Both the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee paid tribute Nelson Mandela on Friday following the announcement of the death of the former South African leader on Thursday.
American Jewish Committee president Stanley M. Bergman said in a statement, "We are poorer for his passing, but richer for his example."
AJC executive director David Harris recalled appealing to Mandela for help in 1999 for assistance in freeing 13 Jews who had been jailed in Iran. "There was a quiet strength and dignity about him, a charisma that was unmistakable," Harris said in a statement. "As Jews, we honor every year the miracle of freedom [at Passover]. Mandela's life embodied a personal and national journey form 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," he added.
Both the AJC and the Anti-Defamation League recalled the role that the Jewish community in South Africa played in Mandela's and South Africa's fight to end apartheid. "During the years of his trials and tribulations, the Jewish community of South Africa supported him, and when he sought freedom Mandela returned the friendship and appreciation," said ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman.
"Nelson Mandela will long be remembered as one of the greatest figures of his generation and one of the most inspirational and effective freedom-fighting figures in modern history," Foxman said.