JEWISH MOVEMENT MOURNS THE LOSS OF SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE
(WASHINGTON, October 25,
2002) -- Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of
Reform Judaism and friend of the Wellstone family, released the following
statement concerning the tragic plane crash today.
The complete statement
The grief is far too fresh,
too raw, for anything other than a few reflections about the valiant life of my
friend, Senator Paul Wellstone.
Senator Wellstone wore his
passions, proudly, on his sleeve. It was never a mystery where Paul Wellstone
stood. In the well of the Senate, in hearing rooms, and, so often, before Jewish
audiences, Paul was a fiery speaker, an eloquent advocate. As outspoken as he
was on issues, he was just as caring on a personal level. He was tremendously
well liked, not just by his colleagues in the Senate but by, for example, the
hundreds of workers who make Capitol Hill run -- the police officers, cafeteria
workers, and tour guides -- men and women whose names he knew and whose life
stories he cared about.
His passion, his eloquence,
his commitment to all the values we hold dear are irreplaceable. He was proud of
his Jewishness, and in his close work with the Reform Jewish Movement, he
frequently articulated a special identification with its focus on social
justice. That was never clearer than on the many occasions he made time to meet
with Jewish students, motivating them to carry on Judaism's commitment to
justice and peace.
Today we mourn, as well, the
loss of his partner and our friend Sheila, their daughter Marcia, and the
campaign staff and pilots who perished in this tragic accident.
Paul will be remembered as a
great prophetic voice in the proud American progressive tradition of Franklin
Roosevelt, Senator Phil Hart, and, especially, Paul's hero, Senator Hubert H.
Humphrey. He was a giant for justice, standing above the political fray with an
unmistakable moral clarity.
His life was an inspiration.
May his memory be a blessing.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the
central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews
in more than 900 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book
publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational
programs, and the Religious Action
Center in Washington, DC.