Today, as I write this article, we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When you read it, we will be two months away from celebrating together at GLT’s 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner. I recently read that “(Dr.) King’s life has been interpreted in new ways by successive generations of scholars.” I found this especially poignant following our Shabbat service this weekend where we merged choirs with the St. James United Methodist
Church, aptly named the Unity Choir. We listened to the beautiful words of Dr. Tarece Johnson, who taught us that “Dr. King suffered emotionally and spiritually during the last days of his life. Dr. King was assassinated by a White supremist at the tender age 39. Although he was young, because of the extreme stress he suffered, according to a coroner, he had the heart of a 60-year-old.”
Dr. Johnson made a connection between Dr. King and Moses, as both were imperfect perfect men who risked their lives for freedom. She motivated us with her words, “I hope you too will understand that even though you are imperfect, you can still do the perfect work to change yourself to be and do better. When you change who you are and take a stand for doing what is right, you will change the systems that enslave and oppress people. You will help to dismantle systemic racism that is the silent killer of Black and Brown people. You will build authentic solidarity to eradicate the ignorance
and hate that feeds anti-Semitism.”
This last sentence brought me back to the Community-Wide Solidarity Event our GLT community attended earlier in the month in Sandy Springs. The event was hosted in response to the Hanukkah attacks on Jews in the New York metropolitan area, culminating in the stabbing attack at a Rabbi’s home in Monsey. We heard from Jewish and Christian leaders, black and white members of the community, and speakers ranging in ages from 13 to 63. “We stood together in hope and unity, across denominations, races, organizations, geographic neighborhoods, and all else that can divide us, because what unites us as Jewish Atlanta is stronger than anything that divides us.”
Dr. King believed that the experience of Jews during the Holocaust was significant for the civil rights movement. “There isn’t anyone in this country more likely to understand our struggle than Jews,” his lawyer and close adviser, Clarence B. Jones, said King told him. He chose Joachim Prinz, a rabbi in pre-World War II Berlin who fled Hitler to become president
of the American Jewish Congress, as the speaker just prior to delivering his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In his short but profound speech, Prinz said, “I remember being a rabbi in Hitler’s Germany and remember many tragic things of those times. What I remember is that hate, intolerance, and bigotry are not the worst things. The worst thing that I remember was the silence of the good people.”
I hope the entire GLT family can join us on Sunday, March 15 at The Metropolitan Club as we celebrate 10 years of leadership with Rabbi Michael and Tracie Bernstein. We also honor a decade in our beautiful building. Join us for cocktails, dinner and live entertainment. Thank you in advance to everyone who is working to make this event a success!

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