A message from Rabbi Dresner’s Children & Evan Haiman:
It tells the story of Rabbi Israel S. Dresner, and his vital Civil Rights work with and for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rabbi Dresner was the most arrested Rabbi during the Civil Rights Movement, the most jailed Rabbi in American History, and, in the words of one of the film’s interviewees, “King’s Rabbi.”
In the film, Rabbi Dresner recounts his Civil Rights involvement, beginning with the First Interfaith Clergy Freedom Ride in 1961, which resulted in him being one of the “Tallahassee Ten” who were arrested for unlawful assembly when they asked to be served at a segregated airport restaurant. The case of the Tallahassee Ten made it up to the U.S. Supreme Court and bore Rabbi Dresner’s name as the lead plaintiff.
The Rabbi also discusses his pivotal role as one of the key figures in the largest mass arrest of Rabbis in U.S. history in St. Augustine, FL as they sought to garner support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the crucial role he played at Dr. King’s behest in Selma, Alabama following the brutal attack on marchers who sought to ensure that African Americans could exercise their right to vote.
In addition to a treasure trove of never before seen archival materials, including letters and telegrams the Rabbi received from Dr. King, the film features extensive interviews with the ninety-two year old Rabbi; his family; former congregants; other Freedom Riders; Civil Rights activists including the legendary Andrew Young; Politicians such as Senator Cory Booker; Civil Rights Historian Dr. Raymond Arsenault; and many others.
“We came as Jews who remember the millions of faceless people who stood quietly, watching the smoke rise from Hitler’s crematoria. We came because we know that, second only to silence, the greatest danger to man is loss of faith in man’s capacity to act.”
Please help us recount the actions of Rabbi Dresner on this historic journey.
-Tamar Dresner, Avi Dresner & Evan Haiman