Noah Goldman believes interfaith connections can strengthen the Queens University of Charlotte community. “Universities are about challenging any preconceived notions, and if you explore things you don’t know, it challenges you while giving you the ability to make connections and meet other people,” said Goldman.
Noah has definitely accepted this challenge and philosophy in many different ways at Queens. He has been a part of three different Rugby teams within the past five years — East Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte Barbarians, and now the Queens men’s rugby team, founded last summer. He’s also a part of the mentorship program Project LEAD, a residence advisor in Belk Hall, and president of the Jewish campus life organization Hillel.
It is fair to say Noah has connected with a lot of different people at Queens, and he believes interfaith connection is a key component to that. “Religions have differences, but there are plenty of similarities,” said the junior political science major. “For instance, people who follow different religions still pray for world hunger to end, poverty to be solved, and just the common good in general.”
Noah has had many experiences studying different religions. He went on a trip to Guatemala with a Christian group to further his understanding of Christianity and is good friends with Muslims and Buddhists. On top of that, Hillel does joint programs usually involving an activity and film or articles with many different cultures or religions. These activities, films and articles often contain similarities between the two religions or cultures. For example, last year Hillel teamed up with the Black Student Union to eat soul food and watch documentaries on the Holocaust and Jim Crow laws. “I heard a quote once that said if you only understand your religion then you don’t understand any,” said Goldman.
Noah thinks these connections are also important to make amongst your own religion or groups. He personally sees this as the most interesting thing about his religious affiliation, Judaism. He referenced the many tragedies Judaism has experienced in its existence, such as the Crusades, the Holocaust, and Exodus. Noah finds it impressive that the religion is still 14 million people strong. “To keep it alive through all that by holding onto an identity and ideology is amazing,” Goldman said. “If you can be comfortable with your own identity than there is no reason you can’t be comfortable with someone else’s.”
Understanding others is so important to Noah that he wants to work in the State Department, specifically on foreign policy. “It can only give you an advantage to understand others especially in the globalized world we live in today,” Goldman explained. “With any disasters that go on in the world many people turn to religion, and religion also plays a role in many protests such as Dr. King’s.”
With relief from hurricanes and other catastrophes still going on, both man-made and environmental, people often reference that coming together is a very important part of getting through tragedy or meeting a goal. That is Noah’s challenge, and it starts with the Queens community.