palestians in Gaza, doing more harm to the struggle for freedom and autonomy.

End Prejudice.

My Black and Indigenous ancestors were oppressed people. Today, my family and I experience fear and hatred for being Black in America. When confronted with hurt and fear, it is easy and natural to give into the blind rage of hate. We resist harboring hatred.

Never condone terrorism or acts of violence toward others. Instead love humanity, value and respect the culture of all people.

Let peaceful progress prevail.

On behalf of Dillard University, our National Center for Black Jewish Relations, and my family, we ask that you stand together against terrorism, hate, antisemitism, racism, anti-arab sentiment and discrimination. Join us as we advocate for peace and progress.


Dr. Rochelle Ford, President

Dr. Ford Signature
Dillard University



November 15, 2023

Dillard University President to Urge End Antisemitism and Hate

NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, APR, president of Dillard University – home of the National Center for Black Jewish Relations –  will speak at the “American’s March for Israel, to Free Hostages, Against Antisemitism, ” urging all Americans to work collaboratively to end antisemitism and stand together against hate.

Read full statement here



Dillard University National Center for Black-Jewish Relations

In January 2023, Dr. Rochelle Ford, the eighth president of Dillard University, announced plans to relaunch the Dillard University National Center for Black-Jewish Relations. The Center was initially founded by Dillard’s fourth president, Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, in 1990.

The Center was established to reduce hostilities that seemed to be emerging between members of the African American and Jewish communities at the time. The relaunched center will not only address a re-emergence of those tensions, but it will also find points of harmony between the communities to create and inspire productive dialogue and programming.


When Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook became the president of Dillard, he set out to prepare his students for what he recognized to be “an increasingly competitive international and multicultural marketplace.” Focused on expanding students’ horizons, Cook created the Dillard University National Conference on Black-Jewish Relations in 1989. A year later, he would create the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations, making it the only center of its kind in the world.

It was Cook’s intention to “rejuvenate the Black-Jewish Coalition that was a driving force behind the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.” It was also Cook’s intention to expand students’ outlook on race relations while educating them about the understandings between African Americans and Jews. Recognizing that Dillard served as a representation of Black-Jewish relations, Cook dedicated the Avenue of the Oaks in honor of Rosa Freeman Keller, a Dillard trustee (1955-1998) and an advocate for racial equality in the city of New Orleans.

So appreciated were Cook’s efforts that he was named to the United State Holocaust Memorial Council by President Bill Clinton. He also received the Weiss Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews for International Leadership. In 1999, Cook published “Black-Jewish Relations: Dillard University National Conference Papers 1989-1997.”

Black Jewish Relations book cover


Dillard University Lawless Chapel

December and January Theme:  Abrahamic Family

December 26, 2023 -January 06, 2024
New Year’s Black Leadership Trip to Israel With Philos Black and Passages Israel 

January 15
Community Event: MLK The Beloved Community: Isaac and Ishmael
Dillard University Lawless Memorial Chapel 

February: Theme Mother Emmanuel

April Theme: Passover

Summer Theme: Abrahamic Family

TBA Israel Trip

TBA Civil Rights Trip

Past Events


Dillard University Lawless Chapel
  • Aaron Bloch, JCRC/executive director, Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish-Multicultural Affairs;

  • Meredith Ainbinder, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, Brandeis University;

  • Arnie D. Fielkow, outgoing CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans;

  • Ron Gubitz, executive director, Tulane Hillel;

  • William “Bill” Hess, trustee, Dillard University;

  • Kahlida Nicole Lloyd, founder, Mission Reconcile;

  • Wendell Shelby-Wallace, special advisor, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

  • Shari Rogers, president, Spill the Hone

Message from the President

Dear Constituent:

As I immersed myself in the history of Dillard prior to taking over the helm as the 8th president, one thing I knew we had to prioritize was the relaunching of the historic Dillard University National Center for Black-Jewish Relations, initially founded by the University’s 4th president, Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook. 

Under his leadership, from 1989 until 1997, the Center hosted national conferences and produced the book, “Black-Jewish Relations: Dillard University Conference Papers,” which President Cook edited. Cook went on to serve on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, and was awarded the Alfred W. and Genevieve Weil Medallion by the Jewish Chautauqua Society for his efforts in building more harmonious relationships between the Black and Jewish communities.

The relaunched Center is committed to advancing the work of its precursor by developing new projects that build upon the teachings, conversations, and relationships of the original. True to its mission of cultivating leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place, Dillard is committed to establishing the Center as a space for dialogue, learning, and mutual understanding between Black and Jewish communities. 

Rev. Herbert A. Brisbon, III, Dillard University’s chaplain, has been working diligently on the Center’s strategic plan, which introduces a wide range of programs, workshops, panel discussions, cultural events, and initiatives that promote dialogue and understanding between the Black and Jewish communities. 

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Ford

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Dr. Ford, President Dillard University speaking with microphone

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