MLK Talmud and #MLKeveryday


"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every January, Americans across the country celebrate Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday in honor of prolific civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thousands of people come together to uphold Dr. King's legacy through a day of service, donating our time to make a difference in our communities and our world--and while we know that service is a critical component of change, we also know that it is not the only piece of the puzzle.

This year, JCC Harlem, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and Repair the World, are posing a challenge to ourselves and our community: to engage in conversations about the importance of connecting service to the systemic issues that create the need for such service. It is our hope that you will join us in honoring Dr. King's legacy not only through service, but also through thoughtful learning and advocacy; and not only one day a year, but everyday.

Spearheaded by powerhouse Ruth Messinger, social justice activist in residence at the JCC, and in collaboration with our friends at the organizations listed above, we are thrilled to make available to you a project that is very near and dear to our hearts: The Talmud of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This document borrows from the format of the Talmud, one of Judaism's most sacred texts, to help people engage in conversations about how Dr. King's legacy can best be honored on the federal holiday weekend and throughout the entire year.

The Talmud of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. centralizes a sermon delivered by Dr. King at New York's Riverside Church in April 1967, just one year before his assassination. Understanding Dr. King's sermon as sacred text, we have placed excerpts from this speech in the center of each page, surrounded by ancient and contemporary Jewish texts and wisdoms so that the writings speak to each other. The conversations this animates between the texts span several millennia, and are as relevant and urgent today as they were when Dr. King spoke these words 52 years ago.

Please explore The Talmud of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and accompanying facilitation guide below. We encourage you to distribute it widely!

Click here to download the a PDF of the MLK Talmud
Click here to download a PDF of the accompanying facilitation guide

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