An Old Star Rises Again

When speaking of an Ordained Minister you might call them Reverend, or Father, or Pastor; but one particular Presbyterian Minister just wanted you to call him Mr. Rogers. He was a shy, overweight young boy who had trouble making friends, but he grew into one of the most beloved figures of his day. Even now, when kindness is so craved, he is becoming an icon of hope for a new time with a documentary released last year and an upcoming biopic starring Tom Hanks.


This sudden resurgence in popularity inspired another faith leader to remind everyone of a few basic tenants of Fred Rogers faithful acts. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg used her Twitter account, @TheRaDR, to spread a few important messages about what made Fred Rogers the figure he was in his time.


In a thread on Twitter she began with what was his most important lesson “Love your neighbor as yourself” found in Leviticus 19:18, as well as  in Matthew 22:35–40, Mark 12:28–34, and Luke 10:27 where it is called the Great Commandment.



It is a lesson Mr. Rogers took to heart and inspired The Neighborhood; where everyone was his neighbor. Which Fred Rogers explained very plainly.



It is that message which rings as so important in this day and age where so many are promoting a fear of “others”. There are those who seek to divide us or pit us against each other and this message of love and acceptance may be exactly what we need to hear in this moment.


In his time Mr. Rogers tackled hard subjects in an open and honest way; with the Vietnam war he spoke on border walls, with segregation of pools he bathed the feet of Officer Clemmons. It didn’t matter what hard subject the world was facing – he used his show to teach the children and their parents how to love each other.



Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg also brought up the importance of a question – “Ayeka?” Where are you? And the answer – Heneini. Here I am.


In a world of border walls, children in cages, riots, uprising, and discord – remember always, you are loved and celebrated. Just as you are.




If you desire to be more like Fred Rogers then perhaps remember the Great Commandment – Love your neighbor as yourself. Mr. Rogers believed in you.



Image from Wikipedia.

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