The challenge of diversity


This week we held GJC’s annual meeting, and I spoke about how difficult the task is that we take on in embracing difference and honoring the diverse voices of our community.  A community built on difference is inherently challenging, and we not only allow but also welcome the expressions of difference and diversity, knowing that they always hold the potential to be destabilizing.  We do this lovingly and willingly, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it is always easy.  In doing this work together, we can take a lesson from this week’s Torah reading, where God asks Moses to address challenges to his leadership by expanding the circle of leaders to include 70 elders of Israel, each of whom acquires their own prophetic voice from God (Numbers 11:10-17).  Moses learns that God’s prophetic plan is “more is more” – having more people present more divinely-inspired points of view to the community will ultimately sustain it in the long term, even though it may be messy and sometimes difficult in the short term.  May we say, along with Moses, “Would that all of the people were prophets, with the divine spirit implanted in them!” (Numbers 11:29).  If we can hold each other in our diversity, our future together is bright.