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October 31, 2003 - Image 55

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-31

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Torah Portion


The Rainbow Displays
Array Of God's Creativity

ing about creative diversity. Nimrod,
however, believed that creativity and
diversity were a menace. He devoted
himself to the single-mindedness of
the straight and narrow tower.
The world he designed made
everyone fit into this constricted
narrowness. People were not valued,
orate portion Noah offers
us a glimpse into a special only bricks and mortar. When a per-
world — that of a family
son fell from the tower, no one
whose mission it was to
noticed. When a brick dropped,
repopulate the earth. It is a fascinat-
they said Kaddish. God labeled
Nimrod's work as evil.
ing account of separation and diver-
For thousands of years,
gence, of colonizing each
others have adopted
continent of the earth with
Nimrod's narrow-minded-
linguistic and cultural dif-
ness and transformed it
ferences. It is a saga of the
into evils of their own.
development of freedom —
Anyone or any tyrant who
freedom to be the person
tries to undermine God's
God created each of us to
diverse creation by
demanding uniformity
In fact, God chose a
and suppressing creative
rainbow, a spectrum of col-
expression is clearly violat-
ors, as the sign of an endur-
ing covenant to never again
SLEUTELBERG ing God's design.
From the knowledge
destroy the world. (Genesis
Special to the
God required Noah
9:9-17) God introduced the
Jewish News
to save all creatures in
concept of human unique-
their infinite diversity
ness, in groups as in indi-
viduals: the blessing of diversity. It
(Genesis 7:1-3), we learn that all of
God's creatures are precious and
is no coincidence that group after
group has chosen the rainbow as its
have a right to exist. Every culture,
every religion, every orientation and
symbol of freedom.
every race has a right to exist as long
The rainbow communicates
as it does not infringe on another's
inclusion, variety and beauty.
Without its infinite array of
right to do so.
May the freedom guaranteed by
color, the rainbow would not be so
awe-inspiring. The rainbow commu- God through the covenant of the
nicates to us that there is a spectrum rainbow guide our own sensitivities
of possibilities in our world and that as we endeavor to be ever more
God wants us to value inclusion,
inclusive and appreciative of the
honoring the contributions that the
variety of God's creations. II
variety of creation brings to the fab-
ric of our lives.
God's world is full of so many
colors, shapes, and textures; and this
is precisely what makes the world
The aftermath of the flood
would have been the perfect time
amazingly beautiful. We travel the
earth to witness for ourselves the
for God to unify humankind.
multiplicity of human, animal and
However, not only did God
choose to separate people into
plant species and of landscapes. We
nations and tribes and give them
crave the exotic and the familiar at
divergent cultures and languages,
the same time.
Not all of us, however, value
God also destroyed Nimrod's
both. In fact, xenophobia is a debili-
attempt to unify them.
Why do you think that God
tating disease for many and an
impediment for others. Many live in
chose in favor of diversity? What
are the pros and cons of diversity
fear of otherness. They want their
compared with those of unity? In
world to be uniform, suppressing
your opinion, does unity lead to
Just a few generations after Noah,
more peace or more divisiveness?
Why is the rainbow the perfect
God scattered the children of the
symbol for our covenant with
Earth throughout the world bring-
Arnie Sleutelberg is the spiritual leader
of Congregation Shir Tikvah.

Shabbat Noah:
Genesis 6:9 11:32;
Isaiah 54:1-55:5.





Rabbi Harvey Meirovich is Dean of the Rabbinical School at the Schechter Center
of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. His teaching focuses on exploring the signifi-
cance and relevance of the Jewish classical tradition as it confronts the chal-
lenges of modernity, and interpreting the religious movements of Judaism in the
modern period.

Shabbat, October 31 and November 1, Congregation B'nai Moshe

• The Building Blocks of Jewish Identity: The Case of Conversion,
Friday Night

• Elijah: The Cost of Religious Fanaticism, Shabbat Morning

• Coping with Crisis: Insights from Rabbinic Wisdom, Shabbat Morning,
Following Kiddush

Sunday November 2, Shaping of Conservative Judaism in Israel, 9:30-10:30 AM,
Congregation Beth Ahm

Dr Renee Melammed is currently Assistant Dean and Director of Women's
Studies at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Dr. Melammed
has spent the past 20 years reading Inquisition documents, texts from the Cairo
Geniza, and any other sources that could provide her with pieces of early
Sephardi and Oriental Jewish history. Her work has focused on the preservation
of Jewish identity in the crypto-Jewish world, and in particular on the role women
have played in that heroic struggle.

Monday November 3, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Hebrew High School (Laker)

• 6:00-7:00 PM Confirmation Class: "He Said, She Said": A Woman
Teacher in 12th Century Cairo

• 7:15-8:15 PM Adult B'nai Israel Class: Women's Lives as Reflected by
the Cairo Geniza Documents

Tuesday, November 4, The Modern Descendants of the Crypto-Jews in the
Southwest and in Belmonte, Portugal, 11:00 AM-11: 45 AM, Jewish Academy of
Metropolitan Detroit

Thursday November 6, The Crypto-Jewish women of Castille, 10:30 - Noon,
Agency for Jewish Education, Federation Building

Friday, November 8, 8:53 AM, Learner's Minyan, Jewish Academy of Metropolitan


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