Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

MLK "Beyond Vietnam" Speech Haftarah

By Cantor Abbe Lyons and Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Waskow worked with Cantor Abbe Lyons when she decided to shape a new Haftarah—the Prophetic passage chanted on Shabbat—from passages of Dr. King’s prophetic “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967—exactly one year before he was killed. She has set his English words to the traditional Haftarah melodies. This new Haftarah takes seven minutes to chant. 

As we consider how to use this new Haftarah, we might recall the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. On March 25, 1968, he introduced Dr. King to speak to the Rabbinical Assembly. Rabbi Heschel said, “Where in America do we hear a voice like the voice of the prophets of Israel? Martin Luther King is a sign that God has not forsaken the United States of America. …The whole future of America will depend upon the impact and influence of Dr. King.”

Ten days later, Dr. King was killed—giving a deeply ironic cast to the last sentence in Rabbi Heschel’s introduction. Fifty years later, we could turn that history in a new direction.

We invite you to choose a Shabbat close to April 4th to introduce this new Haftarah into your sacred service.


Listen to the MP3 and see the Haftarah trope in the PDF below.

Reading

We're counting on you!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our Omer fundraising campaign! We've raised $1,667 so far toward our goal of $2,500! Your support allows us to continue offering new content for FREE to thousands of users every year. We need you to sustain Ritualwell. Please donate today

Want the latest news from Ritualwell?

Subscribe to our email list for announcements of new rituals, Jewish inspiration, online classes, and more!