Rabbi Rick Jacobs to Speak at 50th Anniversary March on Washington



Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, will represent the Reform Movement at the 50th Anniversary March on Washington on 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.

Rabbi Jacobs said,

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. 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, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Lincoln Monument to listen as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recited the 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 were at the forefront of some of the most important civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, 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 historic Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were 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.

On Wednesday, August 28, those in Washington, D.C. are invited to join staff at the RAC (2027 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) for a bagel brunch at 9 AM and then walk to the National Mall for speeches by Presidents Obama, Clinton and Carter. For more information, contact Isaac Nuell.

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