Monday’s 57th Presidential Inauguration officially sent off Barack Obama into a second term as America’s 44th President and the country’s first African American commander-in-chief. After being formally sworn in Sunday at the White House, Obama gave his inaugural address to about one million people Monday, according to a recent White House estimate. This day also coincided with Martin Luther King Day.
Rabbi Israel Dresner, 81, says he’s the most arrested rabbi in America. At least that was the case in the 1960s, he says, when Dresner was one of dozens of rabbis who answered the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for clergy from the North to join the civil rights movement in the Jim Crow South. From the Freedom Rides of 1961 to the famous march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965, when Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel walked in the front row with King, Jews were prominent participants in the battle for civil rights that dominated the first half of the '60s.
Until now, the 1964 murders of three civil rights campaigners has been unresolved. The recent arrest of a suspect in the Mississippi murders of Andrew Goodwin and Michael Schwerner -- both Jews -- and James Chaney, a black man, has re-focused attention on a relationship once bound in blood.
As Jews prepare to mark Martin Luther King Day, however, to what extent have black-Jewish relations shifted from their historic marriage?