After months of anticipation, on Thursday November 14, 2019, I along with 47 other members of our congregation started our Civil Rights Journey. Many of us carried the teachings from Torah of “Justice, justice you shall pursue.” The power of the repeat of the word justice in that quote would be present throughout our journey.
We started with the powerful presentation by our superb guide, Billy Planer, on the Leo Frank Story. The next morning we were off to Montgomery and the Rosa Parks Museum where we learned in detail about the Montgomery bus boycott.
After a traditional southern lunch at Martha’s Place, we were off to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and Lynching Memorial. The day was appropriately wet and cold in that it was a day when the horrors of the Jim Crow laws chilled us to the bone.
Services on Friday night at Temple Beth Or were lovely and spiritually lifting after a day of painful history.
Saturday started in Selma. We heard from a woman who had marched as a young woman and then crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and remembered many who had sacrificed so much.
We were off to Birmingham and the Civil Rights Institute, a powerful monument to the struggle. Next we went to Freedom Park and were inspired by a Reverend who was a civil rights worker.
Our last day was equally moving, starting at Fair Fight 2020, a group working on voting rights. Then we were off to the King Center and a very powerful service at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
I also felt that our bus truly became a Beit Elohim. God was on the bus. The care of and consideration for everyone, as well as the honoring of this sacred journey, was extraordinary.