News from the Week of October 28th

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In response to last weekend’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, a Muslim American group raised more than $125,000 through an online crowdfunding campaign to help the families of victims. "We’re really hoping to help the community that’s suffering," said Tarek El-Messidi, the group’s founding director. “We’re hoping to inspire more interfaith collaboration and peace.”

Reflecting on the tragedy, Rob Levinson writes in War on the Rocks: “That people are no longer safe in a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a church in South Carolina or a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, or a mosque in Minnesota does not just threaten the people in these houses of worship but threatens that very core principle that is one of the things that makes America that truly exceptional nation. Putting up walls and arming guards is an admission of defeat. It says that there are too many in America who do not believe in religious freedom after all.”

Many Americans are wondering: How do we prevent this from happening again? Which begs the larger question, how do we heal the tribal divisions in our country? In the Salt Lake Tribune, Nate Bagley writes: “As we grow more divided, members of other political, religious or cultural tribes become more mysterious to us. That mystery generates more fear and division, launching us into a destructive cycle that curbs cooperation and breeds misunderstanding and violence. The cure for tribalism is individual responsibility. You are responsible for yourself, for your family and for your community."

Out of Arizona, a story of friendship and falafel: Eric Jackson served in the Army, with two tours in Iraq. Today he serves in the Army Air National Guard. Samuel Pataq is an Iraqi immigrant turned real estate investor. The two became fast friends in an unlikely place—a concealed carry course in Arizona, where Samuel thanked Eric for protecting his hometown. "These are people who went over there to protect the people and promote democracy. We really appreciate that,” Samuel said.

In 1988, facing state-level persecution and antisemitism in Uzbekistan, Al Goldstein and his family were accepted into the United States as refugees. Today, in their new home in Chicago, Goldstein is a self-made multimillionaire and co-founder and CEO of Avant. Forbes recently asked him how he has been so successful: “I think the difference has been the ability to grow up in the U.S. and choose your destiny,” Goldstein says. “I think America is the best place in the world because you have the freedom to achieve whatever goals you want.”