How to Have a ‘Day On’ This MLK Day

martin luther king
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of the National Park Service

It’s become customary to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a “day on.” Rather than use the federal holiday on the third Monday in January as a day to relax, it is instead an opportunity to live out the vision of the legendary civil rights leader with a day of service.

All over Philadelphia, Jewish organizations are offering opportunities to pitch in on Jan. 20. Here are just a few.

MLK Day of Service at Har Zion Temple
At Har Zion Temple, area families, college organizations and students are all invited to an afternoon of donation sorting, writing letters to veterans, the “Shul Stitchers” knitting project, an American Red Cross blood drive and more. There will be activities for children as well. These events will take place between 1 and 3 p.m., although the American Red Cross blood drive runs from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Or Hadash MLK Mitzvahthon
At Or Hadash, people of all ages are invited to take part in several MLK Day projects. In addition to an opportunity to participate in the last day of the synagogue’s Soup Drive and Toiletries Drive, there will be a challah sale, with proceeds going to Broad Street Ministries. Or Hadash is also hosting a “bottle bricks” project, whereby sturdy plastic bottles are filled with non-biodegradable, non-recyclable items and made into usable bricks. Or Hadash has partnered with Challah for Hunger, Camp Havaya, Camp Galil, JKid Philly and Integrate for Good for these events and more, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Melrose B’Nai Israel Emanu-El Children’s Clothing and School Supply Drive
Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El’s Inclusion Committee is a partner for the 25th annual Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service. Interested parties can drop off appropriate items from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the synagogue lobby. All donations will go toward St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. New hats, scarves, gloves, socks for infants through 17-year-olds, along with new book bags, pencils, pens and notebooks will be accepted. Contact the synagogue to arrange an earlier drop-off.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Day of Service at Adath Israel
Adath Israel will join with the Church of St. Asaph, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and Harvest Sanctuary on MLK Day. Families and others are encouraged to attend. After opening remarks and readings from all three religious traditions, volunteers are invited to participate in several service projects, including assembling toiletry kits and food bags, making friendship bracelets and pillows and making cards for people in need. The event begins at 9:45 a.m. and will conclude by noon.

MLK Day of Service at Temple Judea
Temple Judea of Bucks County will have two activities for families in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. First, participants can assemble dinners for the needy, with a main dish and a side dish of their choosing (contact Janene Raisman at 215-674-0685 before the event to discuss your donation). Second, you can assemble breakfast bags, to be packed in with handmade cards. Donations of hot chocolate, boxes of oatmeal packets, granola or breakfast bars, juice boxes and fruit cups are needed. An opening ceremony will take place at Second Baptist Church at 8:30 a.m., and the event will go until 5 p.m.

MLK Day of Learning at Keneseth Israel
The Social Justice Policy Task Force will sponsor an MLK Day of Learning on Jan. 19 from 12:15-2:45 p.m. A light lunch will be served. The theme of “Becoming a Beloved Community,” a concept central to King’s philosophy, will frame the program. Galia Godel from Jewish Family and Children’s Services will be the guest speaker.

Women of KI: Kugel Making for MLK Day of Giving
Volunteers at this Women of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel event will make 200 kugel meals for KleinLife’s Meals on Wheels program. RSVP to Lynore Eisman at 215-676-1812 or [email protected] This event will go from 9 a.m. to noon.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the National Museum of American Jewish History
The museum will host hourly spotlight talks inside the museum’s civil rights gallery, a screening of civil rights-focused “Eyes on the Prize” documentary and an interactive drum performance. There will also be arts and crafts activities. These events will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

[email protected]; 215-832-0740


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