The walls of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center echoed hope on Friday night, as voices from many faiths and races mingled in the singing of Jewish hymns and African-American spirituals.

There, community leaders for racial justice gathered for an interfaith Shabbat service to honor the shared memory of two civil rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

“We are celebrating today two spiritual leaders, two friends, two pursuers of justice and solidarity,” said Rabbi Caryn Broitman, in a speech following the lighting of candles that indicates the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Rabbi Heschel, she explained, grew up in Poland during World War II, eventually fleeing the country and losing his family.

“In some ways Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel were worlds apart,” Ms. Broitman said. “But they shared a vision and a bond. They marched in Selma together; they spoke against the Vietnam War together.”

Sandy Pimentel, chair of the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition. — Ray Ewing

It was in their spirit of solidarity and hope that the evening’s service proceeded, including a musical reflection on these men’s lives and legacies. Eric Johnson, Anthony Esposito, Jack Crawford and Roberta Kirn all contributed their musical talents, with Ms. Kirn leading the audience in contemporary Jewish songs and traditional spirituals.

Following joyful singing and readings from speeches by Rabbi Heschel and Dr. King, a series of speakers took the pulpit. The Rev. Cathlin Baker of the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury spoke first, highlighting lessons learned while working on Rev. Raphael Warnock’s Senate campaign in Georgia.

“I witnessed the obstacles, both systemic and intentionally imposed, that poor people and people of color face in exercising their right to vote,” she said.

Ms. Baker drew comparisons to Dr. King’s own spiritual take on voting rights.

“Reverend Warnock traces a direct line from each person being a child of God, to personal expression through voting, to a healthy democracy,” she said. “When we elevate our civil engagement to a spiritual one, we touch a divine spark within. We make God’s love and justice real and somehow we become more fully human.”

Hebrew center was filled with song and messages of hope. — Ray Ewing

Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition chair Sandy Pimentel spoke about the work ahead.

“Our mission is to lay the groundwork to eradicate racism,” she said. “I’s a big mission. At the foundation of our program is the power of truth.”

Through that power, she said, their group was proud to have been a part of initiatives to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Island schools.

“The best way to change is for each of us to live a life that reflects the change we want to see,” Ms. Pimental said.

Toni Kauffman, newly elected president of the Martha’s Vineyard Branch of the NAACP, announced the group’s new roster of officers, including first vice president Rita Brown and second vice president Russel Ashton.

“Let me encourage all who are listening, either in person or on Zoom, to make the most of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of service,” she said. “It should be a day on, not a day off... Service, as Dr. King spoke of often, is sorely needed more than just one day a year.”

The evening ended on a hopeful note, as the congregation joined hands to sing one more song, a song of conviction: We Shall Overcome.

“We shall all be free,” they sang. “We shall all be free, We shall all be free someday. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome someday.”