With a focus on Dr. King’s later emphasis on economic, as well as racial, disparity in our country, this year’s service unveiled the newly revised Freedom Shabbat Service to our congregation. We celebrated Dr. King and congregants who have engaged in social justice work in our community including work on health care reform, homelessness, hunger, marriage equality, and concerns related to aging. We were honored to have King County Councilman, Mr. Larry Gossett, as our guest speaker. He explored the history of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign and how the current Occupy Movement is tied to this legacy. It was exciting to weave our traditional Shabbat prayers and songs with the inspiring words of poet Maya Angelou and the speeches given by Dr. King to labor unions and supporters of the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, TN.
I want to acknowledge and thank my colleagues Robby Stern and Wendy Schwartz for their work on revising the service and to give a special note of gratitude to Rabbi Beth Singer for her supportive leadership throughout the planning of the service. We hope that the service inspired – and will continue to inspire – our congregation to engage in acts of Tikkun Olam.