With MLK Day in mind, religious leaders pushing for equality

Rabbi Alan Litwak, senior rabbi at Temple Sinai of North Dade, gathered with other religious leaders Thursday to discuss the need to work together across religious lines. Litwak said the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have celebrated his 86th birthday Thursday, still hold true today.

“Time has not diminished the power or urgency of his words,” he said. “His vision and message are as timely and vital to the causes of social and economic justice as they were a half century ago.”

Temple Sinai, 18801 NE 22nd Ave., will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Interfaith Shabbat Service at 7 p.m. Friday in advance of Monday’s national holiday. The service, which has been led by Litwak since 2008, is open to the public and will feature Bernard LaFayette Jr., senior scholar-in- residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and the chair of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

LaFayette is a longtime civil-rights activist who worked with King during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, he co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At the service, LaFayette will share his memories and hopes for the future to reinforce a dialogue across faiths.

“When we are in dialogue, it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong,” Litwak said. “It’s about what is it that you believe and what is it that I believe and how we can come together in respect of those differences.

“So our hope is that people will come, be inspired and then will join us in all of the other programming that we are looking froward to putting together.”

The service will help African-American and Jewish communities to form a strong relationship and work together, Litwak said. In the future, the rabbi hopes to put on interfaith educational, cultural and political programming to fight for equality.

The Rev. Richard Dunn, from Faith Community Baptist Church, said Friday’s service and dialogue will be a start to bridging the gaps between different communities.

“We have more in common than we have different,” he said. “It has always been about people of goodwill and the common good. This is what we’re trying to accomplish.”


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