Along with the entire J Street family, I was deeply saddened today to learn of the death of my friend, Abner Mikva. Ab, as he was known to almost everyone, led an incredible life as a legislator, judge, advisor and philanthropist – leaving behind a legacy of dedicated service to his country, his community, his family and to the Jewish people.
I first met Ab in the Clinton White House, where he served as White House counsel and was always generous with his time and advice. In later years I had the honor and the privilege of meeting with him as I worked to create J Street.
From the beginning, Ab was very supportive of the mission of J Street. He saw first-hand the need to create a voice and a political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace American Jews. He wanted to ensure that his strongly-held Jewish values were reflected in a healthy US-Israel relationship and a safe and flourishing Israel.
In the years since our founding, Ab’s support and advice was invaluable, combining a sense of moral urgency and an understanding of the vital long-game of political transformation.
Ab’s commitment to public service and his belief in working diligently for political change has been an inspiration to me personally and to our whole organization. That’s why, in 2014 – the same year that Ab was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama – J Street too honored Ab and the Mikva Family at our Chicago luncheon and started the Mikva Family Fellowship.
The Fellowship provides for a talented and dedicated college graduate to serve a year-long fellowship with J Street and to perpetuate Ab’s legacy of putting his values into action through public service.
Our hearts go out to the entire Mikva family in this difficult time. I hope that they can take some solace in knowing that all those who knew Ab and benefited so greatly from his work will remember him with tremendous fondness and admiration for a very long time. May his memory be for a blessing.
– Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street President and Founder, 7/5/16