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How Jews are joining the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington on Shabbat

(JTA) — Six decades ago, shortly before Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Rabbi Joachim Prinz called for racial equality in an address that began with the words, “I speak to you as an American Jew.”

This Saturday, about a dozen Jews will be in the lineup of more than 100 speakers who will return to the memorial’s marble steps for what is being billed as a continuation of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on its 60th anniversary. Alongside the anniversary march, which will take place on Shabbat, an initiative is launching to encourage discussion at Friday night dinners about fighting racism and antisemitism. 

The event is being organized by activist groups helmed by King’s son, Martin Luther King III; Rev. Al Sharpton, and other civil rights leaders, and is expected to draw 75,000 people, according to the Washington Post. The 1963 march drew more than 200,000 people.

The roster’s Jewish speakers include rabbis, activists and representatives of Jewish organizations, including Jews of color. Yolanda Savage-Narva, who serves as the Union for Reform Judaism’s assistant vice president for racial equity, diversity and inclusion, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the participation of Jews of color indicates that “our country has made progress.”

“Our community understands that people of all backgrounds can come from different faiths, and the fact that there are Jews of color on the podium of the March on Washington speaks to the fact that we’re intersectional beings,” said Savage-Narva, who is Black and Jewish. “We’re not just one thing, we’re not just our racial identity, our gender identity, our religious background, and it gives people an opportunity to see a whole person.”

Savage-Narva said she will be speaking briefly and will deliver the message that people should “be proximate to one another, build relationships so we have more capacity to hear each other’s stories, and see each other b’tzelem elohim, in God’s image. We are all God’s children.”

The 1963 march came during the campaign for the Civil Rights Act, which was passed the next year. At Saturday’s march, King III, a leader of a group called the Drum Major Institute that aims to continue his father’s legacy, will call for strengthened voting rights as well as other measures to protect American democracy, according to the Washington Post. 

“It feels like we’ve gone backwards in relationship to civil and human rights. Dad talked about eradicating the triple evils of poverty, racism and violence,” King III told the Post. “So we have to be more vigilant, we have to be more engaged, we have to be more, in fact we are, more determined than ever to actually address these great issues.”

One of the march’s co-chairs is the Anti-Defamation League, and the Jewish civil rights group’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, will also speak. He noted that ADL leaders were at the original march as well, “when standing next to Dr. King wasn’t necessarily easy” because of controversy over civil rights. 

“This is a march that’s not just about equality for Black people or just about fighting hate against Jewish people,” he said. “This is about standing up for all people.”

Greenblatt added that he hopes to encourage cooperation between Black and Jewish leaders. “It will be more specifically focused on the need for the Black and Jewish communities to work together and not allow those with ulterior motives to divide us, but instead to focus on the shared experiences and common values that we share with one another,” he said. 

In its programming surrounding the Saturday march, the ADL is marking Shabbat while launching an initiative that it hopes will strengthen Black-Jewish ties. 

On Friday night, it will be hosting a Shabbat dinner featuring author Michael Twitty, whose memoir “Koshersoul” charts his work fusing African-American and Jewish culinary histories. It has also reserved hotel rooms within walking distance to the march for participants who don’t drive on Shabbat, and Greenblatt said there will be a morning prayer service before the program begins. 

The ADL, the National Urban League and OneTable, which facilitates Shabbat dinners, have also partnered on a new initiative urging people to convene Shabbat dinners to reflect on the March on Washington and on fighting racism and antisemitism. A pamphlet meant to be a guide for the Shabbat dinners includes essays by Jews of color and suggested action items. 

“Shabbat is a time of rest and replenishment for Jews, and a way to activate and to be in community, to have other people understand how important a moment like this is,” Savage-Narva said. “Even though it is Shabbat, it’s a sacrifice of sorts to say, ‘Hineni,’ I am here, I’m showing up and this is so important for me and the multiple identities I hold.” 

The post How Jews are joining the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington on Shabbat appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Missile Barrage Hits Northern Israel, Emergency Services Report

Firefighters respond to a fire near a rocket attack from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near Kiryat Shmona, northern Israel, June 14, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli emergency services reported dealing with a string of fires in northern Israel on Friday after dozens of missiles were fired from southern Lebanon into the area around the border town of Kiryat Shemona.

The military said that warning sirens had sounded in northern Israel and emergency services said teams were searching the area, where they reported there was property damage but no casualties.

Television footage on Friday showed damaged buildings and cars as well as brush fires in several locations caused by strikes or falling debris amid heatwave conditions.

The Israeli military has exchanged regular fire with Hezbollah forces across the border in southern Lebanon ever since the start of the war in Gaza in October.

Neither side has appeared to wish a wider conflict, but there has been growing worry that the steady intensification of strikes could push the situation out of control with the risk of a wider conflict in a region that has already seen direct exchanges between Israel and Iran.

The latest salvo came after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, drawing the heaviest bombardment of northern Israel since the start of the war in October last year.

Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes on both sides of the border, creating growing pressure to resolve the stand-off, but diplomatic efforts have so far proved fruitless.

On Friday, the Israeli military said fighter jets and anti-aircraft systems had intercepted 11 of the 16 drones launched by Hezbollah against Israel in the past 72 hours.

“The Israeli Air Force is continuing to operate at all times to thwart terrorist activities and protect Israel‘s skies from any threat,” it said in a statement.

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G7 Warns Iran Over Continuing Nuclear Program Escalation

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a family photo as they arrive to attend a dinner at Swabian Castle in Brindisi, Italy, June 13, 2024. Photo: Italian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

The Group of Seven leaders warned Iran on Friday against advancing its nuclear enrichment program and said they would be ready to enforce new measures if Tehran were to transfer ballistic missiles to Russia, according to a draft communique.

“We urge Tehran to cease and reverse nuclear escalations, and stop the continuing uranium enrichment activities that have no credible civilian justifications,” the statement seen by Reuters said.

Iran has rapidly installed extra uranium-enriching centrifuges at its Fordow site and begun setting up others, a UN nuclear watchdog report said on Thursday.

Iran is now enriching uranium to up to 60 percent purity, close to the 90 percent of weapons grade, and has enough material enriched to that level, if enriched further, for three nuclear weapons, according to an IAEA yardstick.

Iran must engage in serious dialogue and provide convincing assurances that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, in full cooperation and compliance with the IAEA’s monitoring and verification mechanism, including the Board of Governors’ resolution of 5 June,” the G7 said.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

The leaders also warned Iran about concluding a deal to send ballistic missiles to Russia that would help it in its war against Ukraine, saying they were prepared to respond with significant measures if it were to happen.

“We call on Iran to stop assisting Russia’s war in Ukraine and not to transfer ballistic missiles and related technology, as this would represent a substantive material escalation and a direct threat to European security,” they said.

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Doorstep Postings: A midtown Toronto byelection play for Jewish votes brings out new accusations of Conservatives keeping a swindler’s list

This is a special edition of Doorstep Postings, the periodic political commentary column written by Josh Lieblein for The CJN. Voters in the St. Paul’s riding believe they’re living amidst Canada’s most consequential political happenings. Ottawa with its seething gossip, Quebec with its linguistic convulsions and the West with its populist stampedes are all considered child’s […]

The post Doorstep Postings: A midtown Toronto byelection play for Jewish votes brings out new accusations of Conservatives keeping a swindler’s list appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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