Marker honors Mississippi synagogue’s civil rights role

BIC-900x450JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s largest synagogue is being honored with a historical marker honoring the role the congregation played during the civil rights movement.

The marker was unveiled Friday at Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson.

Beth Israel, which was Mississippi’s first Jewish congregation at its founding in 1861, hired Rabbi Perry Nussbaum in 1954, which pushed congregants to advocate for equal rights for African Americans. Nussbaum and other members formed the Committee of Concern in 1964, raising money to help rebuild African American churches burned by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.

Klansmen bombed the synagogue in 1967, six months after it moved into its current home. Two months later, Nussbaum’s home was bombed, although he and his wife were uninjured.

The marker notes those bombings strengthened, not weakened, bi-racial cooperation.

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