As a natural born critic, I am more apt to be faultfinding of someone in the public eye than I am to be complimentary. But Ruth Messinger can’t be criticized. She is an amazing Jewish leader.
Were she just someone who picked herself up after a major political defeat, as she did following the mayoral elections some years ago, perhaps that would have been sufficient. But she has done much more. Not only has she transformed the American Jewish World Service into a force on the Jewish scene (locally, nationally, and internationally), she has brilliantly taken on an issue that speaks to Jews no matter their stripe but particularly those on the periphery who are so hard to reach. For that alone, the Jewish community is in her debt. Darfur transcends all boundaries. It is an issue with relevancy that emerges from the Jewish experience but is not directly related to it. And that makes it an interesting entry point for those on the periphery, yet an important calling for all of us. We are in awe and admiration of Ms. Messinger and the vitally important work that she does.