I have known Amanda Rowan for many years, first as a student and later as an active and supportive member of my synagogue and its board of directors. I know her as a person with a deep sense of integrity and honesty. Her perspectives are always insightful and built on a well-honed understanding of the situation at-hand gained by diligent investigation.
My synagogue went through a challenging period with divisive leadership spreading inuendoes and false accusations. They also kept some of their darker motivations well below the surface. Amanda was one of the first on the scene to countermand their efforts, speaking truth to those in power. She was always highly articulate and direct in what she said and wrote regarding our difficulties both with lay leadership and me. I always appreciated her candor. Amanda is a person who wears her heart on her sleeve, a passionate defender of what she knows is right, and, in the spirit of the late John Lewis, this is a woman who walks across bridges and builds bridges.
Amanda Rowan is an unswerving advocate for what is fair and just. She has nothing in mind but the best for her community. Amanda acts with righteous purpose with those who play loosely with their bully pulpits, communal responsibilities, and privilege. She demands the same adherence to morality and ethics from herself that she asks from others. One thing for sure, Amanda does not wait to be called upon to set things right in the community. She knows that injustices take root quickly, and the longer one delays, the deeper those roots become. Those striving for justice and equity in their communities can count on Amanda to step up with them and for them.
I have always been honored to have Amanda Rowan in my life. Anyone who has her support is truly blessed.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels is rabbi emeritus of Beth Shir Shalom in Santa Monica.