This letter is written by a Jew in tribute to Pope John Paul II, who was a great friend and protector to people of my faith. Here was a man who, during World War II, stood above many of his Polish citizenry to denounce the Nazis, thus risking his life. This pope was the first to speak of the Jews as elder brothers, deploring attempts to proselytize, which often was encouraged by Catholic leaders. While a bishop in Poland, he continued the fight against anti-Semitism during the postwar communist period.
John Paul was a true "moral hero" who, with good reason, criticized the United States over the war in Iraq. And while being a friend of Israel, he nevertheless was unafraid to criticize the Jewish state when he deemed it necessary.
People of all faiths should take heed of the lessons of this pope. One example was his Christmas eve visit to the man who attempted to kill him. He urged that the man's life be spared. This religious leader led his followers by living his life true to his faith, in love of humanity and all its people, regardless of their faith or lack thereof.