Milton Grafman

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Milton Louis Grafman (April 21, 1907-May 30, 1995) was born in Washington, D. C.. He spent his boyhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he studied at the public schools and at the University of Pittsburgh. He arrived to take up the pulpit at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham on December 7, 1941. He entered the Univer­sity of Cincinnati in 1926 and received his B. A. from that institution prior to receiving the degree of rabbi from that city's Hebrew Union College in 1933.


Grafman had been the rabbi at a congregation in Lexington, KY from 1933 to 1941.

Rabbi Grafman, who led Temple Emanu-El from 1941 until his retirement in 1975, was caught up in the movement toward racial equality in 1963 when he and fellow clergymen angered whites and blacks alike with their efforts to relieve tensions. They attacked segregation in public parks as well as Gov. George C. Wallace's 1963 inaugural speech in which he declared "segregation now, segregation forever."

The clergymen irritated civil rights leaders later that year by asking the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to delay demonstrations in Birmingham and wait for the courts to act against racial discrimination. That led Dr. King to write his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" addressed to Rabbi Grafman and seven other white clergymen in which he said blacks were tired of waiting.

Rabbi Grafman was survived by his wife of 64 years, Ida Weinstein and two children, Ruth and Stephen, --MacroAlan 18:46, 13 October 2007 (PDT)