MLK Shabbat & MLK Day 2022 Events Roundup

by GatherDC Staff / January 7, 2022

Every year on the Friday preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jews around the country gather to observe Shabbat, honor the lasting legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and grapple with the ongoing challenge that legacy left all of us to carry on. We invite you to explore and celebrate the holiday with Jewish DC, whether it’s taking part in interfaith services with African American churches, celebrating and recommitting to the power of Jewish-African American activism in this country, or engaging in a Day of Service on Monday!

Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend with Adas Israel Congregation
Location: In-Person (Adas Israel) and Virtual
Date: Friday, January 14-Monday, January 17
Times: Throughout the weekend

Join together as a community as we celebrate and explore the wisdom, courage, and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our weekend scholar, Dr. Deitra Reiser, will be advising Adas through our own journey toward being an anti-racist religious community. Weekend highlights include Shabbat study and conversations with Jewish text, along with featured guests and speakers throughout the weekend. Programming will be guided by the Social Action Committee and community leaders, and Shabbat services will include music honoring Dr. King.

MLK Shabbat: Visions of Freedom and Justice with Sixth & I
Location: In-Person (Sixth & I) and Virtual
Date: Friday, January 14
Time: 7pm

This moving service with Turner Memorial AME Church, which worshipped in Sixth & I’s building for five decades, commemorates the spirit and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. The service will feature soul-lifting music from Turner Memorial’s praise team and the Sixth & I musicians, plus words of inspiration from Rabbi Aaron and Reverend Doctor D.K. Kearney.

MLK Weekend Shabbat Shirah with Kol Ami Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community
Location: Virtual
Date: Saturday, January 15
Time: 10am

This year, Shabbat Shirah (the Sabbath of Song) falls on Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. Join Kol Ami Reconstructionist Community on Zoom on Shabbat morning as we read the climax of the Exodus story and chant the song of deliverance in the Torah. We’ll be discussing the Jewish and Black experiences of belonging and alienation with the UUCA’s Social Justice Minister, Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel. Singer and songwriter Tom Prasada-Rao will be our special musical guest. Our Torah discussion will be based on Jesmyn Ward’s collection, “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race” (downloadable here and available in bookstores).

Havdalah and Sing for Justice
Location: Virtual
Date: Saturday, January 15
Time: 8pm

Join Adas Israel Congregation’s musician in residence Micah Hendler will engage in a virtual musical dialogue with guest artist Roderick Giles inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and reflecting on the power of music in bringing about racial justice and social change. Join us on Facebook Live at 8:00pm on Saturday evening to hear these powerful songs and stories.

The Afro-Semitic Experience (Concert) with JxJ 
Location: Cafritz Hall, EDCJCC
Date: Sunday, January 16
Time: 2pm

Building on 25 years of exploring social and racial justice through music, The Afro-Semitic Experience presents a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King.

MLK and Tu B’Shvat Day of Service: Waterways Cleanup with Edlavitch DCJCC
Location: Pope Branch Park
Date: Monday, January 17
Time: 9:30am

This year, MLK Day of Service and Learning coincides with the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shvat, or the “new year of the trees”. This holiday, established by the rabbis in ancient times, is celebrated by eating special fruits, planting and honoring trees, and in recent decades, with environmental activism and learning. We will be partnering with the Anacostia River Keeper to do a cleanup at Pope Branch Park.

This is a large-scale community clean-up. We will join other volunteers to learn more about the Anacostia River and what we can do to protect it. We will provide trash bags, gloves, and directions on trash pick-up – you just have to come ready to work!