In the School of Education, we strive to see ourselves and others as whole human beings, with each of us having many parts that are interconnected. Together, we form a rich interwoven tapestry of human experience. I don’t want any of those colors and textures to be hidden, or to be any brighter or more prominent than others. We are a community of beings and of being, and to ignore any of our aspects is to ignore an important part of our community. So, I tend to see diversity as more complex than a particular sort of self-identification. I think part of what makes us truly a community is the recognition and celebration of all of our aspects. I don’t want any of those aspects to be left out, because ultimately that means that parts of people are left out, without which they cannot participate in our community as whole beings. There can’t be anything more important than the people and their interrelationships in our community.
My family is Jewish. The role that has had in my life is more cultural than religious. But in some places that I’ve lived, that role has caused me to be seen as more different from others than I experience myself to be. At times throughout my life, I have experienced anti-Semitism, and when I was a child and adolescent, I strongly identified with my Jewishness as a form of protection from the overt anti-Semitism that I was experiencing. Most diversity work has focused on language, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, but diversity efforts in the area of religion are needed, as well, especially in these post-9/11 times. Fortunately, I have had experiences in the School of Education with people who want to learn more about Judaism, and I’m happy to share my perspectives and experiences. Some have a genuine interest in the religion and want to explore connections between their spiritual cultures and mine. These discussions have initiated some of the richest and most compelling learning that I have experienced here at William & Mary.