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God in living color

Spring has sprung in Israel, bringing with it dazzling lessons in the beauty of change and diversity

This country is awash in color.

Anemones in bloom  (Adele Raemer)

It is brilliant, varied, and inspiring.

12728914_10153210545781106_9135061271959939572_n (1)
(David Bar-Cohn)

Carpets of shaded greens blanket the earth.


Vivid wildflowers adorn the fields.

(David Bar-Cohn)

They decorate the valleys and spread through the desert.

IMG_20160205_122252-01 (1)
(Miriam Lottner)

The Earth is radiant with diversity and the power of difference.

(Brian John Thomas)

The vastness of the universe sits in glorious rejection of small minded vision.


God says, “I was, I am, and I will be.”

I am forever. I am where you are. At this moment.

God comes with us. He is not an idol to a society frozen in time, nor a relic from the past. He lives within each of our beating hearts.

God’s universe is ever-expanding, taking in more and more– not less and less.

(David Bar-Cohn)


Yet, down here, God has been hamstrung — forced into a ghetto and trapped in the pages of sages.

We no longer serve God where we are.

We make God serve us. As we wish.

We have become a club of exclusivity where no one is good enough. Not even God.

For God accepted Ruth — with no wait times or bureaucratic nightmares.

And God says, “Be good to the widow, the convert, and the orphan.” No dress code required.

And God commands, “Stay far from falsehood!” Yet, we say, the ends justify the means and who cares what the world thinks.

We have decided that our understanding is stronger and greater. Our words have replaced God’s, our definitions superseding His.

It is not enough to follow God’s command: “Be Holy.” We have turned it into inches and measurements while losing the word’s innate meaning of goodness and righteousness.

Erase women? There’s a Torah verse for that.

Exclude other Jews? “Mesorah!” That battle cry of “because it has always been that way” that allows us to ignore reality as it is.

Reject hechshers, customs, candidates? Daas Torah! An excuse to ignore facts and context and allow others to make life decisions for me.

But for those interested in hearing from the Source, God still communicates through the world He created, the one He placed us in, to learn from and understand.

It is here for us in black AND white… and red, yellow and green. Blond and dark-haired, curly and straight, tall and short. Russian and Ethiopian. Yemenite and American. Polish and German. Spanish and Chinese.

LBD - 2 Israeli girls
(Laura Ben David)

Jews. All coming home.

Surely, it wasn’t unplanned that every culture, race, color would come together to the one place God calls holy? Shouldn’t we be learning from this?

Shall we reject those who look different, think differently, pray differently… because they aren’t just like us?

(Laura Ben David)

Shall we reject those who have used a different path, traveled a different road?

For, all roads lead to Jerusalem.

(Sarah Tuttle Singer)

Here, black and white is a manmade idea.

God is evident in living color.

About the Author
Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll is a writer and an activist. Cofounder of chochmatnashim.org She loves her people enough to call out the nonsense. See her work at skjaskoll.com