The Agudas Achim and Ezrath Jewish congregations combined in 2003 to form Congregation Agudas Achim - Ezrath Israel. Temple Agudas Achim-Ezrath Israel also offers programs for men and women and holds Shabbat geared towards children and families.
As I write amidst the snow and ice I feel heartened in the knowledge that springtime will come and that the festival of Passover will help dispel the chill brought on by this winter's blizzards and freezes. We languish now in the doldrums between two celebrations of freedom – the Martin Luther King holiday and the Festival of Passover. Both include commemorations of historic events – especially this year as we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma, led by Dr. King- an event that galvanized the nation and transformed the “Mixed Multitude” of activists into a force that brought our nation to a new era of civil rights and moved us far toward a more equal society. Yet, the work of the martyred Dr. King and of his followers is not complete. Just as we pray each day that the redemption of the Exodus be extended to a more complete redemption for all humankind, so too must we redouble our efforts to bring to fruition the vision of Dr. King in our own country and beyond.
Recently Susannah Heschel, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote an article on her father's participation in the Selma March that was published in the Forward. Susannah Heschel wrote: “The 50th anniversary of the 1965 march at Selma is being commemorated this year with the release of the film “Selma.” Regrettably, the film represents the march as many see it today, only as an act of political protest. But for my father Abraham Joshua Heschel and for many participants, the march was both an act of political protest and a profoundly religious moment: an extraordinary gathering of nuns, priests, rabbis, black and white, a range of political views, from all over the United States.” http://m.forward.com/blogs/forward-thinking/212971/what-selma-meant-to-jews-like-my-father/
Among the rabbis who answered Dr. King's call to join him in Selma were two rabbis from the Chicago area: Rabbi William Frankel z”l and Rabbi Harold Kudan, my father. I remember my father coming into my bedroom in the middle of the night to ask to borrow the Chanukah gelt that was on my dresser to pay cash for the charter flight. (It was in the days before ATMs and even credit cards were rarely used.) In the photo above, accompanying Heschel's article we see Rabbi William Frankel next to Dr. King. Rabbi Frankel was a refugee from Austria, and had barely escaped the fate of so many of our people in Europe, though not without some first-hand and harrowing encounters with racism among Hitler's followers in Vienna. In this country, Rabbi Frankel was quick to recognize that bigotry must be confronted head-on or it would fester and spread. Recent events in Europe provide additional reminders that the fight against hatred, extremism, anti-Semitism, requires constant vigilance and sacrifice.
I urge you to read Rabbi Frankel's sermon, written days after his participation in the pivotal march, for it captures so much of the spirit of the time – it reaffirms the prophetic Jewish voice and vision impelling us to work toward freedom and equality in our land and in every land. May this Passover season find us ready to hear the call “Let My People Go” to know that “Every Life Matters,” and to re-commit ourselves to the fulfillment of the dream of redemption for all humankind. Wishing all of you and yours a Zis'n Pesach – A sweet and fulfilling season of inspiration and warmth, happiness and blessing.
Rabbi David Kudan
P.S. Rabbi William Frankel z”l was the father of Dr. Deborah Brigell. Deborah and her husband Dr. Mitchell Brigell joined AA-EI in 2014.
Holiday services will be conducted by Rabbi David Kudan, accompanied by Sexton Wayne Freedman and Cantorial Soloist Phyllis Werlin, as well as lay leaders of the Congregation. Click Services for further information on our regular services and our special holiday services.
Agudas Achim - Ezrath Israel 245 Bryant Street Malden, MA 02148