Rabbi James A. Wax | Facing History & Ourselves

Rabbi James A. Wax

Learn about Rabbi James A Wax, Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis from 1954 to 1978.
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At a Glance

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English — US


  • History
  • Human & Civil Rights

Rabbi James A. Wax

Rabbi James A. Wax

"Building Bridges"

Rabbi James A. Wax served as Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis from 1954 to 1978 and took an active role in civic and community leadership serving many organizations throughout the city. Rabbi Wax interpreted the history of Judaism, his Jewish identity, and reformed ideology as cause to protect other persecuted groups through community dialogue and peaceful, non-direct action tactics. This included mediation during the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike as well as marching alongside the African American Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated to demand the mayor settle the strike. He also was co-chair of the Memphis Ministers Association, an interfaith group that worked to address poverty and racial inequality. This coalition later became the Metropolitan Inter-faith Association of Memphis (MIFA).

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