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April 12, 1968 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Jews Join in Mourning 'Black Moses,' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

H

The Rev. Martin Luther King
Jr., "the Black Moses" whose
dream linked the destinies of
Negro and white brothers, was
mourned this week by Christian
and Jew alike.
Since his assassination in Mem-
phis last Friday, shock waves have
reverberated throughout the coun-
try, with Jewish leaders asserting
anew their dedication to the prin-
ciples for which Dr. King stood.
In Detroit. the enforced curfew
last weekend resulted in the can-
cellation of many events, including
the Midnight Memorial Vigil com-
memorating the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising, the Youth Rally for Soviet
Jewry (both of which were sched-
uled at the Jewish Center, which
closed Saturday night and Sunday)
and the Brandeis University Vicen-
nial Ball. The vigil has been re-
scheduled for April 27.
However, it was more than the
enforced curfew which curtailed
many activities. Genuine grief
was expressed by communal
leaders, rabbis and laymen. De-
troit ara synagogues held special
memorial services, and Jewish
schools arranged assemblies.
The Jewish National Fund office
reported a number of tree pur-
chases by individuals in memory
of Dr. King.
Dr. Samuel Krohn, president of
the Jewish Community Council,
went on television Sunday morning,
and in a special message issued
jointly with Rabbi Leon Fram,
chairman of the council's rabbinic
commission, stated:
"The synagogues and temples of
this area. at religious services
this weekend, commemorated our
common loss resulting from a
senseless tragedy which removed
from our midst a great leader, a
great spiritual force, and a great
American.
"We can not at this stage begin
to assess the impact of Dr. King's
influence upon our nation's ulti-
mate destiny; and to his family
which bears the burden of per-
sonal grief, we can express only
OUT sympathy.
"We can, however, try to rise
to the occasion as citizens of a

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great land for which Dr. King had
such high hopes and aspirations.
By our will and our understanding,
we can meet the challenges that
he articulated and insure for him
the place in our history that he
so richly deserved."
The Council and the Jewish Wel-
fare Federation held an assembly
in the Butzel Building Tuesday—
the day of Dr. King's funeral in
Atlanta—which was attended by
representatives of the Detroit
Council of Churches, the Detroit
Urban League and other institu-
tions in the area, as well as staff
members of the Federation and
its agencies.
Local Jewish agencies echoed
the sentiments of their national
organizations, which expressed
their grief and at the same time
urged dedication to Dr. King's
program of nonviolent progress
toward equality.
Speaking from the Emergency
Midwest Conference of the Amer-
ican Jewish Committee in Chicago
April 5, Lewis S. Grossman, chair-
man of the Detroit Chapter of the
American Jewish Committee,
stated that members would do all
they can to implement in the next
three to six months the short-range
recommendations of the Kerner
Commission on Civil Disorders
relative to jobs, education, housing,
recreation and police-community
relations. Grossman declared:
"America can bring something
out of the senseless murder of Dr.
King, if the House of Representa-
tives immediately passes the civil
rights bill already passed by the
Senate and if Congress approves
the supplemental appropriations to
poverty and job programs and
eliminates the punitive restrictions
of ADC assistance. The Michigan
legislature would be criminally
deficient if there is any further
delay in the passing of a strong
fair housing bill. (The Congress
bill later passed the House and
was expected to be signed by the
President as this paper went to
press.)
"The American Jewish Commit-
tee pledges that, together with re-
ligious, business, labor and civil
groups of all races, it will expand
every effort in the next six months
to help energize America to re-
lease the conscience, talents and
resources of all segments of
American society to begin to
achieve Dr. King's `dreams'."
Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, presi-
dent of the American Jewish Con-
gress, said "We must weep not
only for the death of a great and
good man; we must weep for the
image of America distorted by
evil prejudice and violence. Twice
now in one generation we have
snuffed out the lives of dedicated
and youthful champions who car-
ried in their hands the hopes of
mankind .. .
"Can we not unite in this mo-
ment of shared sorrow and dis-
grace to restore the America we
love, to rebuild its cities and the
dignity of its people, to erase its
ugliness and to make it stand
once again for brotherhood, liberty
and justice for all?"
Dr. Samuel Belkin, president of
Yeshiva University, described Dr.
King as "not only a man of his
time but of all time. He was more
than a leader of a specific con-
temporary cause. He represented
the dream of America that some
day his children, and all children,
will be judged solely on the basis
of ability and character. He rep-

resented, too, the moral principles
by which God wishes all of us to
live. His life exalted us and his
death diminishes us."
The Council of Jewish Federa-
tions and Welfare Funds urged
rededication "to the struggle that
engrossed Dr. King and took his
life. His vision of social justice
must be embodied now in specific
programs of jobs for all, quality
education, free access to housing,
and social service programs that
respect the dignity of the indi-
vidual."
The National Council of Jewish
Women, also stressing rededica-
tion, said, "We believe that we
can take the first step toward
the building of that monument
by passing the open housing bill
in Congress next week. We urge
our national legislators and lead-
ers to renew the faith of Negroes
and whites in America by taking
this important step forward on
the road to true equality."
Others who expressed sadness
over the murder of the Negro civil
rights leader included Morris
Abram, president of the American
Jewish Committee; Rabbi Joachim
Prinz, past president of the Amer-
ican Jewish Congress and a na-
tional chairman of Mr. King's 1964
march on Washington; Dore
Schary, chairman of the Anti-
Defamation League; Rabbi Levi
Olan, president of the Central Con-
ference of American Rabbis;
Henry N. Rapaport, president of
the United Synagogue of America;
Rabbi Ralph Simon, president of
the Rabbinical Assembly; Rabbi
Jacob Rudin, president of the
Synagogue Council of America;
Jordan C. Band, chairman, and
Isaiah Minkoff, executive vice-
chairman of the National Com-
munity Relations Advisory Coun-
cil; and Adolph Rosenberg, presi-
dent of the American Jewish
Press Association.
The Israel Bond Organization,
by order of Dr. Joseph Schwartz,
president, requested all its offices
throughout the country to be closed
Tuesday.
Jacques Torczyner, president of
the Zionist Organization of Amer-
ica sent a letter to Mrs. King,
expressing the sympathy of the
ZOA. "We Jews who have known
oppression and have suffered at
the hands of violent people deeply
understand the vision and the work
of Dr. King," said Torczyner. "We
join all thoughtful Americans in
the hope that America to be will
be fashioned in the image of your
husband's prophecy. The excel-
lence of his legacy is permanent."
Dr. King was a friend of Israel
and less than two weeks before his
death had told a convention of
Conservative rabbis in New York:
"Peace for Israel means se-
curity, and we must stand with
all our might to protect its right
to exist, its territorial integrity."
He called Israel "one of the
great outposts of democracy in
the world" and said it was "a
marvelous example of what can
be done, how desert land can be
transformed into an oasis of
brotherhood and democracy."
At that convention of the Rab-
binical Assembly, attended by a
number of Detroit rabbis, Dr. King
had been welcomed with a stand-
ing ovation, and the crowd of 1,500
greeted him with the civil rights
anthem "We Shall Overcome" in
Hebrew.
The Labor Zionist Organization
of America-Poale Zion, in its mes-
sage issued by Hy Faine, national

president, recalled that Dr. King American Jewish organizations at-
"was always ready to speak out tending the two-day biennial meet-
on behalf of Soviet Jewry, whose ing of the American Jewish Con-
aspirations for civil rights he com- ference for Soviet Jewry in New
Continued on Page 28)
pared with those of his own people.
He was among the first to append
his signature to the declaration of THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
support of Israel by clergymen in
Friday, April 12, 1968-27
the darkest days of the crisis in
May-June of 1967. Always a sup-
porter of organized -labor, he mani-
fested a very real interest in Labor
Israel and the progress of the new
state."
Many Detroiters had been with
REPAIR AND
Dr. King in 1964 when, joined by
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religious leaders of all faiths, he
had marched on Washington in
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Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr. was presented
with the Synagogue
Council of America's
"Judaism and World
Peace" award in De-
cember 1965. Making
the presentation is
Rabbi Abraham Joshua
Heschel of the Jewish
Theological Seminary,
a close friend of Dr.
King, who spoke at the
funeral Tuesday.

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