Tanenbaum.org https://tanenbaum.org Combating Religious Prejudice Thu, 14 Feb 2019 19:25:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Happy Lunar New Year! What You Should Know! https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/02/happy-lunar-new-year-what-you-should-know/ Mon, 04 Feb 2019 15:35:05 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15995 With Lunar New Year just around the corner, Tanenbaum would like to share its newest Holiday Fact Sheet!  The 2019 Lunar New Year will begin tomorrow, February 5th. Also known as the Spring Festival, the holiday is celebrated across Asia, beginning with the first new moon of the lunar calendar.  Celebrations conclude 15 days later with the arrival of the full moon.   

Though individual traditions vary, employees observing this holiday may require time off to travel, prepare, and celebrate with family and friends.  Companies should also be cognizant of the holiday’s business implications as companies across Asia may close for up to three weeks.

Learn more about the holiday by checking out Tanenbaum’s Lunar New Year Fact Sheet.

How We Show Up At Work and Make Room for Difference https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/01/mark-fowler/ Tue, 29 Jan 2019 21:31:55 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15967

Tanenbaum Deputy CEO, Mark Fowler

Dear Friends,

I recently was profiled by Lower Manhattan HeadQuarters (LMHQ) in their monthly Q+A segment about all things Tanenbaum and all things me. As Deputy-CEO for Tanenbaum I am tasked with overseeing all of Tanenbaum’s program areas, along with fund development and communications. But the longest section of my early career began in public education and working with at-risk youth. I’m also an ordained interfaith/interspiritual minister and graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City, a journey I embarked on while working at Tanenbaum.

These experiences and others, affect how I show up at work daily. Now that I’m in a position of leadership, I try to be very aware that we have to be willing to accommodate the whole person at work. My experiences continue to inform and help me work to create an environment where people feel cared for, respected, and a part of the team. A place where a person’s truth can be told.

I invite you to watch the full interview now and let us know what you think.

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

A Path Forward: Confronting Hate in America https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/01/a-path-forward/ Mon, 28 Jan 2019 15:33:16 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15951

Ken Parker, prior to leaving the KKK and NSM.

Knowing anti-Semitism is on the rise again. Seeing what happened in Charlottesville, then Pittsburg. Hearing the chants, “Jews will not replace us.” In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we have to ask the hard question.

Are there some people—bigots and extremists—who are so extreme, they just can’t change?  Our answer, “NO!”

Support for this can be found in Deeyah Kahn’s beautiful, courageous and heart-wrenching Netflix documentary White Right: Meeting the Enemy. In the film, on the Unite the Right rally and the white nationalists who participated, Kahn introduces us to white supremacist leader and Born Again Christian, Ken Parker. At that time, he was active in the Nationalist Socialist Movement (NSM) and a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). 

Ken hands over his Grand Dragon robe to race relations expert Daryl Davis

The film captures what Ken had to say during the 2017 rally

Jews and homosexuals, they should be exterminated, every single one of them.” 

I absolutely despise Jews, so yes I’m a racist.”

“I will never break bread with a Jew! Ever.”

Today it’s different. Ken is now a “former.” He retired from the NSM and the KKK and denounces hate groups. Part of his evolution included a process of reconciliation, and Ken reaching out to the very people who he used to vilify.

Ken Parker with Jewish Holocaust Educator, Tamara Meyer

Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign partnered with Arno Michaelis, a former leader in the skinhead movement and now a peacebuilder, who pushed Ken to meet his first Jew—something he vowed never to do.

Arno introduced Ken to Tamara Meyer, a Jewish Holocaust Educator, and to race relations expert Daryl Davis, and videotaped Ken “break bread with a Jew.”  And now, in partnership with Arno, we are proud to present what happened.

A Path Forward: Confronting Hate in America, affirms that a powerful way to move forward through hate is with empathy, understanding and respect. Take a look. And let us know what you think.

Paradigm Shifters in Armed Conflict https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/01/paradigm-shifters-in-armed-conflict/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:24:55 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15917 Notwithstanding unprecedented challenges, Tanenbaum’s Peacemakers in Action Network is busy on the frontlines strengthening communities & confronting armed conflicts every day.

Tanenbaum CEO, Joyce Dubensky & staff recently published a groundbreaking piece in the Journal of Interreligious Studies (JIRS) in partnership with Harvard Divinity School’s Religions and the Practice of Peace Colloquium. Their article, Building Peace Through Trans-local Community and Collaboration: The Tanenbaum Peacemakers in Action Network, explores the Network’s 32 religiously motivated Peacemakers and their work in conflict zones across the globe.

The piece shares how Tanenbaum Peacemakers organically built a Network, how they structured it, and how it has evolved. From a loose group of allies, our Peacemakers now work together and collaborate in conflicts through Tanenbaum-facilitated “interventions”.

Peacemaker Hind Kabawat’s story, alongside other Peacemaker stories, is woven throughout to illustrate how the Network serves as an effective model for structuring peace vis-a-vis peacebuilding writ large.

Want to understand more about what a Peacemakers Network really can be? Read the full article here.

MLK’s Legacy of Faith and Nonviolence https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/01/mlk/ Wed, 09 Jan 2019 14:30:02 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15903

Friends –

In 2018, we saw communities that refused to let hate divide them. We saw the resilience of faith communities, as they supported refugees and survivors of violence and hate crimes. They remind us of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—a man who staked his life on preaching nonviolence.

Across faith traditions and within sacred texts, we find guidance on dealing with conflict including the doctrine of nonviolence. It stands out, as the method chosen by many of our most effective, faith-driven changemakers. Like Dr. King, who always believed that religion can and should be a voice of peace.

Today we share with you our latest Combating Extremism resources and ask you to join us in honoring Dr. King by considering his thoughts on and commitment to nonviolence. Grounded in heart and mind, Martin Luther King’s nonviolence remains a weapon of choice we can still use today:

Hate and violence hold no answers for us,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

A Tanenbaum Gift – Inspired New Year’s Resolutions https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2019/01/resolutions/ Tue, 01 Jan 2019 16:21:03 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15846

Dear Friends,

However you felt about 2018, today we greet a New Year. At Tanenbaum, we welcome 2019 by pausing to reflect on our New Year’s Resolutions, which draw from many religious and faith traditions. They inspire us. 

And so we share them with you—in the hope that they move you as well,

Joyce Dubensky,
CEO, Tanenbaum

SHARED VISIONS (Click to download PDF)

To Be Open Minded and Kind
Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.  
Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Bishárát

To Express Love
Radiate boundless love towards the entire world.  Buddha

To Embrace Trust by Rejecting Fear
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.  Isaiah 12:2

To Speak Truth
Truth cannot be suppressed and always is the ultimate victor.  Yajur Veda

To Practice the Best within Our Traditions
A man once asked the Prophet what was the best thing in Islam, and the latter replied, “It is to feed the hungry and to give the greeting of peace both to those one knows and to those one does not know.”  Hadith of Bukhari

To Manifest Nonviolence
Subvert anger by forgiveness.  Samanasuttan 136

To Educate Ourselves and Others by Confronting Fake News Head-On
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. Proverbs 18:15

To Honor Earth
Native American Wisdom:
When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard.  Lakota Proverb

To Create Community
Regard heaven as your father, earth as your mother, and all things as your brothers and sisters.  Oracle of the Kami of Atsuta

To Listen Deeply and Understand Others
To act without understanding is to lose the treasure of this human life.  Sri Guru Granth Sahib

To Be Grateful- Always!
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.  Lao Tzu

Photo credit: Tanenbaum Peacemaker Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghan Institute of Learning 

This Is Personal – Tanenbaum CEO, Joyce Dubensky’s Reflections on 2018 https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2018/12/this-is-personal-tanenbaum-ceo-joyce-dubenskys-reflections-on-2018/ Mon, 31 Dec 2018 13:30:11 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15834 Friends,

For the past several years, I’ve taken time at year-end to reach out to some of the people who matter to me and with whom I haven’t been in touch. It’s become a kind of personal tradition. I don’t send cards or letters reflecting on the year’s events—rather, I write an email to some of the people in my life. It’s a way that I spend an afternoon, just before the New Year arrives.

This year, though, I realized that I also wanted to share a thought with each of you, as members of Tanenbaum’s community. For months now, I’ve been thinking about what I call the numbing of America. And in recent weeks, I’ve heard public figures ranting about this dulling down of our sensibilities. They blame it on the people who disagree with their views, and on the insistent headlines, incessant social media posts, disconcerting daily news, divisiveness, violence and outright tragedies.

Whatever the cause, the bottom line is that we’re facing a crisis in compassion. It sometimes feels that our ability—that my ability—to experience compassion, empathy and react to injustice is being blunted. And while this is deeply troubling, what I also realized today, is that my annual practice of pausing to send a caring message to some people dear to me, is an antidote for this numbness.

That’s why I invite each of you to pause for a moment as we approach 2019, and to think of someone who has touched you, shown you a kindness or moved you in some way. Then, consider reaching out—just to say hello or thank you. For me, this works as a way of remembering our shared humanity. And by remembering why caring, respecting and fighting the numbness matters, I re-claim my clarity to envision justice and the motivation to keep pursuing it.

I hope each of you find meaning in this New Year.


This article was originally posted on Medium.

Women Ending Wars That Men Have Started – Guest post by Hind Kabawat https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2018/12/women-ending-wars-that-men-have-started-guest-post-by-hind-kabawat/ Tue, 18 Dec 2018 17:02:25 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15819 Yasmine, a beautiful young Yemeni girl hugged me before I left Brussels this morning and told me with tears in her eyes, “I hope we meet again – You never know.” Perhaps one day we will meet in Syria or Yemen.

I spent the last few days in Brussels, where the European Union held a high-level dialogue, where Syrian and Yemeni women were able to collaborate with fellow civil society leaders. Yes, we speak the same language; yes, we all love to drink coffee, and give hugs and smile; but behind all this, we all have a broken heart over the war in our countries.  Our destroyed cities and populations live under the poverty level, in orphanages, and have children with no schools.

Yasmine’s passion and inner beauty remind me of thousands of Syrian women I have met during the last seven years of war. Each of them facing all the horrors of war, death, tragedy, and crying over friends. Their family members are in prison, where they do not know if they are alive or dead.

In the two days of meeting, we focused on the role and needs of women, security, mediation, and peacebuilding. We discussed the importance of having women represented and genuinely contributing to the negotiating table, geopolitics, and exchanged ideas on how we can continue to push for an increase of women’s equality in politics.

Each one of the amazing women I met in Brussels is addressing big issues in their community. The concerns we discussed affect not only our needs as women, but that of our whole society. We talked about our inspirations and challenges, and the opportunity to share our dreams of living in a free, democratic country. We concluded that it was imperative to insist on accountability, because without accountability for rule of law, leaders will receive the message that it is okay to kill their own people if the people ever dare to request reform.

Mona from Yemen looked at us and said, “Today is a celebration for Yemen – the peace talks started and there is a light of the end of the tunnel.” Then she said with tears in her eyes, “All that I care about is not seeing any more children dying in Yemen.”  I asked myself why she was not at the negotiating table. If Mona was in Sweden today with her women colleagues, I assure you that the peace agreement would include all oppressed people.

Yes, we talked about issues and challenges, but we also shared our recommendations and success stories in pursuing a political solution to end the wars destroying our homes and our souls.  In Brussels, we were surrounded by empowered women encouraging each other. A European colleague expressed to me how wonderful it was to see that when women get together, important things happen.  

Hind, a colleague who shares the same name, said to me, “Men are good at starting war, but women are the ones who will seek a sustainable, just peace.”  As members of this dialogue, we insisted in all of the side meetings with EU representatives how critical it is to bring the voice of the voiceless to the negotiating table through representation, and passionately requested that the EU keep supporting education for our people. Our reasoning is simple:  A generation without education is the best mechanism for dictatorships to oppress a population.

Yasmine hugged me to say goodbye. I hugged her back and she whispered in my ear, “We shall keep fighting the good fight.” I agreed that the path of freedom is long, but for the sake of her eight-year-old daughter and my twenty-eight-year-old daughter, it is worth the struggle.

This article was published on Medium by Tanenbaum Peacemaker in Action, Hind Kabawat, on December 13, 2018.







Human Rights Are Relevant to All of Us, Every Day https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2018/12/human-rights-are-relevant-to-all-of-us-every-day/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 21:15:13 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15807 Friends —

Human rights are relevant to all of us, every day. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, opens with a complex philosophical statement:

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”

Whatever your opinion is of the UN’s effectiveness, this preamble to an international agreement on human rights matters. Because those human rights are the things we’re all entitled to have — safety, respect and freedom — including freedom to think and believe as we choose without bias, bigotry or oppression.

But these big ideas are not only about governments and policy removed from you and me. In fact, if we want to have human rights, we have to work at it.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, 

“Where, after all, do human rights begin? In small places, close to homeso close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Human rights are your right. They are also each of our responsibility. And when it comes to really helping our neighborhoods preserve human rights, it can start with countering fear and hate of neighbors we have never met, and making sure everyone is welcome and treated with respect. When people take human rights personally, they take them seriously. 

In sum…universal human rights not only anchor global governments and international corporations, but they anchor ordinary people to the value of every human life.

Read the story on Medium.

Five Ways to Conquer Fake News – Combating Extremism https://tanenbaum.org/blog/2018/12/five-ways-to-conquer-fake-news-combating-extremism/ Wed, 05 Dec 2018 19:40:27 +0000 https://tanenbaum.org/?p=15793 Facts are on the chopping block and if you’re not already worried—you should be.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they’re having trouble figuring out what’s real and what’s fake on the internet. Identifying facts is getting harder, especially with the bombardment of information tailored to reinforce our opinions.

The challenge for all of us, as thoughtful consumers of news and social media, is what can we do to keep from falling prey to disinformation? And the answer is, learn five ways to use your brain to conquer fake news. See what I mean in our latest Combating Extremism resource, here.  

To discernment! ]]>