A Quaker's Shabbat

Dear Tulane Community:

My extended family is mostly Protestant and Catholic, my wife and daughters are Jewish and I am a Quaker who can't wait to speak at the Shabbat 1000 Dinner on the Newcomb Quad tonight. My participation in this community-wide version of what is a weekly observance in many Jewish homes embodies part of the diversity that is so critical to the university experience. As members of an academic community we often take for granted the opportunity to experience, enjoy and learn from a wide array of cultures and perspectives. But in many parts of our world and even segments of our own society, people pay dearly (sometimes with their very lives) for such freedom.

This is why preparing the next generation to live and lead in a world filled with new and exciting perspectives and ever-evolving cultural, economic and political variety is such an important part of the mission and purpose of Tulane. Our world needs universities to be cultural and intellectual melting pots and arenas of thought, innovation, diversity and change. Graduating new thinkers and agents of change will reap vast benefits for the world as these young people lead the way in encountering and embracing the best of the new, the different and the unexpected – as well as the traditional, the historic and the time-honored.  

These are some of the thoughts I have as I look forward to Shabbat 1000, its traditions and fellowship, not to mention its wonderful food – the melting pot cooks up more than diversity!