Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero – but not just because of the work he did to promote civil rights in America. He was a hero because he helped to build a movement. He inspired other people (including many Jews like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel) to take up the cause of freedom as their own, and to spread the messages of love and tolerance farther than one person, no matter how heroic, could on their own.

One of Dr. King’s most famous quotes reads: “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” His words ring as true today as they did when he first spoke them a generation ago. On Martin Luther King day – and in the weekend leading up to it – we have the opportunity to take his legacy of service and inspiration and bring it forward. Here are some ways that synagogues around the country are getting involved in the celebration, and some ideas to help you plug in and make Martin Luther King day a “Day On” not a “Day Off.”

What synagogues are doing:

  • Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC is holding its 8th annual MLK Shabbat dinner, commemorating the collaborative work between Reverend King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.
  • Philadelphia synagogues are gearing up big-time. Check out the wide range of activities going on throughout the weekend to celebrate King’s legacy.
  • Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco will co-host it’s annual interfaith service in honor of Dr. King.
  • Temple Sholom of Chicago will host a musical Shabbat focusing on freedom and justice tomorrow night.

How you can get involved:

  • Shabbat Suppers: Join Repair the World and the Points of Light Foundation in celebrating Dr. King’s message by hosting a Shabbat Supper.
  • Join the White House in service. President Obama’s office has put together a great and user-friendly database where you can easily tap into MLK Day service events all over the country. Just type in your zip code to find one near you!

Let us know what events we missed in the comments below!