By Natasha Mayer
Yesterday was World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly created this day of observance to bring attention to the fact that three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension, so creating a culture accepting of diversity is vital for creating a more peaceful world. Diversity of cultures and backgrounds is vital for both economic development and to create a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual life.
We don’t need to create a diverse Jewish community; the Jewish community is already diverse. According to the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, 11% of the seven million US Jews also identify as people of color. But too often we only talk about diversity in terms of race and ethnicity. 4.5% of the US population identifies as LGBT, and it’s safe to believe the statistics are similar in the Jewish community. Jews also observe differently; some identify as Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform, and some don’t consider themselves affiliated with any of those observances. Some Jews are Ashkenizi, some are Mizrahi, and some Sephardic. There are Jews of all ages, all economic backgrounds, and all family statuses. Jews work in all different fields, and live in all different neighborhoods. By acknowledging the diversity within the Jewish community, we can create a stronger Jewish community and a stronger world.