(JTA) — More than 100 members of the Orthodox National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., traveled to Selma, Alabama, to visit the historic Reform Temple Mishkan Israel.
The Selma temple in Selma only has seven remaining members, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of the Orthodox National Synagogue said the purpose of the group’s visit was to “educate ourselves about the civil rights movement” in Selma, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel walked together across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 as a sign of religious solidarity.
The trip was timed to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
Selma politicians joined the Jewish visitors for the Sabbath, eating and dancing the hora together before walking through the Selma neighborhood and hearing about its history.
The small Jewish community in the Alabama city has dwindled to almost nothing in recent years. Temple Mishkan has not had a full-time rabbi in many decades, and the historic building has fallen into disrepair, according to the newspaper.