“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”
These were among the last words of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, murdered by terrorists. “I am Jewish” was more than just an affirmation of a simple fact. “I am Jewish” meant “My life has meaning and nothing you do will strip that away from me. Even if my life ends now, I have served a purpose.”
The parents of Daniel Pearl, Mr. & Mrs. Judea Pearl, when working on a book of essays inspired by Daniel’s last words, commissioned over 300 prominent Jews to reflect on what the phrase “I am Jewish” meant to them.
I think it is a question all of us could ask ourselves. What profound belief gives your life meaning? Years ago, while playing a parlour game, we were all asked to describe ourselves. My friend quickly answered “I am Catholic”. When I asked her why she answered in that way, she said that everything she had or was, stemmed from her Catholic faith. I have always heard that Joan of Arc’s last words were “Vive la France”!
I think Daniel Pearl’s very important legacy was to serve a purpose in life. Rest in peace Daniel Pearl.