Thousands of people including friends, family, celebrities and political personalities attended legendary boxer Muhammad Ali’s funeral held on June 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.
From amongst the attendees, Rabbi Michael Lerner, a political activist and the editor of Tikkun Magazine, delivered a heart-felt eulogy that received a standing ovation.
Waiting with other religious/spiritual leaders Chief Oren Lyons for Ali service to start pic.twitter.com/vBaKTAlTKQ— Rabbi Michael Lerner (@rabbilerner) June 10, 2016
He spoke of how Ali set an example for the world by loving black people at a time when they themselves were struggling to love themselves.
"If Muhammad Ali were here today, I'm sure his message would be this: Don't waste your time on this planet fighting the small battles - put your life energies and money into fundamental systemic transformation," said Lerner.
He went on to talk about how Ali was a hero to stand up against the Vietnam war and refuse to serve in the U.S. army although he was well aware that he could lose his heavyweight title.
"Knowing he would lose his title, knowing he would face the racism of American society that would be heaped upon him for saying no to the crazy war in Vietnam, Ali said no to the war”, Lerner said.
"He spoke truth to power - we must speak truth to power," he added.
The rabbi also slammed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's xenophobia, saying not all Muslims should be denounced just because of a few people tarnishing their image.
“We will not tolerate politicians or anyone else putting down Muslims and blaming Muslims for a few people,” Lerner said.
He also took the opportunity to throw in a few pieces of advice for the “next president of the United States” who he addressed as “she” obviously hinting at Hillary Clinton.
Here’s what Twitter users had to say about the speech:
Rabbi Michael Lerner speech was simply amazing.— Moe Issa (@MoeIssa91) June 11, 2016
The rabbi michaellerner wow what a speech ali funeral— paul the tim (@paulthetim) June 10, 2016
This man is going in hard!! Wow!! What a speech Rabbi Michael Lerner!! #AliFuneral— robertmarawa (@robertmarawa) June 10, 2016
Powerful speech from Rabbi Michael Lerner. Dig at Erdogan who wasn't allowed to speak today. Saying what we've wanted to hear all along.— Danyal Aziz (@Danyal_Aziz) June 10, 2016
Bill Clinton and Billy Crystal sitting next to each other enjoyed Rabbi Michael Lerner's mention of "her" in his speech at the Ali memorial.— Mary Forrest (@maryforrest) June 10, 2016