An Awe-Inspiring Tribute to Mohammed Ali – A Rabbi Speaks

ali arrows

One of the most celebrated magazine front covers of all time and understandably so. Carl Fischer’s shot for Esquire was the brainchild of art director George Lois. The reference to St Sebastian speaks of Ali’s persecution following his refusal to fight in the Vietnam war. Sticking the arrows on to Ali’s body was a nightmare, Fischer told me; the arrows had to be strung up using fishing wire because they kept falling down.
Photograph: Carl Fischer/Esquire

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Mohammed Ali


From Daily Kos

Rabbi Michel Lerner and Muhammad Ali were both arrested and imprisoned for their stances against the war in Vietnam. Rabbi Lerner was asked to speak today at Muhammad Ali’s memorial in Louisville, Kentucky. He made a speech citing Muhammad Ali’s activism and his integrity. The speech was powerful, attacking the one percent and drone warfare, incarceration and oppression all over the world. Somewhere in the middle of his rousing speech he hit upon why and what Muhammad Ali was and is and can be for us all.

It’s for that reason that tens of millions of Americans who don’t particularly care about boxing, do care about Muhammad Ali. Because he was a person who was willing to risk a great honor that he got and the great fame that he got to stand up for the beliefs that he had. To speak truth to power when the rest of the people around him said ‘no, no, you’re going to lose your championship.’ And it was taken away from him for five years, but he stood up and was willing to take that kind of a risk because of that kind of moral integrity.

So I want to say how do we honor Muhammad Ali? And the answer is, the way to honor Muhammad Ali is to be Muhammad Ali today.


suicide attempt - Ali

This is a great story more so than a great image, but it’s still well worth a mention. Ali had been passing a high-rise building in 1981 when he noticed a commotion; a man was threatening to commit suicide by jumping from the ninth floor. Ali asked the police officers if he could help and duly coaxed the troubled man down from the ledge.Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

To see the Eulogy on Video Click here.


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