In 1990 when I was doing work for New York’s first African-American mayor, David Dinkins, Nelson Mandela visited our city. His reception, including his Shabbat at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, inspired the founding of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), which I was privileged to co-chair later on.

For me that visit was an important moment in my journey to making social justice work in a Jewish context part of my life’s work. Mandela was an icon and inspiration to billions and is treasured by people of broad views and often competing ideologies. Sitting in Israel this morning, reading the coverage, this piece captures some of the complexity, inspiration, and nuance that was Mandela’s legacy.

May his memory be a blessing for us all.

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