San Diego Interfaith Group Participates in 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery

Share Article

Congregation Beth Israel and its interfaith partners celebrate this historic re-enactment of the historic civil rights event that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

“I am attending this trip is because I personally feel called to action based on the severe and persistent social injustices that have occurred historically and are still occurring today,” said Beth Israel Member Jennifer Litwak.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Members of Congregation Beth Israel and the San Diego interfaith community will join individuals from across the world as they participate in a weekend of events to commemorate the occasion, including a re-enactment of the historic civil rights event that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

The San Diego interfaith group is comprised of Jewish, Christian and Muslim congregations throughout the County. These diverse faith-based organizations have come together through the annual participation in the San Diego MLK Jr. Day of Interfaith Community Service. The day – which just completed its seventh year – was created by Beth Israel and First United Methodist Church. The event draws approximately 600 participants from Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faith backgrounds.

The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about the Voting Rights Movement, is sponsoring the March 5-9, 2015 weekend events. Thousands of people are participating in the events and the march, including former Unite States presidents, Congressional representatives, national personalities, entertainers, and grassroots participants from across the United States will attend.

The passage of the Civil Rights Act and Judaism are tied together in a unique way. The proposed changes to the White House's draft of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were crafted in the conference room of the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism, under the aegis of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights was located in the RAC's building for several decades.

Organizing this group trip to participate in the 50th anniversary commemoration was the brainchild of Beth Israel’s Social Action committee, who invited their interfaith partners to join the tribute. “We are very proud to participate in this important commemoration of our nation’s history,” said Rabbi Michael Berk of Beth Israel. “As a Reform congregation, we take particular pride in our role during this historic social movement.”

Aside from marching in the Selma to Montgomery event, San Diego participants will also tour the Dexter Parsonage Museum, tour the Civil Rights Memorial Center and attend a lecture by Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center. They will also participate the Bridge Crossing Jubilee Festival in Selma, and march in the Bridge Crossing re-enactment on Sunday.

“I am attending this trip is because I personally feel called to action based on the severe and persistent social injustices that have occurred historically and are still occurring today,” said Beth Israel Member Jennifer Litwak. Her interest in civil rights came about when she visited the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of her senior dissertation research project. That experience propelled Litwak to attend law school and expand her dedication to civil rights over the years.

“To me, the Bridge Crossing Jubilee epitomizes the most profound way to not be silent. We are not only remembering and celebrating the social changes that the civil rights helped to bring about but also creating a context in which to address today's most persistent social injustices, such as the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans and the glass ceiling that blocks career advancement for many woman,” said Litwak.

A Reform Jewish synagogue, Beth Israel is San Diego's oldest and largest Jewish congregation. The synagogue recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and has a membership of about 1,200 families.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karen Shein
Visit website