Jewish groups mourned the passing of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, as “a great leader, a man with a unique ability to inspire, and a staunch friend of the Jewish people.”

Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League issued the following statement via Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director:

We are saddened by the death of Mario Cuomo. He was a man who never failed to talk about his experiences as a young man which made him feel so comfortable with the Jewish community. That comfort level revealed itself in a number of appearances the Governor made before ADL audiences.

Few politicians could speak as eloquently to the range of ADL issues as he, whether it was support for the state of Israel, the need to take anti-Semitism seriously, the continuing struggle for equality in America, or the unique immigrant experience in this country.

Those who heard Mario Cuomo’s address at the 1984 Democratic convention never forgot it and never forgot him. He was a true leader whether or not he opted to run for president. At this time when all the talk is about polarization and the need for leadership to bring us together, Mario Cuomo and all he represented will be sorely missed.

Mario Cuomo died January 1 at the age of 82. He was the father of current NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.