Tourist trinkets and Hamsa bracelets lined the street as I passed by shops in Safed. I wasn’t looking for a bracelet with the Shema on it or a new Magen David necklace. I had already been on the Israel trip where that was the norm. I was looking for something different.
What I found was a message.
I spotted an art gallery and entered. I was immediately drawn toward a particular sculpture. The familiarity of the sculpture struck me. It was an abstract representation of two human beings in an embrace. Neither gender nor any other characteristics were discernible from the piece. All that was expressed was two humans making a connection.
What immediately came to my mind upon seeing the piece was a sculpture by Laura Rubio, a Mexican artist currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. The figure is of two forms connected and embracing. Although the forms are more rounded and smooth than the sculpture I found in Safed, they both express human intimacy. It struck me how these two artists could live on opposite sides of the world but still express the same universal human experience.
Diversity is beautiful. I love how in Israel I can see Arabs, Europeans, Ethiopians, Americans, and all other types of people on the same street. Within the Jewish nation, there are many different lifestyles and ways of expressing Judaism. Differences between people can be beautiful. However, we often forget that underneath the different clothing and life perspectives, much of what we experience is the same. When you can recognize that all human beings have the potential to experience love, affection, and connecting with others it is easier to also recognize the respect that each human being deserves and to understand that the universality of the human experience is there to help us recognize the importance of placing value on each and every soul, whether they be Jewish in Israel, Muslim, Israeli, or Atlantan.