Author: Sally Kohn

Why Don’t We Trust the Institutions We Create?

In June of 2017, the Gallup organization conducted its “CONFIDENCE IN INSTITUTIONS” poll, which it has been conducting pretty much every year since 1973. And this year, despite what you might expect would be some sort of pre-apocalyptic low water mark in America’s trust in institutions, our trust in general went up. Specifically, it went up 3 percent. The poll measures confidence in 14 major public institutions — from public schools to banks to labor unions to the Supreme Court to police to big business to small business to newspapers to television news to churches to the military to the medical system and, yes, measuring trust in Congress and the presidency as well. The fine people at Gallup found that in 2016 just 32 percent of the American people on average said they trusted these institutions. A year later — this is THIS YEAR — we now trust these institutions 3 percent more or a WHOPPING 35 percent. Now, you may be thinking — as I was when I encountered this data — that WHOA, that 35 percent …

My Grandfather Gave My Girlfriend $2 — Here’s Why That’s Important

My grandfather’s name was Sam. He was my father’s father and spent his adult life first as a traveling salesman and then running a grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska, where my grandfather and his family were among the small crop of Jews in town. In my mind, this is what made my grandfather extra Jewish — the sense of belonging to a tiny tribe wandering within a wide desert of Christianity. Whatever the reason, when my grandparents found out I was dating a woman their first question was, “Is she Jewish?” Sam had a tradition of giving a $2 bill to every one of his children and grandchildren. Spouses included. The idea was to keep the $2 bill in your wallet in case of emergencies. And then if you ever needed to spend it, you would write a letter to Sam explaining the reason why you had to use the bill and he would issue you a new one. I remember stories about one cousin using her $2 bill at a tollbooth on the turnpike, another …