For the last half century, Americans have honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by making his birthday a day of service. This year, MLK Day feels particularly poignant as we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic and the heightened awareness of the systemic racism that still plagues our country. To help you make this a day of meaning, see below a compiled list of suggested readings, programs, and volunteer opportunities across the community.

If you missed The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Understanding the Black Experience in Today's America on Sunday, January 17, you can watch the program below.

  

WAYS TO ENGAGE

The JCC Central NJ, in partnership with our CRC is offer a film series: The Black-Jewish Partnership for Social Justice. Featuring three extraordinary films that explore the relationship between the Jewish and Black communities. These true stories illuminate the Jewish/Black alliances that helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

  • January 23-25: Streaming of Joachim Prinz: I Shall Not Be Silent
  • January 30 - February 1: Streaming of They Ain’t Ready for Me (Tuesday, February 2, Zoom with film subject and the director Tamar Manasseh and Brad Rothchild)
  • February 6-8: Streaming of Shared Legacies
  • February 10: Zoom Conversation with Social Justice Matters - Rabbi Abraham and Leland McGee
    Click here for more information and to register.


Film screening and discussion of They Ain't Ready for Me
Morristown Jewish Center Beit Yisrael
Film can be viewed: January 14-17
Discussion: Sunday, January 17, 7 p.m.
They Ain't Ready for Me is a story of an African American rabbinical student who is leading the fight against senseless killings on the South side of Chicago and across the country.
Register here or contact office@mjcby.org for details. Non-members are welcome to join with a suggested donation of $18.

Rev. Terence Richardson to Speak at Shabbat Service
Temple Beth Am, Parsippany
Friday, January 15, 7:30 p.m.
Contact Debbie Lesser at office@tbaparsippany.org for Zoom information

Interfaith Service honoring MLK
Temple Shalom, Succasunna
Friday, January 15, 7:30 p.m.
Michael Soriano, Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills, will speak on the topic of Social Justice in the times of Social Distancing.
Contact templeshalom@tshalom.org

MLK Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Speaker
Temple B'nai Abraham, Livingston
Friday, January 15, 6:30 p.m.
Where Do We Go From Here: Choosing Community Over Chaos
Speaker: Ryan Haygood, Esq. President and CEO, NJ Institute for Social Justice. For details and zoom link contact tbainfo@tbanj.org

Three Summit Synagogues Joint Events
Congregation Ohr Shalom-SJCC, Temple Sinai, and Congregation Beth Hatikvah

  • Shabbat Service, Friday, January 15, 7:30 p.m.
    This MLK service will feature the choirs from each congregation and a presentation by scholar and Summit resident, Dr. Betty Livingston Adams about the lives of ordinary African women who make extraordinary contributions. For details and zoom info, contact audrey@templesinainj.org.
  • Play Reading, Sunday, January 17, 7:30 p.m.
    Crossing the Broken Bridge: Exploring Black-Jewish Relations
    This acclaimed play is a frank and provocative exploration of the strengths and strains of Black-Jewish relations. For details and zoom info, contact office@bethhatikvah.org.
  • Racial Justice Then and Now Car Procession, Monday, January 18, 2:00 p.m.
    Summit Interfaith Council

    2:00-2:15 Arrive at Summit High School parking lot, 125 Kent Place Blvd.
    2:30 Virtual program followed by a car procession past Summit Houses of Worship that will take us on a journey of racial justice then and now with inspiring quotes and images. For more info contact office@bethhatikvah.org

12th Annual Scotch Plains/Fanwood Day of Service
 Monday, January 18
Opening program: 10-11 a.m., Volunteer activities: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
 Many things have changed this year, but our commitment to Dr. King’s vision of a world that is more whole, just, and compassionate has not wavered.
For more information and to register visit spfmlkday.org

Recitation of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letters from a Birmingham Jail
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield
Monday, January 18, 1 p.m.
Click here for more information

Concert in Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
JCC MetroWest
Monday, January 18, 7:30 p.m.
Focusing on the music of African American composers and Jewish composers.

Thoughts and Perspectives for MLK Day
White Meadow Temple
Monday, January 18, 7:30 p.m.
In commemoration of the legacy of MLK, Rabbi Charlie Popky will lead a discussion about Black-Jewish relations in 2021 and attempt to unpack some of the complexities that often transcend the rhetoric of right and left. Details and zoom info are available here.

Annual Women's Interfaith Forum in honor of MLK
Temple B'nai Abraham, Livingston
Wednesday, January 20, 7:15 p.m.
How Life Has Changed for Us in a Pandemic World
Featuring a panel of speaker in the fields of mental health, education and religion. For details and zoom link contact tbainfo@tbanj.org

Parshat Vaera tells the story of Moses' growing leadership and the beginnings of the plagues in Egypt. Here, Rabbi Ariann Weitzman of Bnai Keshet Reconstructionist Synagogue in Montclair teaches us that liberation is a process, and that most of that process involves both public and private acts of resistance, many of which we'll never know about.

  

SUGGESTED READING

Adults
Strength to Love, Collection of Dr. Martin Luther King's most requested sermons
Why We Can't Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
Across That Bridge by John Lewis
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-blindness by Michelle Alexander
How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi
I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
Long Time Coming by Michael Dyson
The King Center: Books and Bibliography
Resources for Studying Racism in America

Children
Martin and Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin
As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March toward Freedom by Richard Michelson
Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr. by Jean Marzollo
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Martin Luther King Jr. [Welcome Books] by Pam Walker
Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Honoring a Civil Rights Hero by Amanda Doering
My First Biography: Martin Luther King Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr. by David A. Adler
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore
A Time to Break Silence (works but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. by Coretta Scott King
The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. by David J. Garrow
I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Manu Arthur Flowers
They Had a Dream: The Civil Rights Struggle from Frederick Douglass to Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X by Jules Archer
I Have a Dream and also Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letters to a Birmingham Jail: A Response to the Words and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by multiple contributors
PJ Library books