A restaurant owner's smooth, creamy plan to help end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Let's talk about hummus for a second.

Yes, hummus. The smooth garlicky, lemony spread and dip that's a staple of both Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine.


Mmmmmmmmm. Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images.

Whether a Sabra fan or a Tribe enthusiast or a make-your-own purist, it's hard to find someone who doesn't like the delicious creamy taste of hummus.

Hummus also has a deep cultural significance. It's been bringing people together for centuries.

A group of people sitting around a bowl of hummus is a familiar sight basically anywhere in the world. There's just something about those blended chickpeas that brings people to the table — pita bread and baby carrots in hand — ready to smile and eat.

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.

Kobi Tzafrir, a restaurant proprietor in Israel, knows all about the power of hummus, and he decided to put it to the ultimate test.

He's offering a 50% discount at his restaurant, the Hummus Bar, in Tel Aviv, on any meal shared between a Jew and an Arab. Why?

Here's a bit of background:

For hundreds of years, Arab Muslims and Israeli Jews have been at odds in a tense political and religious conflict. It's so complex and deeply entrenched in both cultures that explaining it would probably take all week. You can actually get a master's degree in it.

The biggest thing you need to know, though, is that this conflict isn't just a quibble. It's a cultural war that has claimed thousands of lives. In fact, recent outbursts of violence are part of what sparked Kobi Tzafrir's idea.

Kobi Tzafrir at the Hummus Bar. Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.

He thought that if he could get people together for a meal, they might realize they're not so different.

After all, pretty much everyone likes hummus.

"If you eat a good hummus, you will feel love from the person who made it," Tzafrir said in an NPR interview. "You don't want to stab him."

Can a dip solve a historic and bloody conflict? Maybe. Maybe not.

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.

The idea is an experiment that has, so far, granted at least 10 pairs of people a discount during the last month. It's a small start, but for Tzafrir, the important thing is demonstrating to his country and the world that things can change.

"We hear a lot of extremists on the news, on Facebook, on TV, and it seems like everything here is very bad," Tzafrir told NPR. "But I wanted to show that everything here is not so bad. Things get out of proportion."

Tzafrir has been getting praise for the idea from people as far as Japan, and he says that business is up by at least 20%.

But does "food diplomacy" even work?

Well, that depends. Have you ever sat down for a meal with someone you disagreed with? Even if you didn't come to an agreement, you probably both shut up for a second to eat, right?

Believe it or not, even that little piece of common ground can be a key factor in changing people's minds.

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.

In 2011, Psychology professor David Desteno wrote about the power of common ground in The Boston Globe:

"One key factor that shapes our judgment is a surprisingly simple one: how much we see the person we’re judging as similar to us. New findings are suggesting that this similarity doesn’t have to involve anything as obvious as being part of the same group or family. It can be something as subtle as wearing similar colored shirts or wristbands. In fact, in a new experiment, my colleague Piercarlo Valdesolo and I have shown that morality can be influenced even by simply tapping your hands in time with someone else’s."

We've already seen food's ability to peacefully cross cultural barriers.

When Thailand and South Korea wanted to improve their standing with other countries around the world, they started with food. Bringing their cuisine to a wider global audience helped people around the world get to know a little bit of their culture and, in turn, improved global relationships.

And remember President Obama's Beer Summit? Or the Wichita Police Department's recent BBQ with Black Lives Matter activists? Sure, these things obviously didn't solve every race problem in America, but bringing people together peacefully is a lot better than yelling, cursing, and killing.

Police Sergeant James Crowley and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. with President Obama and Vice President Biden in 2009. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The Arabs and Jews who sit together at Hummus Bar will probably experience more than just a discounted meal — and that's the point.

At that table in that restaurant ... there will be peace. And there will be hummus.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."