The Children Of Noah

As the children of Noah, we are challenged to follow his example of resisting the corruption of our society, walking with God and living with our brothers and sisters in love and peace.

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Perhaps the difference is that Adam and Chava lived in a less complicated world than Noah did--they had violence in their family, for sure, but they didn't have to face the pressure of resisting a whole society and its unGodly values. Noach did; he and his family weren't perfect, but in a society filled with violence, greed, theft, corruption, materialism, and so on, he resisted and "walked with God." (cf. Genesis 6:9-13) That's who we're descended from--somebody who saw a better way than others did, who lived his values and faith, who rose above a society and treated people as if they were not only related, but created in the Image of God.

Seen this way, the traditional Hebrew phrase "b'nei Noach," which literally means "children of Noah" but has the idiomatic meaning of [non-Jewish] "human being," becomes a title of great dignity and hope. We are the children of great men and women, who are capable of more than we think, and who can live with our brothers and sisters in peace and love if only we will remember where we came from, and where we want to go.

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Rabbi Neal J. Loevinger

Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger is currently the rabbi of Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie, NY. A former student at Kolel, he served as Kolel's Director of Outreach from late 1999-2001. He was ordained in the first graduating class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of the University of Judaism, and holds a Master's of Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto.