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8 badass Jews who gave Nazis exactly what they deserved and then some.

tradition, religion, oppression, war, forefathers

Some lit candles in celebration of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is almost upon us, and this year, it's not just about latkes, jelly doughnuts, and exchanging disappointing gifts.

At a time of great uncertainty and fear — when swastikas are popping up in public parks, incoming government officials are not quite denying that they maybe might start putting all the people who follow a disfavored religion of their choosing on a list, and neo-Nazis are donning fedoras and mingling over chicken parm sliders at swanky D.C. chain restaurants, we (((Jews))) need to take a lesson from our Maccabee forefathers, bust out our dreidels-of-sneaky-plotting, and gear ourselves up to reject darkness and resist oppression as forcefully and righteously as we can.


Fortunately, rejecting darkness and resisting oppression as forcefully and righteously as we can is kind of our thing.

To refresh our memories and lay on some much-needed inspiration, here are eight stories of badass Jews who fought back against fascism — one for each night of Hanukkah:

1. William Cohen, who helped unite Jews in America against Hitler

war crimes, neo-Nazis, Sweden, Judaism

William Cohen was a U.S. congressman from New York in 1933.

William Cohen. Photo by U.S. State Department.

In 1933, while much of America's political leaders were busy convincing themselves that the Nazis were just passionate about stretching their triceps, Cohen, a former U.S. congressman from New York, prominently endorsed a boycott of German goods.

"Any Jew buying one penny’s worth of merchandise made in Germany is a traitor to his people," Cohen announced at a meeting of the Jewish War Veterans. While the boycott (obviously) failed to stop the Nazis, it helped galvanize Jewish resistance in the United States and frame opposition to the regime as a moral duty.

He also thoroughly kicked Hitler's ass at mustaches.

2. Danuta Danielsson, who treated Swedish neo-Nazis with an appropriate lack of respect in the 1980s

demonstration, women, community, freedom

Danuta Danielsson hits a new-Nazi over the head with a handbag.

Photo by (cropped) Hans Runesson/Wikimedia Commons.

Here's what we know about Danuta Danielsson:

  • She was of Polish-Jewish descent.
  • Her mother survived Auschwitz.
  • During a neo-Nazi rally in Vaxjo, Sweden, in 1985, she ran up to one of the demonstrators a and smacked him with her purse.

Danielsson never talked about the incident and passed away three years later, so we'll never know why she did it, but "hitting Nazis for revenge is fun and good" is probably as close a guess we'll ever get, and, you know what?

That's fine.

3. Leon Feldhendler and 4. Alex Pechersky, who helped shut down a concentration camp

On Oct. 14, 1943, Feldhendler, a Jewish council leader in the Zolkiew ghetto, and Pechersky, a Russian-Jewish soldier, led 300 of their fellow prisoners on a daring, improbable escape from the Sobibor concentration camp — the largest such prisoner escape of the war. Though only roughly 50 of the escapees survived the next two years, the camp was forced to shut down in the wake of the revolt.

Both Feldhendler and Pechersky lived to the see the Nazis kicked out of their respective homelands, though Feldhendler was killed in an ambush by right-wing Poles in early 1945. The two were instrumental in making a lot of Nazis sad and/or dead, a legacy that was, ultimately, memorialized in the 1987 film "Escape from Sobibor."

5. Faye Schulman, who provided historical documentation of the resistance movement in World War II

A photographer by trade, Schulman was initially recruited to take pictures for the Nazis when they invaded her Polish hometown in 1941. Determined to find clients less likely to enslave and, eventually, murder her, she fled into the woods, where she convinced a group of partisans to let her embed.

She spent the next two years taking pictures, documenting the day-to-day activities of the resistance. Because there were no craft stores in the woods, she made her own solutions to develop her photos.

Schulman preserved her photos through the end of the war and beyond, eventually entering them into the historical record as proof of that there was defiance behind Nazi lines from Jews and non-Jews alike.

6. Simon Wiesenthal, who tracked down Nazis after the war to bring them to justice

survivor, concentration camp, Austria, WWII

A photo taken of death camp survivor Simon Weisenthal.

Photo by Rob Bogaerts/Anefo/National Archives of the Netherlands.

A death camp survivor, Wiesenthal survived the murder of most of his family, separation from his wife, and a brutal forced march that nearly claimed his life in the years following Hitler's invasion of his native Poland. After the war, he settled in Linz, Austria, and dedicated his life to a single, glorious goal: hunting Nazis.

Wiesenthal chased Nazis all over the world — first as a freelancer (somehow, Wiesenthal even managed to make the gig economy seem badass) and eventually through his organization, the Jewish Documentation Center. He tracked down Adolf Eichmann in Argentina; Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, in Brazil; and Karl Silberbauer, the gestapo agent who arrested Anne Frank, in Austria. He helped put dozens of former SS agents on trial in West Germany. And presumably, he did it all while feeling absolutely 100% great about himself and having no regrets, ultimately passing away at a ripe old age while, it would stand to reason, shredding a killer solo on an electric guitar. He was just that badass.

7. Vidal Sassoon, who threw down with British fascists in a series of bloody street fights

fashion icon, self care, hair stylist, underground movement

Vidal Sasson photographed in June of 2006.

Image via en:User:DierkA/de:Benutzer:The weaver from Wikimedia Commons.

Yes, that Vidal Sassoon. Only one year after World War II ended in Europe, a group of British fascists, led by Oswald Moseley, attempted to rebuild their political movement by spreading fear of "aliens" — code for refugee Jews living in the U.K.

The famous hair stylist, then a teenager, was part of an underground movement of British ex-service members who grabbed knives and razor blades and punched, kicked, and slashed Moseley's thugs on the streets of East London until they gave up and crawled back down the hole they slithered out of.

Really.

That Vidal Sassoon brand shampoo that's been sitting, half-full, in your downstairs shower? That's right. That's the shampoo of justice.

8. Gertrude Boyarski, who literally burned a bridge between Nazi soldiers and the food they needed

"I want to fight and take revenge for my whole family" would not be a totally out-of-place thing for Liam Neeson to say at the beginning of a film where he teams up with a wolf to kill the man who ran over his aunt with a train. Instead, those words came from the lips of Boyarski, who actually spoke them to a Russian commander after her parents and siblings were killed by German soldiers in the Polish woods.

With vengeance on her mind, Boyarski teamed up with the Soviet partisans to create as much Nazi pain and misery as humanly possible for the next few years. According to the former partisan, she and a comrade personally set fire to a bridge used by Germans to transport food and supplies, were discovered, and subsequently were shot at.

When the bridge failed to burn fast enough, they tore parts of the flaming bridge apart with their bare hands while Hitler's troops tried in vain to machine gun them in the face.

So, um.

How many Nazi bridges has your grandma burned down? (Seriously, we should get our grandmothers together and ask them.)

While our ancestors did a heckuva job sticking it to fascism, when the last candle burns down this year, there will still be more fight to be fought.

Want to join up?

You can donate some of that Hanukkah gelt to the ACLU, Immigration Rescue Committee, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Anti-Defamation League.

Unfortunately, they don't accept tube socks, so you're stuck with those.


Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.




Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Family

Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi




Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.


“When I heard about Levi, without hesitation, I said we should take him,” Christie said, according to The Daily Mail, and her reason went far beyond the fact that the child was the half-brother to two of her recently adopted children. “I myself was a foster kid and, although for the most part, I had a great experience, I did not want him going to foster care,” Christie said.

@cjthemom5

Replying to @Journey♥️ Yes, they will always know of her and ill be there for every emotion good or bad. But im also mom, ive been to every game, every doctors appt, sat with them if they needed an ear loved unconditional . I am mom also. #adoption #srorytime #siblings #foryou #loveislove

Before the family knew of Levi’s birth, Christie had a recurring dream about a blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy.

"Before Levi, we had wanted to try to have a child of our own," she told Newsweek. "I'm in my forties, so we knew that we would probably need fertility treatment, so I thought let's just think about it and what will be will be."

The problem was that Levi was in Texas, so the family sold their house and moved to the Lone Star State to go through the arduous adoption process. The situation was further complicated because Levi’s biological father had parental rights even though he had substance abuse problems. The family couldn’t move out of Texas until his rights were legally terminated.

But after a 16-month process, in January 2023, Levi became a legal family member. Christie understands that adopting her husband’s ex-wife’s baby may seem unusual to some people. "It's a lot to process for a lot of people, but honestly, it seems a lot crazier than it was. At the time, it just made sense," she said.

@cjthemom5

Our adoption is official !!! after 17 months!!! #adoption #son #loveyou #ourstory#foryou #fyp

Even though Christie knew in her heart that she must adopt Levi, she wasn’t without reservations. “'If I said I did not [have concerns beforehand], that would not be honest,” she told The Daily Mail. “This was different—I was going to walk into a child I never met and was worried the circumstances would hinder this instant love. But [...] he stole my heart. I also felt this intense need to protect him.”

These days, Levi fits right in with the family, and the rest of the kids are happy to be back to living an everyday life without any caseworkers or inspections.

“He's great, he is the king of the house! We are all very close. He won't understand the journey right now, but someday, I will let him know we fought for him!” Christie said.


This article originally appeared on 8.31.23

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."



“We did find a little gem from Freddie, that we’d kind of forgotten about,” Taylor said in June, according to the BBC. "It's wonderful, a real discovery. It's a very passionate piece."


That "little gem" is a four-minute ballad called "Face It Alone." Queen released a lyric video of the song on its YouTube channel, and it's bringing fans to tears.

The lyrics are particularly heart-wrenching, considering the timing of the song's recording. Mercury was reportedly diagnosed with HIV in 1987, though kept it a secret from the public and even from many who worked closely with him until shortly before his death.

Comments have poured in from around the world in multiple languages, and the sentiment is universal—people are deeply moved.

"Over 3 million views in one day. To hear Freddie's voice again is so special. You live forever, darling. The song is heart breaking but then again, Queen's songs are from the heart and that can never go wrong. Thank you to all who made it happen." – sweet pea

"One day Freddie said: 'I won't be a star,I will be a Legend'And yes we all agree, he STILL REMAINS A LEGEND even after 31 years after his death. AMAZING." – Gloria Sousa

"Freddie’s vocal is killing me same today as 20 years ago. Thank You Queen for this amazing gift after so many years. We love You." – Adrian Kufel

"What to say?? A great magnificent surprise. All I know is that I cried the moment I heard this voice, these words.... Only Freddie. Love this man for eternity.. It seems as if he returned briefly to us!! To send us a message... What a beautiful present for all his fans, for this generation that has had the impact of the pandemic, this strange war, these strange times. So happy and touched to hear this now. Thank you Queen... Thank you Freddie forever !!!" – Fern 19671

"So great to see all the Freddie and Queen fans here today celebrating this song and Freddie's amazing voice. I love how much Freddie is still treasured. I remember the day he passed away, how I cried. It's like a gift to get this new song and have his song playing loud throughout the house today. We all love you dear Freddie." - Sarah-Louise ASMR

Mercury was truly a legend in his own time, and hearing his voice anew almost makes it feel like he's time-traveled to the here and now. What a lovely gift for Queen fans everywhere.


This article originally appeared on 10.14.22

Heinz starts an argument by declaring ketchup goes in the fridge

People feel very strongly about their condiments. No matter what condiment there is someone either loves it or hates it but one of the biggest debates on the food toppers is how to store them. Yeah, that might sound a bit strange because everyone knows open condiments are stored in the pantry, unless its hot sauce, right? Whoa, calm down. I'm only kidding. I don't make the rules Heinz does, apparently.

They do make the condiments so it would be assumed that we would look to them to know how to store the products they make. But the people of Twitter are daring to argue with Heinz after the condiment giant posted a controversial tweet that declared ketchup does in fact belong in the fridge. This bold tweet is dividing the internet.

"Heinz don't even know where their product should be stored," one person declared. While another claimed, "Never, ever has it gone in my fridge, nor anybody else's." Who's going to tell these people to read the back of the bottle?


It wasn't Heinz but some hero came with receipts in the form of a photo of the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle that clearly reads, "refrigerate after opening." You would think this would end the debate but people are very invested in being right about the way they store their condiments with wide ranging arguments.

People made points about cold ketchup making their food cold and restaurants keeping ketchup on the tables. While others argued that it tastes better cold but if you thought Heinz was done antagonizing the internet, you'd be mistaken. They responded to several comments with sassy humor while still asserting the tomato based condiment belongs in the refrigerator.

Someone named Dave asked, "so why is it on the shelves in supermarkets & shops then?" To which Heinz replied, "Where do you keep your soft drinks, Dave?"

I mean, Heinz does have a valid point. Most soft drinks are kept on the shelf in the grocery store but you wouldn't catch many people drinking a warm can of Coke. But that logic didn't stop team ketchup belongs in cabinets. A person named Mike responded to the thread with his thoughts on Heinz bringing soft drinks into the conversation.

"I'm not pouring my soft drinks on hot food. Cold ketchup nullifies hot food which some of us like better than cold food. Get your preservative cookbook out and make the stuff safe to keep in the cupboard."

In an attempt to either continue to antagonize the internet or quell the chaos (it's hard to tell which), Heinz created a poll asking where ketchup belongs. Currently the Fridge has the cupboard beat by a pretty decent lead but with as heated as this debate has been, there may be room for team cupboard to catch up. Even if they're wrong. There's no right and wrong in where to store your ketchup as long as you don't read the label.

Maybe you're someone who likes to keep a bottle in their sock drawer for emergency late night snacks, who knows. Tell us, where do you keep your ketchup?


This article originally appeared on 6.30.23

US family gets the sweetest note from their neighbor in Japan.

The way we come across long-lasting friendships is often unexpected. But when you're part of a military family. You learn to grab hold of the good people you meet and carry those friendships across states and oceans. You mark your friendships based off of what base you were stationed at when you met them and know those friendships can withstand just about anything because they've been tried.

So for an American family stationed in Japan, there was no doubt at least one lifelong friendship would be made. It just may have been surprising that the friend wasn't affiliated with the military. Instead, the friend was an older Japanese man who didn't speak English and lived next door to the young family in Yokosuka, Japan.

But this isn't the first time this unique story went viral. In 2013, Reddit user Theresa52 posted a picture of a note that she received from her neighbor-turned-friend. People loved the letter and sweet story attached. Theresa explained that after moving to their new neighborhood in Japan, she and her husband passed out beer and chocolate to their neighbors. A few hours later, they met, Hiroshi Yamashita, their new neighbor and one of the recipients of their gift.


When Yamashita knocked on the family's door, he presented them with gifts of his own—toilet paper, stuffed animals and a note. In the thread Theresa noted, "Things that are consumable and household necessities are popular gifts. We have heard lots of stories about people getting laundry soap," after someone asked if toilet paper was a common housewarming gift in Japan. The stuffed animals were for their infant daughter at the time.

Reddit; viral note; American family; Japanese neighbor; kindness

Letter on lined paper

i.imgur.com

But the note is what keeps going viral. It starts out, "I can’t speak English. Thank you for the present. My name is Hiroshi Yamashita. I’m 52 years old. [I’m divorced] and I live alone.” Since Yamashita didn't speak English, the note had some spots that were difficult to understand but the intent was clearly pure.

Theresa wrote in the comments of the post that it appeared that he was asking if her husband was in the Navy. While the sentences are out of order a bit, if you reorganize them a little, it seems Yamashita is attempting to say, "I have stuffed animals and toilet paper. You can use it if you'd like."

The man concludes the letter with "Thank you for your friend operation." It seemed that he was thanking the family for their hospitality, but Reddit users surmised that he was referring to Operation Friendship in 2011 when the United States aided Japan after an earthquake. Either way, it was still friendship operation because what says friendship like taking time out of your day to write in a language you don't speak just to make sure your neighbors feel welcomed?

“It was adorable! We had brought him a six pack and some chocolate and tried to introduce ourselves to him. A couple hours later he brought over this letter with a pack of toilet paper and some stuffed animals for our daughter," Theresa wrote in the comments while joking that their initial introduction probably amused Yamashita.

Further explaining within comment threads, Theresa said that they used pointing and Google Translate when they initially met Yamashita, and in turn, he used a translator app to write the note.

Reddit; viral note; American family; Japanese neighbor; kindness

Theresa's infant daughter with large stuffed pink Minnie Mouse

i.imgur.com

Theresa shared an update in the comments about six years after the story originally went viral saying, “We all exchanged gifts and food regularly for the four years I lived there. We would go to neighborhood festivals and have dinners together as well. I miss them all and think about them often."

You never know when being kind will turn into a life long friendship. We certainly hope Yamashita and Theresa are doing just as well today and are continuing to spread their kindness around.


This article originally appeared on 2.23.23