Tag: Community


Norway's Beautiful Ring of Peace

What does it mean to build a holy place around us? In Oslo, Norway, the true power of building a holy place together was on display this weekend as hundreds of Muslims responded to a call to surround the central synagogue with what organizers dubbed a “Peace Ring.” The Peace Ring was a symbolic act, to show that these Muslims and the many volunteers who participated with them are committed to protect their sisters and brothers who are Jews, and to do so in the name of Islam, the faith that inspires......

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Stranger Danger, Cultural Context and a Sniper Saga: Our Week in Wisdom

On The Wisdom Daily this week (February 16-20), we looked at an American hero’s morally ambiguous story, the debate about disarming Iran, and what happened when witnesses ignored a train-station tragedy. Many thanks to guest writer Ruth Abusch-Magder, whose post placed recent French antisemitism into historical context. Did you grow wiser this week? We hope The Wisdom Daily played a part.   Netanyahu, Congress and the Importance of Fierce Debate – Irwin Kula Despite all the controversy surrounding House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress about......

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The 'Bystander Effect' and Why We Look Away

When something terrible happens to an individual, why do witnesses freeze up or choose inaction, especially when in a group? One such story to gain major media attention was that of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, brutally murdered in 1964 in Queens, New York. According to initial reports, as many as 37 of her neighbors heard or saw Genovese being attacked in the alley near her home; later reports called that number into question. Still, her killing sparked the first studies of what’s come to be known as the Bystander Effect -? a sociological......

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Shock in Chapel Hill: Should We Call It Terrorism?

On Wednesday morning the world woke to the tragic news of the Chapel Hill, N.C., shooting of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; Yusor Mohammad, 21; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. A 46-year-old neighbor who turned himself in was subsequently arrested. As of this writing, police are saying the killings may have been related to a dispute over parking spaces, although the father of one of the victims has told reporters that the shooter had harassed them before because of their Muslim faith. My first response to this news is grief. I imagine myself......

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Finding Home Away From Home

I am writing this post from Israel, having spent five days visiting our daughter (who is living here for the year), and I’m about to spend a week with a group of Protestant seminary students. But this post isn’t really about who I’ll be interacting with on my travels. It’s about the feeling I have in Israel – and one I hope we all have at special destinations which bring about the sensation of being at home, even when you’re far from your regular home base. Indeed, this is a feeling that......

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Where Is Dr. King's Dream?

Today we remember Martin Luther King Jr., last century’s premier exemplar of morality in public life. There will be ceremonies, speeches, television specials, editorials – and there will be very serious protests and demonstrations: Millions of Americans are outraged by the shooting deaths of young Blacks, by racial economic inequality, by a return to segregation in our education system, by the disproportionate incarceration of Blacks… And millions of White Americans not only have no understanding of what Blacks are experiencing, but themselves feel alienation, dislocation and rage. We live in a strange......

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The 'Love Your People' Facade

Recently, a billboard in Harrison, Ark., has generated quite a bit of controversy. Funded by Thomas Robb, director of the Knights Club of the KKK, the billboard for WhitePrideRadio.com reads, “It’s NOT Racist to Love Your People.” Explaining why he believes his billboard isn’t racist, Robb told a local news station, “The message is that White people have the right to be proud of who they are. Everybody else has the right to be proud, and I don’t deny that.” Robb’s belief that there is an ongoing policy of genocide against white......

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Church in Non-Traditional Spaces... Even Bars

Have you heard of pub churches? Craft beer, God, and community. Welcome to one of many new venues and ways in which people are doing religion. Under the banner of “Pub Theology” – a name taken from the title of a popular 2012 book by pastor Bryan Berghoef – an informal movement has spawned hundreds of meetings in dives and bars in dozens of states. People have gathered for “Beer and Hymns” in Portland, “Church-in-a-Pub” in Fort Worth, “What Would Jesus Brew?” in Michigan and the “Bar Church” in D.C.? Check out......

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Defending Yourself Against Life Is No Way to Live

How best to keep yourself on the path to maximum success and happiness? Or, at the very least, avoid finding yourself in situations you come to regret? Those were the questions that animated much of a long New Year’s lunch I enjoyed recently with friends. Perhaps it was the time of year, perhaps it was the wine; probably, it was a bit of both. While it’s clear that we can’t protect ourselves against all the tough stuff that life throws our way, we can make decisions that position us to enjoy life......

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This Little Light of Mine

I love the holiday season. Whether in the subway, on the streets, or even at airport security, people are gentler and kinder. I know I look into people’s faces more often during this period and see more smiles, more understanding, and more connection. The myriad lights of Hanukkah menorahs and Christmas trees and all the other lights of sacred days from Kwanza to Winter Solstice bring out the best in people. And the stories in the air do the same. Hanukkah’s message that no matter how dark it gets, or how impossible......

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