In 2003, I traveled to South Africa with my dear friend, Martin Luther King III, at the invitation of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, where we spoke at their centenary celebration on the state of black-Jewish relations in the United States.
We had just arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa from snowy New York City. It was suddenly the middle of summer, the garden was lush and green, and there was a sparkling pool outside our window beckoning us. All year we had dreamed of our new life in Africa.
The passing of Nelson Mandela brought back to mind many of the lessons of that experience and what they mean for us today here at home. No system, however evil, is ever permanent. And no system, no matter how righteous, just continues to be so without eternal vigilance.
Let us not rest with the knowledge that another world is possible. Let's join together to make a world of justice and dignity so probable as to be inevitable. I thank Madiba and all of his circle for setting an example that we must all still follow.
What did I learn from him? Business cannot be left alone to be just business, and, as I learned in Pretoria nearly 20 years ago, leaders ignore this bigger picture at their peril.
President F.W. de Klerk, the one responsible for Mandela's freedom, was more sanguine: "I was struck by an inescapable truth: an irreversible process had begun -- and nobody could predict precisely how it would end."
Photo credit: Festival Karsh "It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us,...
When I think of a world without our beloved Mandela, I imagine how empty it will feel without his great intellect and incredible gift.
Apartheid was war. The casualty of all war is innocent life. The legacy of that war is trauma, which, for so many South Africans still remains untreated. South Africa's landscape and soil is grave to children's bones and bravery.
If any handshake critics had bothered to actually listen to President Obama's speech, they would have heard why the handshake was not only appropriate but it was something that Mandela himself would smile upon.
Nationally, we had Martin, Marcus, and Malcolm. Now we added Mandela among the giants of justice.
The transatlantic trade talks currently explored between the EU and the U.S. should eventually be extended to other Atlantic powers as a way to tie the region closer together economically and politically.
As the only United States senator to attend yesterday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, he did the right thing. Showing respect to one of the great men this world has ever witnessed, Senator Cruz understands the importance of history.
I met Penelope Sudrow at a backyard party in the Silver Lake home of my actor friend Lee Boek, who runs Public Works Improvisational Theater.
The pieces I've read thus far cast Mandela in the context of great events, actions and other remarkable leaders. But I am curious about the ordinary everyday human interactions that made him extraordinary.
In recent memory, there hasn't been another memorial service attended by so many dignitaries. Why was Mandela so special? What makes him worthy of this attention?