And G-d created humankind in the Divine image.
The other day, while I was sitting at the Jewish student association's booth during "welcome week" for the university I'm attending, I found myself working with a young woman whom I'll call N. It turns out that N. is a Jewish convert of Caucasian and Arab-American heritage. The other woman at the booth, J., is also converted, which made three of us. This wouldn't be significant, except that we had to decide whether to list the Jewish group as a "spiritual" or a "multicultural" group. This is the age-old paradox of Jewish identity: Are we a race or a religion?
At the wonderful Jewish blog Kesher Talk, Judith's latest post links to a site that shows composite photographs of multi-ethnic people from various parts of the world. The same post offers a link on the Parsis, the ethnic Persian Zoroastrians in India who gave us the legendary Freddie Mercury. Judith also carries a post on Nonie Darwish, What I Learned from the Jews.
As N. pointed out, the conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle east is not eternal, nor is it Divinely ordained, nor does it need to last indefinitely. With each generation, humankind discovers anew its own richness and complexity; and we also have the opportunity to learn how much we have in common. Each of us carries a unique cultural heritage, our own "DNA" of memories, legends, images, songs, hopes, and desires. This is the stuff we are given to guide us on our spiritual path, and it is the raw material for the future world that we will build. In exploring our tangled roots, each of us has the opportunity to discover our common humanity - and our common Divinity.