What an inspiring and heartening act of valor and kindness!

Call them Israel’s American volunteer fire brigade.

Dozens of firefighters from across the United States put their lives on hold – leaving behind jobs and families – to help subdue the wildfires that swept Israel over the past week. While they all share a love of Israel, only a handful of them are Jewish.

“We’re just firefighters. When guys hear about a situation like this one, where the Israelis are working as hard as they can, they want to come help,” said Billy Hirth, a Protestant who retired last year after a 24-year career as a firefighter in Arlington, Texas, and has been coordinating the American effort from Jerusalem.

“It’s a brotherhood. Firemen are firemen,” he said.

[Read more →]

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“Know what’s important to you and protect it at all costs.”

- SEAL living with Jesse Itzler in Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet.

 

 

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You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Spencer keynoted an NPI conference in Washington, D.C. Over the course of his speech, he approvingly quoted Nazi propaganda, said that the United States is meant to be a “white country,” and suggested that many political commentators are “soulless golem” controlled by Jewish media interests.

That, in a nutshell, is the face of the so-called alt-right. As Spencer himself has said, the core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of “white identity.”

[Read more →]

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By Editorial Board

November 25

SOME OF the people can be fooled all of the time, and some seem plenty pleased about it when it gives them license to exercise their most malicious impulses. How else to explain the noxious torrent of vitriol, venom and threats trained recently against a popular upper Northwest Washington pizzeria, which has been the subject of ludicrous conspiracy theories alleging that it is the center of a child – abuse racket run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta?

The allegations against Comet Ping Pong, reported by the New York Times, are absurd on their face and detached from any gossamer thread of fact. They took root in the dark crevices of the Web and took flight thanks to social media platforms, whose witless “who, us?” posture in the face of misinformation and outright lunacy is a civic embarrassment.

[Read more →]

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It may not be optimal to its business model, but Facebook needs to acknowledge it is now a primary source for news, and it does bear a journalistic responsibility. Otherwise we will continue to see hatred and misinformation skyrocket. Facebook has an even greater responsibility to be consistent with its brand. The whole design is premised on verifiable and trustworthy content. There are plenty of gray areas where Facebook can stay out. But there are also plenty of black and white ones where staying out is an easy and financially convenient but socially harmful (and eventually brand dilutive) strategy. For Twitter, part of the reason it suffers is that it is so full of noise and fake identities that advertisers can’t monetize it as much. Sharing the below article from the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal

Deepa Seetharaman, Jack Nicas and Nathan Olivarez-Giles

[Read more →]

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Quote of the week

Published under Favorite Quotes Nov 16, 2016

“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground.”
- Anonymous

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Code.org

Published under Introspection Nov 15, 2016

For fellow parents: I highly recommend Code.org. They don’t just teach coding and make it accessible to all, but they also impart values and skills that can help kids succeed, like this video that teaches kids to be persistent when things get complicated. I really admire their work.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZqKqI8AvnA#action=share

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These are the words that I shared with my team earlier this morning.

From: Daniel Lubetzky
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2016 4:21 AM
To: KINDTeam
Subject: what we need now

Dear Team,

This seemingly endless election season, culminating over the last several hours, has been a painful journey of division, vitriol and alienation for our country. It ends with America’s citizens torn further apart than any time I can remember.

Many of us are deeply shaken about the fate of our nation and our world. Global markets are signaling concern as we enter unchartered territory. There is a sense that the world’s greatest democracy is more fragile than we realized and cannot be taken for granted.

And I am asking myself how will I explain all of this to my children when they wake up in a few hours.

Finding common ground in the political space has been so challenging. Our government representatives (and the machinery that amplifies their messages) have not made it easy.

We have to step back and collectively reflect on how to protect and elevate the values we share and that have truly made America great – respect for one another, kindness, empathy, humility, warmth, the conviction that we can make a positive difference for our children and for each other, to lead our lives with purpose, to lead our communities with resilience and determination, to forge an inclusive society that prizes merit and hard work, and to contribute towards making the world we live in both kinder and stronger.

I’ve highlighted in the past that empathy and kindness are often confused with weakness. That, actually, it takes strength to be kind, particularly when we feel most vulnerable. That empathizing with “the other” requires enormous amounts of self-confidence, to feel comfortable putting yourself in the shoes of someone that you deeply disagree with. How trying has it been for many of us over the last year to understand “the other side.”

Along the night and before the election results became clear I was reflecting that, regardless of the outcome, roughly half the voters staked diametrically opposing positions. The toxic discourse made the rival platforms feel epically distant, almost as if the other side was morally repugnant. I wonder how will we get these two halves to find common ground when the distances that have been created between them are so vast. I find great solace knowing that people I greatly admire, including team leaders at KIND, and family members I love, disagreed with my political choice, and it never stood in the way of our relation. No matter how political campaigns try to program us (with billions upon billions of negative messages), we must find a way to respect one another and to appreciate our differences.

So how will I explain the results of this election to my children? I will explain that life doesn’t always serve up the path you wanted. But, always, you are served with a choice: do I retrench or do I rise up? Do I abandon hope or do I envision a way to make things better and act upon it? Do I demonize or humanize?

Now, more than ever, let’s show the strength within us to build common ground, not just to demand from our elected representatives that they rise above our differences and unite us, but to lead by example, with courage and conviction and without losing that sense of purpose, that commitment to excellence and to one another.

Time to unite.

Daniel Lubetzky
Founder & CEO

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Election 2016

Published under Introspection Nov 09, 2016

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By Maayan Lubell

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an unprecedented vilification of the Israeli media on Monday, accusing a leading television journalist of being part of a plot to bring down his right-wing government.

After declining to be interviewed by Channel Two anchorwoman Ilana Dayan for a piece investigating the workings of his administration and the role his wife plays in appointing officials, Netanyahu’s office sent a written statement.

Dayan read it in its entirety on air, taking six minutes to deliver the tirade against her as she stood in front of the prime minister’s office.

“It is time to peel the mask off the face of Ilana Dayan, who has shown once more that she has no professional integrity,” the statement said.

[Read more →]

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