Meir Kay: I blindfolded myself and stood on the streets of New York City offering people the opportunity to stand with me for peace through a hug.

When the idea popped into my head I was afraid.

At first, I was scared! Is this safe? And to do it all blindfolded?

Within 30 seconds of placing the blindfold over my eyes, I heard “I’m coming in for a hug” and right then I was reminded of the kindness of strangers.

There so much noise around us and I’m not referring to the type that can be heard on these New York City streets.

The noise of the media, publications, opinions, thoughts, feelings etc.

Through all the ruckus one can feel confused, afraid, angry, alone and so I felt an urge, no, a need to dial it back, to simplify and remind myself and possibly others that we all possess the antidote to the chaos we find ourselves in. Pause. Connect. Have a conversation. Give/receive a hug. As different as we may be we all want peace and respect.

Many people will tell you who are you and what you stand for just by attaching a story to make them feel safe and in control of what’s going on around them.

I wanted to get ahead of it all and let people know that I am a Jew and I stand for peace. Violence is never the way. Hate is never the answer. Being proud of who you are doesn’t diminish another’s self-worth, but may give them the courage to show up and shine for themselves.

We may have different opinions and we can slow down, make eye contact, converse respectfully, even share a hug.

Muslims, Christians, Atheists, and many others from different ethnic groups, backgrounds and religions stopped and hugged me.

It was so special.

This by far was one of the most meaningful and powerful experiences I’ve had and reinforced so much hope and love for people, for #teamhuman