Contact: Annette Powers
August 23, 2013, New York, NY — Union for Reform Judaism’s President Rabbi Rick Jacobs will represent the Reform Movement at the 50th Anniversary March on Washington on Saturday, August 24, 2013, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The program will feature an interfaith ecumenical prayer service with national clergy and live musical performances.
“I am honored to speak and carry on the tradition of Reform Jewish leaders, who have been at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for decades,” said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “We must not only remember the dream of Dr. King and so many others who marched that day, but we must continue to fight. This is the season of the Jewish New Year, when we sound the shofar, the ram’s horn. It is sounded to awaken us from a slumber, to hear the cries of those in pain and to build a better world for all. Let the shofar awaken our nation to carry on Dr. King’s legacy that we may at last ‘transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.’”
Fifty years ago, people from all across America gathered at the Lincoln Monument to listen as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. galvanized the world with his now-famous words, “I have a dream.” Some 250,000 Americans of all races, religions, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds marched with their brothers and sisters as one for civil and economic rights for African Americans, and for the values that imbued our nation’s founding: the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
The Reform Jewish Community was on the front lines of this battle. Our Movement’s leaders and members were at the forefront of some of the most important civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Kivie Kaplan, a Reform Jew, URJ board member, and prominent advocate, served as the president of the NAACP and also was the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s (RAC) founding benefactor, donating the building in which the Reform Movement’s Washington, D.C. office continues to operate. The Leadership Conference was located for 30 years during the height of the Civil Rights struggle at the RAC and the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were in part drafted in the RAC’s conference room.
This video illuminates the Reform Movement’s relationship with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Movement’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. More resources can be found on the RAC’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Resource Page.
“It is a proud chapter of our history, reminding us of the achievements of our past, reflecting the challenges of our present, and inspiring our hopes for the future,” said Executive Director of the Religious Action Center Rabbi David Saperstein.
The RAC has sent special commemorative readings and materials to all URJ-member synagogues requesting that rabbis include such readings in their Shabbat services either during this week or next week’s Shabbat.