by the Forward

Rabbi Andrea London

Beth Emet The Free Synagogue | Evanston, Illinois | 50 years old
Reform | Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

In 2002, a recording of Martin Luther King giving a speech at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in 1958 was discovered in a congregant’s home. In 2012, the tape prompted Rabbi Andrea London to invite members of a nearby Baptist church to co-host a Shabbat evening to discuss race relations in our community. The evening of courageous conversation attracted several hundred people to services and a dinner which spurred interfaith, race-related book and play discussions; bibliodrama workshops, and a bus trip to the civil rights sites in the South, with 38 high school students from both congregations. On their return, the students met on their own to continue to explore ways they might be agents of change. She inspires us to find innovative ways to make a difference in our community, become a bridge between the faiths and discover our own Jewish spirituality.

— Ellen Blum Barish and one other

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