Make it a “Day On”

As we prepare for this weekend’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I share the thoughts of a friend and colleague from the Main Line in Philadelphia:

 This weekend, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Even more, as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, and remember his teachings and challenges to us, we hopefully can embrace Todd Bernstein’s challenge to us (Todd is the founder of the Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service) to make Monday not a day off, but a day on–a day of service.  We will commemorate Dr. King’s visions, dreams and hopes as we join with the members of Zion Baptist Church and Rev. Jim Pollard, and of Beth Am Israel and Rabbi David Ackerman, and our Unity Choir at services on Friday night at 8:00 pm and Sunday (note-Sunday services will also be at MLRT) at 11:00 am, and in two service opportunities on Monday-one at MLRT and one at Calvary Baptist Church.

 Rabbi Joachim Prinz, himself a refugee from Germany (my parents were members of his congregation in Newark, NJ), introduced Dr. King before he delivered his now famous I Have a Dream Speech on August 28, 1963.  His words seem as relevant and moving today as then.  He said:  “When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things.  The most important thing I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem.  The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence…. America must not become a nation of onlookers.  America must not remain silent.”

 I look forward to being with you for this wonderful weekend of prayer, music, fellowship and service.

 Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Straus