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Here's what happens when a group of Jews and Muslims gathered for the most basic gesture of faith.

What they're doing is common. How they're doing it is exceptional.

Here's what happens when a group of Jews and Muslims gathered for the most basic gesture of faith.

A group of people gathered before sunrise on a beach in Los Angeles. They laid blankets and rugs on the sand, and with the tumble of the ocean at their backs, they joined together to begin a familiar ritual: prayer.

But this wasn't just any prayer group. The small and faithful bunch included both Muslims and Jews. And this was the first of five stops on a citywide "prayer crawl." In the video of this epic gathering, they describe why they came together and what they hoped to accomplish. Take a look:

What was so significant about Muslims and Jews praying together?

For starters, group prayer usually only involves people of the same faith. Then there's the who. This gathering confronts the specific, pervasive narrative of Muslims and Jews not getting along, revealing the possibilities beyond just "getting along" in the process. When these prayer participants were in it for the first time, they found deeper meaning in the experience than they could have imagined.


All images via NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change.

They felt they were a part of something bigger than their own faiths.

They were challenged in unexpected and transformative ways.

"Allahu Akbar" means "god is great," which — surprise — a lot of people believe. Even non-Muslims.

There were "aha" moments.

Some even found what's been missing from their own prayer.

But this wasn't just about bettering themselves. It was about building community to better the world. It was about spreading a message of peace.

And clearly their message resonated with more than that small cohort on the beach.

Just as they hoped, the group grew as the day went on.

And under the glow of the moon, they concluded their prayer expedition with, well, a prayer:

"Grant us courage to walk this righteous path, praying side-by-side and yearning together for peace."

Interfaith alliances aren't anything new, but to see followers of different faiths practicing together is kind of revolutionary.

What if every person of faith were to do the same? How might the world be different? Would it be kinder and capable of more than basic tolerance? Because that's a future worth praying (and fighting) for.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

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The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

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