Masada Story Changes Birmingham Man’s Life
It was not your typical headline. “Inspired by ancient Jewish warriors, a ‘bad kid’ from Fairfield,
college graduate at 38, knows he’s ‘on the right path'” read the headline on a recent Al.Com story.
If headlines are designed to draw in a reader, this one worked. Clicking on to the link brought forward an amazing and inspiring narrative that has the Birmingham suburb of Fairfield and the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada as its bookends.
The saga of Masada, in which Jewish resisters commit suicide rather than succumb to their Roman
conquerors, is, according to Al.Com, Charles Coleman’s favorite story.
It is a story “that transfixed him as a Fairfield teenager working to pay his own way through private school, inspired him to graduate from UAB — at 38 years old — and still motivates him to build bonds with disparate cultures and create positive change in parts of the world most of us cannot pronounce.”
The story, which has been interpreted over the centuries as an example of heroism, determination and refusal to succumb to conquest became part of the corporate culture at a Birmingham-based business where Coleman worked as a teenager.
“Coleman was 16 when the story was told to him by Terry Johnson, a founder of the Masada Resource Group, a trash-to-sustainable-fuel company that included Masada Security, a home alarm monitoring entity where Coleman worked, earning up to $11 per hour,” the story noted.
From that point forward, Coleman embarked on a fascinating journey, animated by the refusal-to-succumb spirit of Masada, that has led him down a unique path of inspirational achievement including spending substantial time in Israel. Though long, this wonderful Al.Com story is worth reading.
— Richard Friedman, BJF Executive Director