The Creation narrative of Genesis 1 tells how God created plants and animals of “every kind,” establishing the stunning biodiversity of our planet. In contrast, God creates humanity singularly, with just one original couple as the ancestors of all people. The Mishnah infers that this was “to promote peace among people, so no one may say to another, “My ancestor is greater than your ancestor” (Sanhedrin 4:5).
Unfortunately, this attitude remains with us in the form of racism and other hatreds that deny the common humanity of all people, created in the “image of God”(Genesis 1:27). Colleges have become one of the few places in our society where a great diversity of people from different walks of life closely gather together in community, offering a unique opportunity to learn from the experiences of a different part of the human family than one’s own. Ben Goldberg is the Rabbinic Fellow of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience of Hillel International, and a third-year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary.