“And the lesson from these 36, a special number in our tradition, is that American Jews, regardless of denomination, geography or gender, harbor a deep longing for spiritual leadership — and respond to it not only in synagogue, but in classrooms, Hillels and hospices. They yearn for rabbis who touch the soul and create community. These rabbis offer that kind of leadership.”
Mejia was nominated by Daniel Lessner, a rabbi in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, who said he leads a group made up mostly of former Americans. In his nomination, Lessner wrote that Mejia helped nurture a group of Mexican nationals who began coming to Lessner's Shabbat services wanting to reclaim what they felt was their Jewish heritage.
“Rabbi Juan Mejia, being himself a convert (from Colombia, originally), understood their plight and has dedicated his life to helping the B'nai Anusim of Latin America. He gives classes via the Internet to educate those interested in converting to Judaism. He is also the rabbinical mentor for our community and others in Colombia and Latin America,” Lessner wrote.
Congratulations to Mejia. Last year, he promised to keep me apprised of some of his projects on the horizon. I'll have to hold him to that.