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Rabbi Israel 'Si' Dresner to Speak at Tarrytown's Temple Beth Abraham

Rabbi Si Dresner will speak at Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown
Rabbi Si Dresner will speak at Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown Photo Credit: Contributed

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The Adult Education and Tikkun Olam Committees of Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown will welcome civil rights activist Rabbi Israel "Si" Dresner for a special conversation about his time during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement on Sunday, May 18 at 11:30 a.m.

Rabbi Dresner was one of the original Freedom Riders of the early 1960s He worked and walked alongside the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to confront and oppose racism and segregation in the South.

In October 2013, Rabbi Dresner was honored by President Barack Obama and the First Lady for his courageous civil rights activism in the 1960s. In keeping with his life-long commitment to social action, Rabbi Dresner used the occasion to ask President Obama to actively pursue Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Rabbi Dresner participated in the June 13-16, 1961 Interfaith Freedom Ride from Washington, DC to Tallahassee, FL. The son of a Brooklyn delicatessen owner, he graduated from the University of Chicago (1950) and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Theology. ?

After successfully completing the Freedom Ride to Tallahassee, the Interfaith Riders had planned to fly home. First, however, they decided to test whether the group would be served in the segregated airport restaurant. As a result, 10 Freedom Riders, later known as the Tallahassee Ten, were arrested for unlawful assembly and taken to the city jail. They were convicted and sentenced later that same month; legal appeal of the airport arrests continued for years. Rabbi Dresner’s second arrest came a year later in Albany, Ga., where he first met the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The rabbi would be arrested two more times in 1964 during desegregation battles in Florida.

His jail terms came during his 13 years at Temple Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield Township, NJ, where Rev. King twice spoke to the congregation.

Rabbi Dresner continued his civil rights activism and advocacy throughout his career as a reform Jewish rabbi. He retired in 1996, but continues to be passionate about equal rights and peace.

Rabbi Dresner’s lecture will be followed by a dairy luncheon. There is no charge for this event. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Registration is requested for this event. Please contact Temple Beth Abraham at (914) 631-1770 for further details and to RSVP.

Temple Beth Abraham is located at 25 Leroy Avenue in Tarrytown.

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