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Elon Glickman knew something wasn't right while on his tour of Israel.

On July 18, Glickman and a handful of young Jewish Americans were participating in a guided heritage tour sponsored by an organization called Birthright Israel. As part of the tour, they were given maps — but those maps were alarming to Glickman: They had erased Palestine completely.

Glickman asked the guide why Gaza and the West Bank — both Palestinian territories — were missing from the map. The guide said the state of Israel believes those areas are part of Israel.


But that didn't sit right with Glickman.

"It’s not fair," Glickman said to the guide, as shown in a video of the encounter. "The people who live [in Palestine] can’t vote, they’re under military occupation, their water is being controlled by someone else, and they can’t get access to it. And their lives are like a living hell because they can’t even see their families in Jerusalem … the roads are constantly controlled, they have to go through all these checkpoints."

As Glickman and the others found out, Birthright Israel doesn't allow participants to visit Palestinian land or openly discuss their occupation. This refusal to acknowledge or expose the harsh realities of Palestinians living under occupation is a problem Glickman felt he had to give voice to: "It feels like the equivalent of going to the Jim Crow South during segregation and not talking about segregation."

After speaking out, he and seven others chose to walk off their tour and instead meet and learn from Palestinian families facing eviction.

There's no getting around it: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a polarizing issue.

While the Holy Land is significant to the three Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), thousands of years of violent conflict has raised the question of who is the rightful owner of the land. In 1967, Israel gained control and occupied Palestinian land. Since then, Israel has built more than 500,000 illegal settlements and forced 7 million Palestinians to flee their homes.

In order to strengthen the connection between the Jewish identity and Israel, Birthright Israel offers free trips to young Jewish people worldwide. But a sizable portion of Birthright Israel's funding comes from the Israeli government with substantial donations coming from private donors, like Sheldon Adelson, an American casino magnate and an influential right-wing financier.

But as young Jewish people are discovering, these Birthright tours aren't painting a complete picture. Essentially, they're erasing Palestinians altogether.

Glickman's group in July is not the only example of young Jewish people taking a stand on the occupation of Palestine.

On June 28, five Birthright participants walked off their trips to meet with Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation group of former IDF soldiers, and then they went to Hebron to meet with Palestinian families living under occupation. They live-streamed their encounters.

Birthright has refused to show us the truth about the occupation’s impact on Palestinians, instead asking us to visit a site operated by a far-right settlement organization. We’ve decided instead to go meet with the Sumarin family, a family that has lived in East Jerusalem under threat of eviction for years to learn from them and hear their story.

Posted by Hal Rose on Sunday, July 15, 2018

IfNotNow, an American Jewish progressive group, launched a campaign this summer called #NotJustAFreeTrip. The campaign encourages young Jewish Americans on their Birthright Israel tours to demand that the group educate participants on the occupation of Palestine. In addition to having participants walk off the tours, IfNotNow activists hand out educational materials about the occupation to people heading on Birthright Israel trips.

"Our generation will no longer allow ourselves to be manipulated by right-wing donors and the radical Israeli government who tell us a story about Israel and Judaism that legitimizes, justifies, or simply ignores the Occupation," the campaign website read. "We demand the truth."

But walking off trips and speaking out against occupation does come at a cost — quite literally.

Participants who protested have reported that they lost their deposits for the trip and had their flights back home canceled.

In response, IfNotNow has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help finance these costs. Some of the proceeds will also go to help Palestinian families in the West Bank and Jerusalem. At the time of this post, they'd raised over $15,000.

And while the money certainly helps, the most impactful thing these Jewish Americans have done is set a powerful example: We must stand against any forms injustice, even if we're its benefactors.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

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Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)

So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.

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