Civil Rights in the 21st Century. For Whom the Bell Tolls. By Dr Herbert Brockman

In the fall of 1961, with the completion of their new sanctuary on Ridge Rd here in Hamden, Congregation Mishkan Israel considered who should be invited to dedicate their new synagogue.  The Rabbi, Robert Goldburg, had been arrested in a civil rights demonstration in Florida along with the Rev Dr.Martin Luther King.  Who better, he felt, than to invite Dr. King to speak that evening.  The congregation was to be a sacred place that was dedicated to serving its members but also to be a "light to the nations."  That meant literally, to the hungry, feed them, to the naked, clothe them, and to the oppressed, liberate them.  On Friday, October 20, 1961 Dr. King dedicated the Congregation to those ideals.

After his murder in 1968, as a way of continuing the legacy of Dr. King and reaffirming its commitment to uphold that legacy, the Congregation began to hold an annual service in his memory.  Over the last half dozen years, the service has become an interfaith service with clergy from nearly two dozen faith traditions participating.  It is held on the Friday evening of the birthday anniversary of Dr. King.  This year, the service will be held on Friday, January 19th at 7:30pm.  The synagogue is located at 785 Ridge Rd in Hamden and the community is most welcome. 

This year, the Rabbi Emeritus, Dr. Herbert Brockman will be the speaker.  His topic will be "Civil Rights in the 21st Century:  For Whom the Bell Tolls."  Rabbi Brockman wrote: "By the mid-1960s, it had seemed that questions of civil rights and human rights in this country had been resolved, at least in law if not completely in practice.  It turns out that especially over the last few years, this is not the case.  In fact we are witnessing that the number of groups most vulnerable to growing reactionary forces is increasing.  We are in the midst of a new struggle for the soul of America.  What lessons can we learn from the legacy of Dr.King?"

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David Asbery