R2R 2016 took place in Birmingham, Alabama on May 19, 20 and 21st, for the purpose of supporting the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (bhamholocausteducation.org/). The “Ride to Remember” on Friday morning took us through a number of beautiful neighborhoods in metro-Birmingham, culminating with lunch at the local JCC. That afternoon, many of us visited the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and enjoyed learning about the Center’s educational programs.
For Shelly and me, the highlight of the R2R adventure was the JMA ride that we selected for Saturday morning. We had picked the ride to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, thinking it would provide great scenery…not then remembering the historical significance of these 2 cities; namely, the 1965 civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery…which led to passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year. Our visit to Selma and the trip to Montgomery gave us a feeling of connection to the huge events that had occurred in that area 51 years before.
Our trip to Selma began with a visit to Temple Mishkan Israel, a congregation that has been present in the Selma community since 1870. Unfortunately, the Jewish population of Selma has steadily dwindled, so the executives of Temple Mishkan Israel are hoping to convert the facility to a museum of Jewish culture in the near future. Below are photos showing a plaque outside the temple and the JMA group at the front steps.
After leaving Temple Mishkan Israel, we drove to the Brown Chapel in Selma and observed a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was instrumental in organizing the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery.
Finally, as we left Selma to drive to Montgomery, we passed over the Edmund Pettis Bridge (1965 photo shown above and current photo below), the scene of so much violence during the civil rights marches.
The JMA trip to Selma and onward to Montgomery was a wonderful experience that took us back to a very important time in our history.
Fred & Shelly B.