Sign In Forgot Password

The Jewish relationship with MLK

01/12/2023 04:40:24 PM


Aileen Grossberg, Librarian

In Tribute to MLK Jr Day

The Jewish Response to the Civil Rights Movement - Temple Beth Elohim  Wellesley, MAWe celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life in just a few days.  His relationship with the Jewish community was marked by his friendship with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. When King asked the Rabbi if he had found time to pray, Heschel famously answered  that he “felt his legs were praying”  as he stood with King and walked with King in the marches of the mid 1960s.

In the years since King and Heschel’s friendship, the relationship between Jews and Blacks has sometimes been fraught with tension. However, the long history of Jewish support for the Black community and civil rights seem , in the long run, to overcome the tensions.
Today, white Jews are discovering their Black Jewish brethren as we acknowledge the diversity among people who practice Judaism.

The following books,  available in the synagogue or public library, are just a few  that highlight  the history of the Black-Jewish relationship.



Gad                  The Color of Love: a memoir of a mixed-race Jewish girl (2019)

Greene             The Temple Bombing (1996) A readable study of the racially motivated 1958 bombing of The Temple in Atlanta.

Hoffman           The Great White Way: race and the Broadway musical (2020)

McBride           The Color of Water: a Black man’s tribute to his white mother (1996)

Schneier           Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr and the Jewish community (1999)

Schwartz          Ghetto: the history of a word (2019)

Twitty               Koshersoul: the faith and food journey of an African-American Jew (2022)

Non-Fiction Young Readers

Churnin            Martin & Anne: the kindred spirits of Martin Luther King Jr and Anne Frank (2019)                                  Both were born in 1929 and became household names for their words.

Fishman           When Jackie and Hank Met. (2012) What happened when legendary Jewish baseball player Hank Greenberg and rookie major leaguer Jackie Robinson literally collided on the baseball field.

Finkelstein        Schools of Hope: the Rosenwald Schools of the American South (2014) Young Adult

Michelson         As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s amazing march toward freedom (2008)

Rose                 The Singer and the Scientist. (2021) The story of the friendship between singer Marian Anderson and scientist Albert Einstein who bonded over their mutual love of music            

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784