We repeat the words of Psalm 133 every time we sing Hinei Ma Tov. The oft-quoted psalm says that when all God's children live together in harmony, it will be "like precious oil poured on the head."
Civil Rights leaders have often alluded to humanity's shared destiny. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," echoing the famous words of Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, "Nobody's free until everybody's free."
Joachim Prinz was a rabbi in Hitler's Germany before immigrating to the United States in 1937. He was shocked to see African Americans in "the land of the free" living as second-class citizens. It reminded him of the oppression of Jews in Europe.
Rabbi Prinz and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. became friends and allies in the fight for racial justice. In 1963, before a crowd of thousands in Washington, they told the world the time had come to stand together. Prinz urged all Americans not to remain silent while Black people continued to be oppressed. The silence of ordinary people, Prinz said, was a more urgent problem than overt bigotry and hatred.
On that legendary day, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, ending with words that are as true today as ever:
When we allow freedom to ring[…]all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last!
Read more about the friendship between the two inspiring men in The Rabbi and the Reverend.