Beyond Grief

Friends—

This weekend left no time to grieve. Instead, there was only time for fear. More Americans have died at the hands of white domestic terrorists since 2001 than from any other type of terrorist attack in our country. Men, women and children of every religion, race, nationality, age, gender, ethnicity, sex and class are being gunned down at school, shopping and during prayer. And many of us no longer feel safe.

It’s time to understand the phenomenon that spurs on white terrorism, to recognize the many ways it is fueled (including through social media) and to do something. If you haven’t yet read our overview of White Supremacy, I encourage you to do so now. And when you’re ready to respond, consider our resource 5 Ways to Combat Extremism on Social Media—because we’re all responsible for finding a pathway back to safety and communities where differences are respected.

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

Less Than Three-In-Ten Americans Know Rosh Hashana Is The Jewish New Year

Friends-

Did you know that 8 in 10 Americans correctly answer questions about Christian traditions? But that less than 3 out of 10 Americans are familiar with some basic facts about other religions—including Judaism? (See the Pew Research Center’s new poll: What Americans Know about Religion).
Given the surge in anti-Semitic hate crimes being reported, those statistics are particularly disturbing. We’d like to know what you think about anti-Semitism: what it is, where it shows up and why there’s so much of it.

Please spend just a few minutes and take our short anti-Semitism survey!

With respectful curiosity,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

How Much Do You Know About Anti-Semitism? Take Our Combating Extremism Survey!

Tanenbaum spends a lot of time thinking about anti-Semitism. And one thing that seems pretty clear, is that people don’t always have a clear understanding of anti-Semitism—what it is, how it works and why it matters.

We know that anti-Semitism is real. And while anti-Semitism is often broadly understood as violent hatred of Jews, or hatred that bears the threat of such violence, sometimes anti-Semitism is quieter and just shows up as microaggressions.

So we want to know what you know and think about anti-Semitism. Please tell us by spending a few minutes taking our Combating Extremism short anti-Semitism survey!

We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

 


 

We the People…Tweet

Friends –

To the Founding Fathers, freedom of religion was a cornerstone of American democracy – even before the Bill of Rights was adopted. And we the people means that we get to use our voices to express our faith – including online!

We’re lucky to live in a country where the freedom to express our beliefs is foundational. So today, we’re sharing our Combating Extremism resource for 4th of July Tweeting! Hear our #FoundingFathers and heed their words and commitment to religious diversity, religious freedom and multi-faith respect – still relevant today. And tag us in your tweets!

In patriotism,

Joyce

The Many Faces of Misinformation

Friends –

How do we decide what news to trust? What exactly is fake news? How often does a fake news story mislead you? And how many false facts does it take to discredit a news story? Who’s responsible for the fake news frenzy? And how do we hold each other accountable?

We asked, you answered! Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign wanted to know what our readers thought about fake news and you had a lot to say!

Take a look at the conversations happening around fake news today!

And if you didn’t give us your feedback, please take 5 minutes and tell us what you think. We’re interested!

Listening Is Hard

Friends –

Following an evening of Courageous Conversations, the audience’s key takeaway was the power of listening. Though it sounds simple…it’s anything but. These days, we’ve stopped hearing each other. We talk over one another. We prepare our responses while people are speaking. We don’t even consider listening. It’s the new normal. And it’s contagious.

Former white supremacist, Arno Michaelis and former Muslim supremacist Mubin Shaikh, shared powerful stories of how civil conversations helped pull them out of extremism – conversations we should all be aspiring to have. And Kiran Thadhani described why dialogue works.  

Arno shared that everything he did during his extremist days was designed to cultivate hostility. He deliberately provoked people, and he wanted (and expected) people to react with hostility and even aggression. But when random people treated him with kindness—like a woman behind a counter at McDonald’s—he was rendered powerless.

Mubin discussed how 9/11 disoriented his radical beliefs. And how he went to Syria to deeply study and debate the Qur’an with a Sufi master. Mubin recalls how the Sufi master’s demeanor and approach had the greatest impact on him. He was nice, always very loving, smiling and happy. Through this engagement, Mubin “pulled a 180 and became an adversary of his old extremist self.”

Panelist Kiran Thadhani, from Seeds of Peace, rounded out the discussion by sharing how dialogue helps create change. It’s not a method for winning an argument, but rather one that helps build a foundation for answering today’s burning question, how do we all exist here together?

Together, we unpacked the power of kindness and courage, and how Courageous Conversations, even when we differ and they are uncomfortable, present an opportunity for interrupting extremism and division.

I invite you to watch and then share the evening’s footage, and then consider holding a Courageous Conversation of your own.

With courage,

Joyce

How you choose to react depends on who you—and who we are.

Friends—
 
I am sad—again. Once more, on behalf of Tanenbaum, I send our sympathy to the families of the deceased and injured in Saturday’s Synagogue shooting in California. 
 
I am also troubled. Because the violence isn’t a surprise. Hating others based on their religion is now normalized.  
 
While the reality is that only a minority of individuals take hate to the extreme, with a new attack every week, it doesn’t feel that way. It seems easier to define and castigate other people based on their differences. It takes more for us to see people, acknowledge them, be respectfully curious, and inclusive.
 
Which direction you choose is up to you—and up to all of us. 
 
That’s why Tanenbaum persists through heartbreak and today’s hate-filled realities. That’s why we work to stop daily acts of bigotry, counter extremism, and support our Peacemakers—women and men who stand up to violence in Sri Lanka, Yemen, Indonesia, and Bosnia—people just like you and me.
 
Choosing to engage with people who are different isn’t always an easy choice. Yet, it is a choice we can make. And that includes those of us who already embrace differences, those who are wary, and even those who perpetrate hate.
 
Don’t believe me? Check out this clip on one former white supremacist taking another to his first meeting with a Jewish person. You’ll see that we can reach across differences. 

With sorrow and fierce determination.

Joyce S. Dubensky

CEO, Tanenbaum

Courageous Conversations: Join us April 16 at Brooklyn Law School!

Are there some people you just can’t talk to? Our panelists say, “NO!”
Combating Extremism event on April 16, at Brooklyn Law School. Download the flyer here

Celebrating All Women on International Women’s Day

Parliament of World Religions, “Are Our Stained Glass Ceilings Cracking Yet? Women and Leadership in the World of Interfaith” panel

For well over a century, International Women’s Day has been celebrated annually on March 8. It’s a day that’s not specific to a country, religion or organization — rather, it belongs to all women in every group everywhere.

International Women’s Day is about supporting all women. It’s an opportunity to celebrate women as important contributors to the world and across the world. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge that women are one-half of the potential human capital in any economy, and more than half a billion women have joined the world’s workforce over the past 30 years. And an opportunity to recognize that societies which invest in women and girls, are more responsive, transparent, religiously free, democratic and more capable of countering violent extremism.

Please join me in honoring and empowering all women—including women of faith—by reading and sharing Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign resources on religious women’s courage, compassion and charisma of women across traditions.

We cannot succeed without women and girls. That’s why we should celebrate the contributions of women, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day.

Take Our Fake News Survey!

Friends –

Only a few years ago, news organizations served as gatekeepers for information—choosing what content to amplify and what to omit. Today, things are different and far more complicated. New tools amplify previously unheard voices, and roughly 100 million pieces of information are uploaded onto the internet daily. Some of that information is important, factual, interesting, and reflects critical thinking and opinions. But some is “fake news.”

How to respond to “fake news” is a hot topic, even though there’s no universally agreed upon definition for the phenomenon. And we’d like to hear what you think about it.

Please tell us by spending a few minutes taking Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign’s short fake news survey!