It does not take a newspaper to make good news. If you want the newspaper version of the 11th Annual “MLK Shabbat: Visions of Freedom and Justice” honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel service Friday night at the 6th and I Synagogue in DC, here is a link to it:
The press coverage is relatively decent. However, the thousand (or so) people of all faiths and “beliefs” (and “disbeliefs”) who crowded in to attend the service will recognize, the press account misses some of the true feeling and the essence of being present at the deeply-rooted interfaith service. It was a service built on a strong foundation of a shared home and shared mission that continues to grow. The foundation is built on the two faiths that have shared one building—what is now 6th and I Synagogue, which was once Adas Israel Synagogue from 1908 until 1951, then became Turner Memorial AME Church from 1951 until 2001, and is now Sixth and I (from 2004 to now and the future).
What was striking on Friday night were the feelings of the residents of one home that was faithfully shared over the span of more than a hundred years, now coming together again to share and become one congregation of people, who have so much in common—the human condition, and goal of everyone having a good-quality life. But what we have in common is unfortunately sometimes forgotten and “passed over,” by the stresses of everyday life. Hopefully, it will not be easily forgotten again by, at least, those who attended this incredibly moving service that featured several faith leaders, two choirs (I was especially proud to have one of my nephews participating in one of the choirs), and dancers who worked together and separately (but always linked) showing a path to our merging musical and dancing traditions so effectively. There were words spoken that were so moving, but it was the spirit and common feeling that was the most powerful. It was a glorious night of memories that fills the holiday that we celebrate and commemorate today, and gives us a sense of hope that we do indeed have a path to our common dreams .