Rabbi Chana Leslie and I were saddened to hear of the death of Nelson Mandela yesterday. Like many of you, we have been touched by his wisdom, his legacy, and the example he set for each of us. He challenged us to live according to our highest ideals and values, to realize that each of us is capable of moving past the hurts of our lives and into a life of healing and love.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” No matter what we’ve been taught or where or how we’ve been wounded, we can find ways to open our hearts, to find forgiveness (of ourselves and others), and to move past the wounds into a new paradigm of community and connection.
This weekend is our installation as Rabbis of Beth Sholom Synagogue. This morning we were blessed to receive blessings and insights from other Memphis clergy and we look forward to serving this community in partnership with our local clergy community. There is much work for us to do, to learn, to grow, to help, and to heal. The challenges are many, but as Nelson Mandela said – “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” Together, we can move mountains, inspiring ourselves, our families, and our community to live lives of service, healing, community, and connection.
Yehi zichro baruch – may Nelson Mandela’s memory always be for a blessing, and may we carry his light and his message ever forward.