Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat Service


Congregation Beth Israel will hold their annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat Service on Jan. 14 at 6 pm. In the past, CBI has honored Dr. King’s memory, work and enduring legacy by hosting leaders of the Civil Rights Movement such as Congressman John Lewis, activist and journalist Myrlie Evers-Williams and acclaimed public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson.

This year, the service will resume in-person (though all are welcome to gather online as well) and will feature remarks from guest speaker Reverend Dr. Gerald Durley.

The Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley was born in Wichita, Kansas; grew up in California, and graduated from high school in Denver, Colorado. He was recruited to play basketball for Tennessee State University, where he became a student leader in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Upon earning a degree in psychology, Dr. Durley became one of the first U.S. Peace Corp volunteers to serve in Nigeria., after which he relocated to Switzerland and played basketball for a National Swiss team while completing post-graduate studies. His return to America saw him complete the Master of Science degree in Community Mental Health/Psychology at Northern Illinois University, after which he became the founder and administrator of a program that recruited and educated African Americans about their heritage.  He entered the University of Massachusetts and completed the doctorate degree in Urban Education and Psychology.

Dr. Durley became a program manager in the U.S. Department of Education, creating and writing interdisciplinary studies for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) with the Institute for Services to Education, Inc.

A dedicated educator, an effective psychologist, nationally and internationally sought after inspirational and motivational speaker, Dr. Durley was gravely disturbed by the decaying moral, social, cultural, and family value systems throughout the nation.  his concern compelled him to enroll at the Howard University School of Divinity and to earn the Master of Divinity.

He has served as Dean at Clark College, and a program administrator at Morehouse School of Medicine; both in Atlanta, Georgia, and directed major health, social, and civic programs across the state of Georgia. Rev. Dr. Durley was a pulpit associate at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; and at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. After 25 years of service, he retired as the pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church and is currently the Pastor Emeritus. While serving as Pastor, he became intensely involved in the climate change, global warming, and environmental justice movement. Rev. Dr. Durley now combines the disciplines of faith and science with the lessons learned as a civil/human rights advocate from the 1960s.  He believes that God created a perfect ecologically balanced world for humans to care for, but we are destroying it at an alarming rate.  He asserts that for the environment to be saved, the educational, scientific, business, political, and faith communities must seek common solutions.


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shabbat Service
When: Friday, Jan. 14 at 6 pm
Where: Online and in-person at Congregation Beth Israel, 1972 NW Flanders St., Portland
Information: For this community event, proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required.

You will need to present either your Covid-19 vaccination card or a clear photograph/copy of your Covid-19 vaccination card to be admitted to the service. Please allow yourself – and our staff – sufficient time to verify your vaccination status. Doors will open at 5:30 pm.

All attendees will be required to wear masks.

Please reach out to the CBI Main Office with any questions at 503-222-1069 or visit

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