by Rabbi Michael Schwab
My sermon this week was about the Mishkan’s (portable Sanctuary) construction as a model for the concept of unity in diversity. And that’s exactly what I saw this week at AIPAC’s Policy Conference.
The Torah describes at great length every detail of this sacred project and the myriad of different contributions that were needed to finish what would be nothing less than the home for God in their midst. What is more, this project was explicitly powered by the individual’s generosity of heart, and it was so successful that Moses had to ask the people to stop giving.
The success of this holy endeavor teaches us a crucial lesson, especially for our times: every person matters, and every person has something unique to give. For example, the Mishkan would not have been built if every person gave the same gift or knew the very same craft. So our differences can actually be our strength.
I saw this principle in action at the AIPAC Policy Conference this week in Washington DC. Democrats and Republicans; conservatives and liberals; religious Jews, non-religious Jews, and non-Jews all came together in the tens of thousands as one, bringing their various perspectives and different strengths to the singular issue of support for Israel. Our strength was in our multiplicity. Our capacity to advocate for Israel came from our diversity, which allowed us to reach different segments of American society. Unity in diversity may be difficult, but when it succeeds there is nothing holier or more powerful.