He ditched a tour of Israel after spotting a very flawed map. The story went viral.

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.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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