In Jewish communities, it is very common to feel near and far, like an outsider and insider at the same time. Difference in denominations and ideologies often cause tension, alienating us from each other.
Avraham feels this tension when he buys a burial plot for Sarah in Chayei Sarah. He identifies himself as a “ger toshav” - a resident alien. How can Avraham be both?
On campus, Jews often experience separation from each other when our beliefs differ. How can we help Jewish students feel like residents, insiders, wherever we go? Avraham, in last week’s parashah, sets the perfect example when he sees three men coming and runs to invite them in.
Let’s welcome those who are close to our beliefs and those who are far from them. Let’s run to each other, welcoming each other into our respective communities. Let’s make sure that no Jew feels like an outsider on our campuses.
Shana Zionts is the Director of Student Life at Columbia/Barnard Hillel. Deborah Pollock is a member of the Barnard Class of 2016.