On October 31st humanity greeted its 7 billionth member. The world’s population is now 7 billion human beings. Current estimates are for 8 billion people in 2025 and in 2083 humanity will reach the 10 billion figure. The number is staggering.
Even more awe-inspiring is this. Each and every one of the planet’s 7 billion people is unique, an individual reflection of God’s image like no other who is or who ever was.
As Martin Buber wrote so beautifully, “Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. If there had been someone else like you there would be no need for you to be in this world.”
The world needs each and every one of us. We need each other. Our task is to understand why, filling our place and fulfilling our purpose.
In a world of millions and billions, we do this by finding an address, connecting ourselves to a community and people whose values we can share, and together giving of ourselves for the sake of others.
In terms of religious identity, today’s world includes among others more than 2 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims, 1 billion adherents of Hinduism and Buddhism, and approximately 13 million Jews. We are .22% of the world’s population.
This is why we strive to form our individual identities through the heritage and visions of the Jewish people. In order to have something meaningful to contribute in a world of 7 billion unique and precious human beings, we join together to preserve and cherish our particular peoplehood and religious tradition.
The world needs each and every one of us. We need each other and all of the meaning and goodness we can give. Engagement with Jewish identity and values helps us to understand why so we can fill our place and fulfill our purpose.