Thanks in Advance
We’re grateful for our gentile of the week, Shay Khatiri, the Iranian-born political refugee who raised more than $1 million for the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh following the Oct. 27 massacre. The Johns Hopkins graduate student describes waking up (hungover) in Washington, D.C., and learning about the attack, and thinking that he might be able to donate a little money to help the congregation. He set up a GoFundMe page, which quickly went viral, and the campaign has so far raised $1.2 million, which will go directly into the synagogue’s bank account. He also tells us about being blacklisted by the Iranian government after signing a 2016 letter urging President Trump to impose sanctions on the country, disappointing his mother by not becoming a doctor, and the asylum trial that awaits him in order for him to stay in the U.S.
And we are triply grateful for our Jewish guest, bestselling author A.J. Jacobs, who returns to the show for the third time! (Don’t miss his first and second visits.) He tells us about his new book, Thanks a Thousand: a Gratitude Journey, in which he finds and thanks every single person responsible for his morning cup of coffee—from the barista at his local coffee shop to the to-go cup lidmakers to the pest control company that services the warehouse where the coffee beans are stored and the coffee farmers in South America. He tells us why gratitude is a deeply Jewish value, and offers some advice on how we can all embrace our Mr. Rogers side instead of our Larry David side.