Editor's note: There is a great Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days in the month of Elul to study and prepare for the coming high holy days. The time is supposed to challenge us to use each day as an opportunity for growth and discovery. On each of the 29 days of Elul, performer Craig Taubman posts a "jewel," or story, from some of today's most celebrated visionaries. Past contributors include President Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu, Sarah Lefton, Eli Wiesel, Deepak Chopra, Ruth Messinger and Lady Gaga, among many others. Today's reflection comes from Rahm Emanuel.
From the time I was a child, my parents insisted that our family had a responsibility to make life better for those around us. Whether I was following my father on his medical rounds, marching with my mother for civil rights, or working as a counselor in a camp for kids with special needs, there has never been a time when I haven’t been trying to “seek the light” of a better world.
I have had the privilege to serve two Presidents of the United States and to represent the 5th District of Illinois in the United States Congress. Now the people of Chicago have entrusted me with the responsibilities of Mayor.
My goal has been the same wherever I have served: to create a safe and meaningful place for the next generation. Every child has the right to safe streets, a secure home life and a quality education. Anyone in public service -– anywhere in the world -- must approach the task of seeking light by doing his or her utmost to secure those rights.
I serve all of the people of Chicago, and I take special pleasure in the ways each community shines its own light. Shabbat dinner with my family helps to remind me that my public service finds its roots in the lights that shine on our table.
Rahm Emanuel is the current Mayor of Chicago and the former White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama.