"Where do I turn when the world scares me, when I fear for my well-being, for my family, for my neighborhood, for my country, for the survival of our planet? Where do I find the will to offer further sacrifices on the altar of doing the right thing? I summon up memories of the past, times when I had to do something I wasn't sure I would be able to do and somehow found myself capable of doing it and doing it well, from embarking on a career in the rabbinate without any assurance that I would be good at it to helping raise a child with an incurable illness. I think of times I faced the challenge of doing something that I believed was the right thing to do. When I acted on my best instincts, sometimes it worked out well and sometimes it didn't. But when I look back on those occasions when I was afraid to do what I knew was right, I do so with regret and a measure of embarrassment. I find the courage to do the right thing now by calling up memories of how good it felt when I did what I thought was right and how weak and embarrassed I was when I let the fear prevail. I don't enjoy failure any more than the average man does, but I feel better about having tried and failed than I do about times when I was afraid to try.

"I confront my fears with the knowledge that failure and rejection are not fatal, that the people who love me love me for who I am and for what I stand for at my best, not for what I achieve. And I keep reminding myself that hope and courage are the will of God. I leave you with the words of the philosopher-psychologist William James. 'These, then, are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.' "