Selma Pilgrimage focuses on Jewish heritage - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Selma Pilgrimage focuses on Jewish heritage

Historic Selma Pilgrimage site at Temple Mishkan Israel Historic Selma Pilgrimage site at Temple Mishkan Israel

People from across the region flocked to Selma this weekend for the 38th annual Historic Selma Pilgrimage. This year's theme celebrated Selma's Jewish heritage.

Jews first came to Selma in the 1800s and played a key role in the city's history.  They owned a lot of the shops along Broad Street, and also made a mark in the political realm.

"The buildings are still there and they're being restored," said Andrea Cross, who has worked with the Pilgrimage since it began. "We just wanted to let the rest of the community know and the state of Alabama and our pilgrims know about how hard they worked to make our community what it is today."

Leaders at Temple Mishkan Israel leapt at the chance to share their faith, as crowds flocked to the building.

"It's wonderful, it's wonderful, there's been an amazing outpouring," said Steve Grossman, a religious leader at the temple.

Grossman said the number of Jews in Selma has dwindled down to 12, and the prospect of younger Jews moving into the community are not promising. Nevertheless, he said the temple and other historic sites aren't going anywhere.

"This is a lot of support from the entire community to try and maintain the Temple Mishkan Israel as long as possible," Grossman said.

The Pilgrimage is held annual during the third weekend in March.

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