An open letter following Christchurch

An Open Letter Regarding Christchurch Mosque

Reflections, Emotions, Moving forward

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I remember the news on that morning of October 28th, 2018. I spent the day reading the news in fear and disbelief. Other people who were Jewish had been slaughtered simply for being Jewish in their own place of worship. I remember the security increases, the active shooter training, the terror, how could I explain this to my students at religious school if they asked questions. I remember being afraid, not of being Jewish, but of being open about my own religion.

But I also remember the vigils and the rallying cry from a bright and strong community, from our Muslim brothers and sisters. They raised money and came to our services, they offered us their time and love and protection. This unconditional love and support we felt from the Muslim community, not just where I live but around the world, truly helped us to heal and adjust to life after such tragedy.

I remember when I heard the news about the Christchurch Mosque shooting in New Zealand. The Muslim community was shaken at the loss of 50 of their brothers and sisters as well as countless others who were injured. By a man who wanted nothing more than to harm Muslims simply for praying and following their own religion. The pain and this fear are so hard to comprehend. I wish it was impossible for us all to grasp this kind of pain. However, we live in a world where people who are different are people who are feared and targeted. Minorities face scrutiny for existence no matter where in the world they may be.

The Muslim community offered us their hands and their hearts as we mourned and tried to protect ourselves from the rise of anti-semitism. Now, we must offer the same. There are so many ways to protect ourselves from attacks such as these, from tragedies and hatred. Many of them rely on education and outreach that only works if the world is opening to learning and growing. And until that day comes, we have each other. I cried for my brothers and sisters who are affected by this tragedy and me for those who died inside the walls of my temple.

The New Zealand government rushed to create stricter gun laws to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. I wish I could say the same for the United States after each of the mass shootings which happen here. But this does not take away from the hole this loss will have left behind. Nothing can make up for what happened.

The best thing to do, what I wish the world did after the Tree of Life shooting in October, is to learn about your neighbor. The three Abrahamic religions are all commanded to love thy neighbor as yourself. Yet we live in a world where actions like this happen every day and are even praised by certain people and certain groups. We cannot truly love each other without understanding each other. Let us take this time to do what needs to be done, to push for a new era of acceptance through understanding, not simply through coexisting.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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How Incorporating Organization In My Daily Routine Single-Handedly Changed My Life

And how it can structure yours.

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It would be a complete fabrication of the truth if I pretended that my life in any way has been picture perfect. Things are messy, life is messy, and my life becomes an endless cycle of self provoked destruction.

I've had short bursts of motivation as a last expedient to seize control of the downward spiral I have endured. But mostly they have diminished along with any motivation I have left.

None of these short term solutions have yet to salvage my mental, physical, and academic state. SO, as an attempt to overhaul my life, I decided the best way to strive for control, is to organize every aspect of my life.

Yes, this could become unhealthy if I used this tactic as a way to tear myself down or over analyze my accomplishments, or lack thereof. But I try to view my life as something I have a say in while considering that not everything will be perfect or completely satisfy my goals for myself.

To successfully enact this measure, I try to never go into a day unaware of what I must accomplish, what tasks/work I have to attend to, and stocked with a full calendar and set of alarms that prevent me from missing deadlines. Although mildly time-consuming to detail my life in advance, it is greatly beneficially outweighed through the amount of time this tactic saves me.

Recently, I have noticed how much happier I have been, and feel as if my life is back on track and it's future in my hands. This has allowed me to work an upwards of 50 something hours a week, see and manage friends, read and keep up with hobbies, as well as give me peace of mind and time to relax with loved ones.

I am grateful for the role that organization has played in my life and suggest that everyone incorporate some type of underlying structure in their lives, to realize that anything is achievable with proper organizational preparation.


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