Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein writes:
There is a cruel irony that as we approach the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, our nation has been injured by the violation of our nation's Capitol by an uncontrollable horde cobbled together from venomous hateful militias, the Proud Boys, QAnon followers, other fanatic right-wing extremists and white supremacist groups, and thousands of citizens unwilling to accept the result of a presidential election proven to be untarnished by fraud.
As a counterpoint to that hateful and vicious demonstration of racism and, yes, even anti-Semitism, we celebrate the election of the first Jew and the first Black person as Senators from Georgia. This, then, is a perfect time to celebrate and be inspired by elevating the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and his words which are a noble portrayal of the spirit and soul of our nation.
MLK always spoke of the ideals of freedom, and of how these United States of America were filled with good people who would help him change the laws of discrimination. He spoke as a messenger of the American dream, embracing the spirit of the American heart.
On the last Sunday before his assassination, Martin Luther King delivered a sermon from the pulpit of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, in which he proclaimed, “One day we will have to stand before the God of history” and “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountains of despair, the stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
Rather than be crushed under the mountain of injustice and oppression and hate, King beckoned us to stand with him at the top of the mountain chiseled out of the stone of hope. Hope was the heartbeat of his life and his mission.
When Martin Luther King Jr. ended his sermon at the National Cathedral, he walked from the pulpit, went back on the mission train of his holy purpose, and within a week was killed.
But his vision and mission did not die with him. We are his inheritors, and it is to that legacy of hope to which the 92nd Street Y and all good people of this nation must pledge themselves.
Especially in light of the hateful scenes at our nation’s Capitol we must be bound by Martin Luther King Jr,’s exhortation trumpeted from the pulpit in the National Cathedral, “There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but we must do it because conscience tells each of us that it is right.” It is with that commitment in mind that we Americans and all people of good will must move on together.