As a religious leader and teacher, Dr. Martin Luther King found great inspiration in the Hebrew Bible, and especially in the experiences of the Israelites who had gone from slavery to freedom. Clearly, for so many he was as a modern-day Moses, as he sought justice and human decency, not only for Afro-American people, but for all people. For many of us, it is hard to imagine a time when black people were not allowed to vote in this country, a time when black people were required to sit in the back of buses or drink from separate water fountains.
We Jews felt a strong kinship with Dr. King and his cause. For we knew and know only too well what it means to be the one who is identified as somehow less worthy, if not less human, than those who would proclaim their own superiority.
Yes, Dr. King found strength and inspiration in the words of the Hebrew prophets who cried out for justice, and for human beings to see something of themselves in each other. He was as a modern-day Moses as he cried out “let my people go” forth to freedom and dignity and equality.
And so tonight, as we join our nation’s commemoration of Dr. King’s birthday, we welcome the good people of the Antioch Baptist Church, and their minister, The Reverend Paul Briggs.
I hope you and your children will join us at our Sabbath service as we affirm a message of hope and promise for all people, and as we enjoy some magnificent music presented by the Antioch choir.
Rabbi David Greenberg