Robert J. Marx

scott @ Fri, 2005-08-05 10:40

Rabbi Robert J. Marx is the founder and a past president of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, where he continues to be an active board member, leader and mentor. He is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Hakafa in Glencoe, which he founded in 1983.

In the 1960s Rabbi Marx began working on addressing inner-city woes and he was pulled into the broader civil rights movement. In 1965, he went to Selma, Alabama, to participate in the historic Selma-to-Montgomery march. The next year, Marx was asked by the Chicago Conference on Religion and Race to help mediate tensions on Chicago’s Southwest Side as the Chicago Freedom Movement’s open-housing campaign intensified. Marx was there when Southwest Side whites erupted in anger over the presence of nonviolent open-housing marches in the Marquette Park area. “What I saw,” he later wrote, “. . .seared my soul in a way that my participation in no other civil rights event had done.” He soon realized that he “should have been with the marchers.” On Friday, August 5, 1966, Marx joined Martin Luther King, Jr., and over five hundred marches as they bore witness to housing discrimination on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Since the 1960s, Marx has continued his tireless pursuit of justice by helping to found Interfaith Worker Justice (formerly the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice) where he is a board member and past president and by serving as a leader of many other organizations including the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the Black-Jewish dialogue. Rabbi Marx was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and received a PhD in philosophy from Yale University.