Observances leading to the national holiday in memory of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. began Sunday with an interfaith service held, for the first time, in a synagogue.

"I think actually that it could not be a more appropriate place for this type service," said Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, who presided over the service. Sugarman noted that a Hebrew message above the doorway reads, "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."In its 13th year, the interfaith service that traditionally launches the week of activities commemorating King's life and non-violent approach to social change is designed to bring together people from all religions.