Muslim women marched in yarmulkes as part of a spectacular display of unity.

Incidents of anti-Semitism have been on the rise in Germany.

Things have gotten so bad that — after a recent crime targeting two men because of their religious clothing — the head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany warned Jewish people against wearing a kippa (skullcap).

Far-right groups have tried to shift the blame for these crimes to Muslim immigrants.

The tensions between Muslim and Jewish peoples is a story nearly as old as time itself. Far-right groups in Germany have tried to capitalize on this stereotype by blaming the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes on Muslims.


But these crimes are not being carried out by Muslims against Jews.

A report from Germany's Interior Ministry shows that the exact opposite is true: 1,381 of the 1,468 reported anti-Semitic crimes in 2016 were in fact carried out by the same far-right groups trying to stir tension between the two communities of faith.

"They try to use the 'We stand with the Jews so we can't be racist, we're not anti-Semitic' line, which is of course what they are." said Dalia Grinfeld, president of the Jewish Student Union of Germany.

Instead of living in fear, people in Germany organized "Kippa March" rallies to show their support for Jewish people.

Thousands of people turned out in Berlin for the event. And among those marching were many Muslims, including women who bravely donned kippa in a stunning display of solidarity.

The display of unity was inspiring and potentially transformative.

This wasn't even the first recent unity act between the Muslim and Jewish communities, who held a bike ride in March to show their support and solidarity.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images

One recent attack showed how horrific and indiscriminate hate crimes can be. A young man attacked in Germany wasn't even Jewish. An Israeli of Arab descent, he'd worn the kippa to highlight the risks Jewish people are currently facing in Germany.

The responses from people of all different backgrounds in Germany has been a loving display of unity. One German newspaper even made a cut out kippa for people to wear to the marches.

Tension between people of different faiths seems to grab all the attention. But it's good to be reminded that there's love in the world .

With far-right groups getting more attention in America and across Europe, it's easy to focus on what's wrong in the world today.

And the very real threat of violence against marginalized groups should never be ignored.

But in moments of fear and hate, we're reminded that compassion and solidarity are a far greater force for good that easily eclipses whatever challenges we face.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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