Diversity and Welcoming

We live in a quickly diversifying Jewish community; Rabbi Emily Cohen explores Psalms 118:22 as sustenance for these changes.

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אֶ֭בֶן מָאֲס֣וּ הַבּוֹנִ֑ים הָ֝יְתָ֗ה לְרֹ֣אשׁ פִּנָּֽה

The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone. (Psalms 118:22)

The Jewish people has always been a mixed multitude, and yet, so often, we have looked with fear and distrust to those we perceive to be outsiders in our communities.

Does that woman appears black belong in this synagogue? Does that man wearing tzitzit (prayer fringes) and a black hat really belong in this havurah, where anyone—woman or man–is welcome to lead prayer? Is there a place here for that person whose gender might not fit neatly into male or female? Time and again, the Jewish community has rejected certain communities and led many Jews and their loved ones to feel “less than.”

Today, we see a quickly diversifying Jewish community. Jews of Color, Queer Jews, and Jews from interfaith backgrounds are becoming more and more commonplace. In cross-denominational, post-denominational and even mainstream prayer spaces, tattooed, ripped jean-wearing and head-covered, long skirt-wearing Shabbat attendees are welcomed with equal grace. We are approaching a time when the rejected stones are building a collective future—a future in which each of us is valued for the unique perspective we can bring.  

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