Jewish groups mourn death of Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid icon

( Nelson Mandela, a revered South African leader who was instrumental in the fight against apartheid and is widely considered to be the father of modern South Africa, died Thursday at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish organizations joined the global community in mourning Mandela. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said Mandela, who became the first president of democratic South Africa in 1994 after having been imprisoned for 27 years under the apartheid regime, was “one of those very rare leaders who were revered not just by their own people but universally, across all political and communal divides.”

“Nelson Mandela will be long remembered as one of the greatest figures of his generation and one of the most inspirational and effective freedom-fighting figures in modern history,” said Abraham H. Foxman, Anti-Defamation League national director.

“As Jews, we honor every year the miracle of freedom, teaching our children that ‘we were once slaves in the land of Egypt. Mandela’s life embodied a personal and national journey from subjugation to freedom. We are indelibly inspired by his example and can say of him, as we can say of few others, that he truly helped repair the world,” American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris said.

Posted on December 5, 2013 .