Watch CBS News

Jewish Community Center SF unites diverse communities at Soul Vey event

SF Jewish center's Soul Vey celebration unites diverse communities
SF Jewish center's Soul Vey celebration unites diverse communities 02:55

SAN FRANCISCO -- With political and ethnic tensions affecting cultures across the United States, one young Jewish American leader hopes to spread hope and healing.

Adam Swig is a community activist and founder of the nonprofit, Value Culture.

Known for putting on diverse gatherings throughout San Francisco, his event series Soul Vey brings Black and Jewish communities together to break bread over a culturally diverse Shabbat meal.

"We want to do something special. It's Shabbat which, to me, is a Friendsgiving on Friday night. We want to bring people together and it's important to us to bring different cultures together," Swig said.

Chef Vee of Smoke Soul Kitchen catered the event with her popular soul food dishes like maple barbecue chicken and gluten-free mac and cheese.

"I'm born and raised in San Francisco. We are one of the most diverse cities and so to be able to have a mashup of cultures is very significant and important to me. It's the basis of my business. We base our business on bringing everyone into our family," she said.

"It's family," Swig said. "It's breaking bread and knowing that we love each other ... We gotta love each other, just keep doing it!" 

Swig hopes to expand these intercultural gatherings and bring back the true meaning of Shabbat which, according to Jhos Singer, a maggid with the JCC SF, is about rest, reflection and peace.

"Judaism welcomes all people to take that day of really focusing on your heart and your soul to all people. Our deep belief is that, if we were able to do this -- everybody, just once -- then there would be peace in the world," Singer said.

Peace is the very sentiment Meaghan Mitchell, cohost of the gathering and president of the African American Arts & Cultural District, hopes people will walk away with.

"We are here to love. Understand each othe. To have real conversations and keep building that community," Mitchell said.

According to Swig, community starts by simply coming out of your comfort zone. He is a pacifist by conviction.

"Non-violence is the way. If we do this, we can go a long way. Just give peace a chance," Swig said.

He hopes such continued intercultural gatherings will create a ripple effect of healing throughout the Bay Area and nationwide.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.