By Stephen Davis
January may be our most frigid month, but there are enough activities afoot on the shoreline to keep you busy rather than hibernating. Take Martin Luther King weekend. With the nation engaged in vigorous and sometimes painful debate over race and law enforcement, RJ Julia Booksellers is hosting a talk on Saturday January 17 that time travels back to 1963–and the moment President John F. Kennedy embraced civil rights.
Andrew Cohen, a classmate of mine from Choate, now lives in Ottawa and has become one of Canada’s most renowned journalists and political commentators. His book Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Changed History has just been published to rave reviews. Andrew spent years tracking down never-before-seen documents, diaries, interviews and film that illuminate the confrontation between Alabama Governor George Wallace, who stood in a schoolhouse door to block two young blacks from entering a state college, and Kennedy and his brother Robert. The book follows Kennedy hour by hour in the crisis, while also spotlighting the president’s other historic move during those two days–the start of arms control talks with Moscow.
Andrew will be speaking at RJs at 5:00 pm on January 17. If you can’t make it then, you can also hear him–as part of Shabbat services–the night before at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings Highway in Chester. Services begin there at 7:30 pm; Andrew will deliver remarks instead of the normal sermon by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg. All are welcome. There will be special MLK-related music, too, both at Shabbat and then the next day, when the legendary Sweet Honey in the Rock perform at CBSRZ. For tickets to that, see www.cbsrz.org.