Monday, January 21, 2008

N.Y. Jews commemorate Martin Luther King Day


My children’s private school did not have today off, which I think is a disgrace. MLK Day is not a black holiday, it is an American Holiday—and we must all embrace it as such.

MLK JR. was a great American, and his dream was also the dream of many of the young Jews who fought and died (yes, friends, DIED) for the civil rights movement in America.

Brandeis said that “The highest Jewish Ideals are essentially American.” The same Torah values we espouse are those that MLK JR. espoused—that of freedom, equality under the law, and respect for all humankind.

It is great to see other communities seeing us supporting and believing in the very values that we say we hold so dear. It is a moment when we can stand tall with those who also believe in the sanctity of human life and the right to be free.


Last update - 23:52 21/01/2008
Dozens of events planned
By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent

The Jewish community of New York on Monday commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in a manner described by community heads as "exceptional" and "awe aspiring."

Close to 50 events and ceremonies were held throughout New York by the city's Jewish community to honor 40 years since the assassination of the civil rights leader.

New York Rabbi Mark Schneier, in a conversation with Haaretz on Monday, said that an editor of a weekly widely-circulated among the city's African American community told him the scope of events held by Jewish groups to commemorate the day was wider than in the black community.

Rabbi Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said that up until five years ago, the Jewish community did not organize as a collective to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Schneier said the community's rising awareness of the significance of this day might have to do with a growing sense among American Jews of the need for a "moral ally" in their struggle against anti-Semitism and intolerance.

The Jewish community is eager to be more actively involved in projects that are not directly concerned with Jewish issues, Schneier added.

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