Students Explore MLK's Legacy

Posted January 12, 2012

Our students in grades K-8 learned about and explored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. this week through a special Tefillah (service) and classroom learning. Our youngest students sang songs inspired by MLK's legacy and our Middle Schoolers led the service, connecting Jewish values and ideas to the modern civil rights movement. Students also listened to snippets of the original recording of MLK's powerful "I Have a Dream" speech.

Below is a sample essay from a student connecting the dreams of biblical figure, Joseph, with those of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Dreams of Joseph and Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Adina E.

Last week’s Torah portion covered Joseph, when he interprets Pharaoh’s dreams. While Joseph is in prison, he starts to interpret dreams. He accurately predicts the future for the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer. The baker will die, and the cupbearer, he forecasts will be returned to his position in the Pharaoh’s court.

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King’s most famous speech is the “I Have A Dream” speech. He gave the speech on August 28, 1963, where he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. He gave it in front of 200,000 people. Now, back to Joseph, Pharaoh heard from the cupbearer that Joseph had predicted his fate, and that it had come true. Joseph got out of prison and was contacted by Pharaoh. Pharaoh wanted Joseph to interpret his dream. Joseph did, and Egypt had seven good years of harvest and seven years of famine. But Joseph does more than just give the interpretation. He also presents Pharaoh with a plan for dealing with the situation. Joseph was a man of action. He uses his abilities and his capacity for hard work to consolidate his position.

According to our interpreters, Joseph developed an ability to listen to what other people were saying, but that he was also ready to assume responsibility for interpreting dreams. Sound familiar? It should, considering I wrote this drash specifically for Martin Luther King Day. It may not seem like it, but Joseph and Martin Luther King have a lot in common.

Both Joseph and Martin Luther King are dreamers. They each had a dream, and they each did what they could to see their dream come true. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and made sure that no one starved for the seven years of famine. Martin Luther King was a huge part in the fight to end racial segregation.

You have to work hard to achieve something you set out for yourself. Both Joseph and Martin Luther King demonstrated this when they succeeded in what they set out to do.

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