Sweet shul Alabama: Southern synagogue survives local Jewish decline
One family recalls the heyday of Temple Mishkan Israel in America's deep south.
Temple Mishkan Israel sits on a busy four-lane road in Selma, Ala. On one side of the temple is a pink house with a bay window; a large white house is on the other side. The paint is peeling on both homes, which look like they’ve sat empty for decades. Across the street there’s a furniture store, an empty lot and a two-story office building with a wrought iron balcony running the length of a second-floor porch. If you stand on the sidewalk in front of the temple and look to the right, you can see the gentle rise of the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the end of the road.
Selma earned its place in the history books because of that bridge. On March 7, 1965, officers armed with clubs and tear gas attacked hundreds of peaceful civil rights demonstrators.