Monday, January 19, 2015

Why my grandfather – and my dad – marched in Selma

Rabbi Leon Jick heeded Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to action and set an example for future generations.

By Zoe Jick in Haaretz

My late grandfather, Leon Jick, a Reform rabbi and a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, was among the cohort of clergy who took an active role in the civil rights activism alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On June 18, 1964, my grandfather and several other rabbis were arrested in Saint Augustine, Florida for their participation in integrated prayer at a local restaurant. The group then penned a letter from jail titled "Why We Went."

Later, when Dr. King sounded the call for clergy to participate in the march in Selma, my grandfather not only made immediate travel arrangements, but also invited my 15-year-old father to join him. In doing so, my grandfather demonstrated that his own involvement was not enough: He wanted to set a dugma ishit, a personal example, to ensure that the allegiance he felt to the civil rights movement would be passed as a value to future generations.

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