Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Super powerful and effective ad by Australia Masterfoods

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By AMY CHOZICK

Sara Ehrman, a fixture in liberal politics who advised President Bill Clinton on the Israeli-Arab conflict but was best known as the woman who advised a young Hillary Rodham not to move to Arkansas to marry Mr. Clinton, died Saturday in Washington. She was 98.

A family friend, Jodi Enda, said the cause was endocarditis. [Read more →]

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KIND played a part in a love story!

Published under KIND Snacks, Life Dec 27, 2016

Boston Globe:  Finding Love in the Unlikeliest of Places

By Eric Moskowitz

WRENTHAM — Even by the standards of jury-assembly rooms, the basement space at Wrentham District Court is grim, calling to mind a driver’s ed classroom or maybe an interrogation den, with exposed pipes, stained carpeting, and bleak lighting.

Suffice it to say, it was not where Melissa Ananias or Peter Butler expected to find love — or, for that matter, where anyone has expected to find it. Ever.

On that Tuesday morning, two years ago in October, Melissa arrived uncharacteristically early. Pete, uncharacteristically, cut it close.

She was 45 and had been divorced eight years, a single mother from Needham with two daughters in elementary school. Match.com, JDate, blind dates, she had tried them all, dismissing most guys quickly, not one of them ever reaching the point of meeting her girls.

Pete was 44 and also had two kids. Divorced officially for 21 days, he was was trying out Match.com; only later would he realize he had seen Melissa already, quickly clicking past her because she had two cats. He was allergic.

But now she stood out to him amid the groggy faces as he ducked through the low doorway. She noticed him, too — tall and blue-eyed, in a crisp dress shirt and fleece — but tried not to stare, turning back to her book. Why not, he thought, as he walked past rows of empty seats and picked the one beside her.

[Read more →]

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A man died…

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans…

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things… Clothes… money…

[Read more →]

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I am really saddened to lose Shimon Peres, a leader that was among the greatest statesmen of the 21st century, an inspiring voice of reason and wisdom not just for the Jewish people and for the Israeli people, but for humanity. Shimon Peres was one of the last living pioneers who established, built, secured, and strengthened the State of Israel. He was also a visionary, philosopher and diplomat with extraordinary insight into the human spirit. I was scheduled to meet him on my last trip to Israel on the afternoon when he suffered a stroke. My thoughts are with his wonderful family, including my dear friend Mika Almog, his amazing granddaughter, and his son Chemi and daughter Tzvia, all cut from the same cloth of wisdom and warmth. May Shimon’s incredible contributions to the Jewish people, to Israel, and to the world be a source of strength to you and to all of us during these difficult times, and may his words of wisdom guide all of us for years to come. Below you will find a beautiful statement from President Obama:

[Read more →]

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I was fortunate to have the opportunity to get to know Pamela Hartigan over close to two decades, and at every turn I noticed her commitment to excellence and her wonderful warmth and positive energy.  I am sharing Sally Osberg’s words below as a fit tribute to an extraordinary leader in the social entrepreneurship world.

[Read more →]

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Bee colony collapse is a major issue that society should be concerned about and focused on.

[Read more →]

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Purim 5776: The Haman Within

Published under Life, Religion Mar 28, 2016

Purim is a holiday in which we are not afraid to be ridiculous. We don funny costumes; we drink ourselves into oblivion; we are boisterous and noisy. Purim is all about ridicule.
And, above all, Purim ridicules intolerance. The misogynist King Ahasuerus, who objectifies his wife Vashti, ends up being outwitted by a woman; the pompous bigot Haman ends up being humiliated and killed by the people he despises. And yet, while Haman is humiliated and dead, Hamanism isn’t. Moreover, it enjoys a dangerous revival and a new legitimacy both outside and inside the Jewish community.

To understand what Hamanism is, we need to go back to the argument that the evil vizier uses when he demands that the King agree to the extermination of the Jews: “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.”

The Jews’ sin is that they are different, and in Haman’s bigoted and twisted mind, difference must be suppressed. Haman dreams of a dystopia of uniformity, in which everybody thinks the same and everybody abides by one set of rules: his.

Hamanism is the irrational fear of difference, and it lies at the core of every authoritarian regime. It’s no coincidence that the Jews have been the target of almost every totalitarianism in history. We are, after all, the eternal different ones; even our name “Hebrews” can be translated as “those on the other side”. But, more importantly, we have always embraced difference and diversity. The Talmud is a raucous collection of arguments and debates, insisting that God alone holds the absolute truth and we, poor mortals, must be content with a patchwork of partial, imperfect truths. Our sages were so afraid of uniformity that they even decreed that if a trial verdict is unanimous, it’s invalid. We model for the world a culture that sees difference as a source of richness. When our rabbis proclaimed that “There are 70 faces to the Torah,” they advanced two thousand years ago the very modern idea that our differences need not divide us.

Our embrace of diversity is not merely an added feature to Judaism; it’s essential to our understanding of the world and of Jewish theology. The greatness of God, says the Mishnah, can be seen from the fact that while “a human strikes many coins from the same die, all the coins are alike,” whereas God “strikes every man from the die of the First Man, and yet no man is quite like his fellow.” (Sanhedrin 4:5). It is in one who is different that we behold the greatness of God. Can I recognize God’s image in someone who is not in my own image? If I cannot, then I have made an idol of my image instead of recognizing God’s own. Failing to respect difference is an insult to God.

That’s why it is nothing less than a betrayal of our very essence that we are creating, within the Jewish people, a climate in which dissent is penalized and diversity of opinions discouraged. We have traded a vibrant culture of debate for one of demonization and name-calling, and we are slipping into a situation in which everyone from Jewish leaders to Jewish college students are afraid to speak their minds. We have begun to let ourselves be ruled by a thought police that submits anybody who thinks differently to an Inquisition.

Sadly, in this we are following the spirit of the times. But as Jews we should be able to be different.

If the Talmudic rabbis sought to expand the debating house, we seek to build echo-chambers. As Rabbi Lord Sacks put it, “Broadcasting is being replaced by narrowcasting.” The result is that we don’t quite have one Jewish community anymore, but rather a crowd of warring sects. We are replacing reason with anger and argument with vilification. We are witnessing the death of civility—in America, in Israel and in our communities—and when civility dies, civilization follows.

When it comes to Hamanism, funders can be part of the problem or part of the solution. We can penalize dissent, ostracize difference, and push Judaism further, step by step, toward its demise. Or we can emulate Esther and turn a dire situation on its head. We can model civility, influence communal discourse to move toward open-mindedness, and help to create a culture of respectful debate. It starts, as the song goes, with the “person in the mirror”. If we demand acquiescence from our grantees instead of encouraging them to push back and challenge us—if we use the power of the purse to demand uniformity instead of cultivating diversity—we are deviating even further from the wise path that our ancestors charted.

Purim teaches us that one antidote to Hamanism is generosity. We are commanded to send presents to one another, and gifts to the needy. A well-known paradox of giving is that, more than feeling connected to someone leads us to give, giving to others leads us to feel more connected to them. Maybe that’s why we must give on Purim—to kill the Haman within us every year. Our acts of generosity lead the way for our hearts, until we learn to see others who are different as full human beings, created in God’s image.

Let’s bring that message of tolerance, diversity, and generosity to our broader communities during this era of ugly small-mindednesses. Let’s make our communities into spaces where dissent and respect are, once again, sacred.

Let’s banish Hamanism to the gutter of history, where it belongs.

By Andrés Spokoiny, President & CEO, JFN

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I found this blog post that my sister shared as very human. I didn’t agree with every word shared, but it certainly brought to life the very real way that Israeli human beings feel amidst a barrage of senseless terrorism. I continue to hope and work for a resolution to the Arab Israeli conflict and feel there are many ways in which the present Israeli government is harming Israel’s future as it turns a beautiful country into a garrison state where alienation, division and fear rule, let alone burn bridges with potential and existing partners. But there is no doubt that when Palestinians attack Israeli civilians randomly, they destroy hope even more and set back their cause as well as the cause of moderates by forcing the most rational human beings to feel the need to fear and reject the “other.”  Time for moderates to seize back the agenda for the sake of all the people that are suffering so much.

[Read more →]

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[Read more →]

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