This week was the 52nd anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery in support of full civil rights for African Americans. It was with great excitement that I read the publicity for the anniversary and looked at the photos from the marches themselves and from the 50th anniversary celebrations with President Obama and some of the original Freedom fighters.
In exactly two months from today many of us will journey to the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge and walk in their footsteps, hear their tales of heartache and courage and understand how individuals stood up to change the course of history with their belief in justice and the values of the United States.
For decades I have been teaching a favorite text from the Book of Esther. We’ll hear it chanted this Saturday night. It is the moment when the shy, quiet, beauty queen is asked whether she will up stand and be the voice of justice who saves her people. “Mordecai had this message delivered to Esther: Do not imagine that you, of all the Jews, will escape with your life by being in the king’s palace. On the contrary, if you keep silent in this crisis, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another quarter, while you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows, perhaps you have attained royal position for just such a moment.”
The sociologists call these moments “choice points” and our country’s history and our personal histories feature these choice points when we make decisions that change the courses of our lives.
Chizuk Amuno will be taking a Jewish Civil Rights journey to examine the roots of the Southern Freedom movement and how it is more relevant than ever to our Jewish lives today. From Sunday May 7-Wednesday May 10, 2017 we will journey from choice point to choice point – Atlanta, Georgia to Montgomery, Alabama to Selma and finally to Birmingham before returning to Atlanta.
If you have not yet sent in your deposit to journey with us from May 7-10, 2017 please do so as soon as possible. I hope that you will indeed join us on what promises to be four days of inspiration, learning, up-standing, and an expression of our Jewish and American values.