Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

The Israel-Palestine political dynamic is a particularly interesting case study in combating online hate. The peace process between the governments collapsed due to violence and mistrust. A separation barrier has made Israelis’ daily lives safer, but the pressure on Palestinians continues. Stereotyping of members of each side as violent and duplicitous by the other, including online, is pervasive. De-incitement of both groups, the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as the pro-Israel and pro-Palestine movements in other countries, can reduce the threat of violence. …


Image of Yair Lapid from Carmidjiji and TheCuriousGnome on Wikipedia

On May 5th, Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, received the mandate to put together a government from Israeli President Rivlin. Yesh Atid is the second-largest party in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, with 17 seats. Immediately prior, after the fourth national election in less than two years, Prime Minister and front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu had fallen short of the support needed to put together a government and win reelection.

Lapid’s task is to cobble together a coalition government of left, center-left, and right-wing parties euphemistically called the “government of change.” These disparate groups have little in common beyond…


Photo by Weston MacKinnon on Unsplash

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, the University of Oxford is considering reforms to make its music curriculum less Eurocentric. Proposed changes go well beyond broadening the curriculum from a focus on 19th-century Europe, to be more inclusive of world music. According to the Daily Mail, a document even suggested that teaching musical notation — because of its association with the colonial period — would be harmful to some students. Because of the curriculum’s focus on white European music, the music curriculum would even become optional rather than mandatory.

I remember my own high school music curriculum…


Photo by Liam McGarry on Unsplash

Peter Beinart’s July 2020 call in Jewish Currents for a one-equal-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was heavily criticized for allowing Israel’s electorate to have a non-Jewish majority. However, the alternative advocated by most of Beinart’s opponents — the two-state solution — has major problems of its own. …


Would coffee become forbidden on the Jewish holiday of Passover? Not on Maxwell House’s watch

Photo by Aron Yigin on Unsplash

By the 1930s, about 4.5 million Jews were living in the United States. The American Jewish population had increased almost 20-fold in 50 years. Most of the newly arrived Jews were immigrants from various parts of Eastern Europe, escaping the pogroms and other persecution and hoping for better opportunities in America. Many were quite traditional in their practices.

This sizable new market presented new marketing opportunities. Some of these opportunities related to the spring holiday of Passover or Pesach, a major Jewish festival. Passover, which has the same name as Easter in many languages, is traditionally an eight-day holiday in…


By writing to pen pals as a child, I learned many lessons to apply to the promotional writing I do today

Several letters on a desk with roses placed near them.
Several letters on a desk with roses placed near them.
Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

My old pen pals’ letters still sit in my childhood home. I wrote to many people, on and off, some for months or years. I wrote so many letters over the course of my childhood, two drawers are filled with them. Many of them are still sorted by person, by time period, by location in the world, and by how I found the pen pal.

Pen Pals Taught Me Responsibility and Follow-Through

My first pen pal, at five years old, was a much older boy I had met on a family vacation to Toronto. He was drawing an Allosaurus at the Royal Ontario Museum, and I marveled…


Photo by Alfons Morales on Unsplash

I’m a former homeschooler. I was homeschooled in the early and mid-1990s, from grades four through eight, which gives you an idea that I’ve lived through the growth of the Internet and am now entering middle age. I was homeschooled because I was several grades ahead of the standard curriculum, depending on the subject, and it would not be until high school that I could take advantage of the magnet schools my city had.

Homeschooling had been legal in the U.S. for a few decades before I did it. It had grown in popularity, and the news articles from then…


Thank you for sharing this! Congratulations on seeing a light in this long tunnel. Where do you tend to publish, may I ask? Obviously here, but any other suggestions of places to write for? That might be a good article if you don't have it already.


Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash

In the past year, nearly 80 million people — or 1 percent of the world’s population — qualified as refugees or as internally displaced, according to the United Nations. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this number increased by 9 million in the past year and has doubled from a decade ago. With population growth and environmental destruction, the number and proportion of refugees may increase even more.

The greatest numbers of refugees are Syrians, Venezuelans, Afghans, South Sudanese, and Rohingya. Contrary to the stereotype that they are looking to live in the West, three-quarters will seek asylum in neighboring countries. …


Experts in many fields are at your fingertips, ready to give you personalized answers. Here’s how to find them.

A big, glowing question mark in a dark room.
A big, glowing question mark in a dark room.
Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

If you can’t find the answer to a question you have, don’t despair. The internet is your friend. One type of site that is still underused, even years after they’ve been created, is the question-answering site. Several good question-answering platforms exist.

Quora

Quora was founded in 2009. Its goal is to contain all the world’s questions. It’s full of personal stories and essays with experts’ thinking and advice. Although many people have created accounts, not everyone knows how to use the site.

Joining Quora and accessing all content is free. Log in with the type of social media you’re most comfortable…

Rebecca Sealfon

Former software engineer at Google, U.S. National Spelling Bee champion, and synesthete, based in New York, NY. Loves books, liberal Judaism, and nature.

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