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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776
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Marting Luther King Jr Day


  1. Jan 2005 Digest 2005-10

    Here in Atlanta where Dr. King and his son (Junior) preached and lived, our congregation does not have a "memorial service" for him, but rather a celebration of his life and goals of freedom for all. It is notable that this date usually falls right around the time we are reading from the book of Exodus, so the tie-in is not lost on anyone.

                This year…we are having our annual MLK Shabbat. We invite congregants of a Black church for a traditional Shabbat dinner, followed by Shabbat services at which their minister preaches the sermon from our pulpit. This year we have the honor of hosting the members of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta (MLK's own church) and their current minister, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Roberts. Another component of the evening is that our volunteer choir and the church choir prepare an appropriate song which we practice separately and then sing together as an anthem immediately following the sermon. Sometimes it is a Psalm. Last year it was When You Believe from Prince of Egypt, which has the Mi Chamocha imbedded in it. This year we are singing Peace by Piece by Robbie Solomon. We close the service by singing We Shall Overcome -- hokey, but perfect in this setting.

    This is a huge event, drawing our own congregants as hosts as well as those from the guest congregation. We make sure the tables are a mix of temple folks and guests and we make sure to sit with the guests and help them through the service as well. We plan it months in advance and we think of it as a social action program.  Special note: Each temple members' dinner fee covers one church guest, so there is no charge to them.

    My suggestion for a school event…is to invite students from another school for a special assembly, to a study group or play of the story of the exodus, or to do a social action extra-curricular activity together like serving at a homeless shelter. My personal feeling is that instead of a memorial service, Dr. King would have rather wanted a project to directly further his ideals of unity and freedom. Doing it with kids is a perfect place to start.


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