The Jewish Telegraphic Agency published archival documents from April 8, 1968. One of the documents describes the memorial service held by B'nai B'rith at its building in Washington, D.C. after the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The American Jewish Committee said that several of its officers, led by Bertram H. Gold, executive director, would join the march in Memphis and that its president, Morris B. Abram, would attend the funeral services. William Stern, administrative director of the Workman’s Circle will head a delegation of leaders to the march and funeral and Emanuel Muravchik, executive director of the Jewish Labor Committee, will lead a similar delegation.
Special services were held yesterday in synagogues in memory of Dr. King. Rabbi Martin S. Halpern, president of the Washington Board of Rabbis, and a co-chairman of the Interreligious Committee on Race Relations, participated in religious services in Washington Friday, attended by President Johnson. In Atlanta, a personal message to Mrs. King from President Shazar of Israel was conveyed by Israeli Consul General Zeev Boneh. Mr. Shazar’s message said “the hearts of the people of Israel are with you in mourning the incredibly tragic loss of Martin Luther King, great and noble leader of his own brothers and all seekers for peace and justice.”
Dr. Maurice Eisendrath, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, told the annual meeting of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues today that Congress should, “without further delay, enact the sorely needed civil rights bill, and enact effective legislation for employment, education. housing and welfare,” He urged that Dr. King’s plan for a “poor people’s March” in Washington this month “should be pursued more vigorously than ever” under moderate Negro leadership and should be supported “by all men of goodwill.” Rabbi Eisendrath urged each Reform member congregation to ask each congregant to send telegrams to his representatives and senators calling for prompt enactment of civil rights and related legislation for the poor and to plan special memorial services for Dr. King.
A memorial service was held in the B’nai B’rith building in Washington, at which two Negro staff members expressed their frustrations and grief but also pleaded for Dr. King’s cause of non-violence. Some 200 colleagues attended the service at which Mrs. Lillian Brown, a clerk, and Clarence Thompson, an assistant supervisor, spoke at the invitation of Rabbi Jay Kaufman, executive vice-president.
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