A Friday night Shabbat service at Sinai Temple on Jan. 17 celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day through song, words and unity. The service was part of a weekend long unity Shabbat, with the Saturday morning service recognizing the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The liberation is highlighted every year as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.
The Ted and Hedy Orden and Family Friday Night Live (FNL) event featured Senior Rabbi David Wolpe, singer-songwriter Craig Taubman and members of Faithful Central Bible Church from Inglewood, among others, with a tribute to King.
The Faithful Central Bible Church’s Fresh Generation choir, made up of about 20 singers, sang Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” prompting attendees to clap along.
Other musical numbers included a cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” a rendition of the blessings of “Hashkiveinu” and the prayerful tune “Lekhah Dodi,” played by a multipiece band including a saxophonist, electric guitarists and a keyboard player. As the saxophonist in Taubman’s band belted out the lyrics to “Stand by Me,” Sinai Cantor Marcus Feldman, who usually sings liturgical numbers, played off him in a call and response during the chorus.
Wolpe spoke of how Hedy Orden, a Holocaust survivor who died earlier this month at the age of 93, was like Martin Luther King. Both, Wolpe said, sought to bring additional light into the world. He spoke of how Orden went to great lengths to keep her mother alive during the horrors they experienced during the Holocaust, and about how Orden was able to have a productive, happy life in the United States, and how the monthly FNL service was one of her favorites.
“Dr. King was a reminder we’re just the human race no matter our ethnic backgrounds or spiritual religion. Our real religion is love.”
— Dominique Howard
Additional participants in the Friday night service included Sinai Rabbi Erez Sherman, who spoke about his friendship with Faithful Central Bible Church Pastor Jimmy Fisher, and Sinai Rabbi Nicole Guzik.
“We are honored to be asked to come back again, and we love to intermingle with culture, arts and music and bring what we have to offer in exchange for what you have to offer,” Dominique Howard, a member of the African American choir, told the Journal.
She added, “It’s a reminder of how how God delivered [blacks and Jews] from critical times. We come together. We join as one. Dr. King was a reminder we’re just the human race no matter our ethnic backgrounds or spiritual religion. Our real religion is love.”