When a Texas mosque burned down, a local synagogue took in the congregation.

When a Victoria, Texas, mosque burned down under mysterious circumstances on early Jan. 28, 2017, members were distraught.

The fire, which collapsed the building, left the congregants of the Victoria Islamic Center without a place to worship.


That is, at least, until members of a local Jewish congregation showed up at a mosque founder's house with a key to their synagogue.  

"This is sad for everyone in the community and as Jews we especially have to feel for the Muslim community. When a calamity like this happens, we have to stand together," Robert Loeb, the synagogue's president, told Reuters.

Both communities are small — Victoria boasts a few dozen Jewish and about 100 Muslim residents — which synagogue officials said makes sticking together all the more important.

"Everyone knows everybody, I know several members of the mosque, and we felt for them," Loeb said.

Others in the community pitched in as well.

The Victoria Islamic Center, before the fire. Photo by Victoria Islamic Center/Facebook.

A few days after the fire, local high school students rallied in support of the mosque, praying and planting trees. Donations to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for rebuilding have exceeded $1 million.

After an election year that saw an increase in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents, Jewish and Muslim groups have been coming together to support one another.

Back in November, the Islamic Society of North America and the American Jewish Committee joined forces to create the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Committee, with the goal of combatting hateful speech and violence toward members of either faith and pushing for expanded rights for religious and ethnic minorities.

Meanwhile, groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Bend the Arc Jewish Action have been leading protests and petitions against Donald Trump's executive order barring travelers from Muslim nations from entering the United States.

While it's still unclear whether the Texas mosque fire was an act of hate, the synagogue said it had plenty of space to welcome their neighbors.

When terrible things happen to those nearby, the least we can do is find that space in ourselves.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

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Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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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.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

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Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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