Jewish Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Resources for honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Tarece Johnson couldn’t find traditional liturgy that focused on conversion, social justice, and the Black Jewish woman experience. She decided to create her own, which includes prayers for Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is her description from “Black Jewish Prayers for Dr. Martin Luther King, Shabbat and Everyday”: 

“I did what Jewish women have done through the generations: I wrote a book of prayers and meditations, called Ahava. I was, for example, inspired to write about Martin Luther King, Jr., equality, civil rights, and the unique journey and triumphs of Black people. Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished so much because of his passion, vision and leadership. He was also successful in many of his efforts because of the support of his allies, including the Jewish community. Ahava was written from my viewpoint as a Black Jewish woman who has overcome and has found a home and love in Judaism.”

Tonda Case‘s activism focuses on relationship building, advocacy, and strategic planning for Jews of Color. In “Dr. King’s Radical Faith” she writes:

“Dr. King’s powerful legacy is one of a man who sought a radical faith—rooted in love—that allows each of us to live our lives free. May his spirit enrich and inspire us to love and to live our lives in service to justice through cultivating a radical faith. May his memory be a blessing to the world forever more.”

For another MLK prayer, read Rabbi Michael Knopf‘s Jewish prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

“Let us, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught, ‘be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power.’ Let us, in Dr. King’s words, muster that hope to have the ‘courage to face the uncertainties of the future…[to] give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom.'”

And finally, from Lynn Shusterman‘s Open Letter For Martin Luther King Day: Give Back and Pay it Forward:

“As Jews, we are commanded to give tzedakah — an act of justice, not charity—because it is the righteous thing to do. We are told it is our duty to treat everyone with derekh eretz (civility and humanity) and chesed (mercy and kindness)…As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who transformed our country with his vision and leadership, I am reminded of the deep connections between these values and what Dr. King stood for: Justice and liberty for all. Diversity and equality as fundamental tenets of our communities and our country.”

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