Joseph and Mandela: Exemplars of Reconciliation (Vayehi, Genesis 47:28-50:26)

By Rabbi Toba SpitzerThe Torah portion of Vayehi brings to a close the story of Joseph and his brothers—the longest and most detailed of the family sagas in the book of Genesis. Reading this complicated narrative of family tension, cruelty, and ultimate reconciliation in the same week that the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, it is difficult not to hear echoes between the Biblical account of Joseph and the real-world experiences of the beloved South African leader.On the s … [Read more...]

“Doing What Is Right and Good”: Nelson Mandela & Moral Courage (Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26-16:18)

By Rabba Sara HurwitzMy parents moved our family out of apartheid South Africa in December 1989 with the dream of a new life where justice and equality prevailed. We settled in South Florida, and on Feb. 11, 1990, just two months after we had arrived, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. On that day, I discovered a role model for the pursuit of a good and just path. Mandela could have walked out of prison with anger and hate in his heart. Instead, he publicly called upon humanity to … [Read more...]