November 19, 2018

44 Siblings and Counting

Kianni Arroyo clasps 8-year-old Sophia’s hands tightly as they spin around, giggling like mad. It’s late afternoon, and there are hot dogs on the grill, bubble wands on the lawn, balls flying through the air.

The midsummer reunion in a suburb west of the city looks like any other, but these family ties can’t be described with standard labels. Instead, Arroyo, a 21-year-old waitress from Orlando, is here to meet “DNA-in-laws,” various “sister-moms” and especially people like Sophia, a cherished “donor-sibling.”

Sophia and Arroyo were both conceived with sperm from Donor #2757, a bestseller. Over the years, Donor #2757 sired at least 29 girls and 16 boys, now ages 1 to 21, living in eight states and four countries. Arroyo is on a quest to meet them all, chronicling her journey on Instagram. She has to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep them all straight.

“We have a connection. It’s hard to explain, but it’s there,” said Arroyo, an only child who is both comforted and weirded-out by her ever-expanding family tree.

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"Military relations in the transatlantic alliance are humming. Yet an intangible but palpable crisis is shaking the foundations of NATO – and it has brought the organization to a moment of reckoning."

"With the midterm election a week-plus behind us — well, mostly behind us, as Democrats continue to try to steal seats in certain locations — it is time to take a look ahead at what we are facing over the next two years."

"Leaving the ultra-Orthodox community is nothing new in Israel. Everyone, secular or religious, knows someone who used to be on, but is now “off the derech.” But the phenomenon hasn’t been well studied."

"Post Malone’s music is dead-eyed and ignorant, astonishingly dull in its materialism, an abandoned lot of creativity with absolutely no evidence of traffic in his cerebral cortex — and there’s also a negative side..."

"Having assessed over 2,000 CEOs and over 18,000 C-suite leaders since 1995, we are struck by how often careers of talented executives stall or even derail because of seemingly trivial issues, many of which are utterly fixable."

"While the revelation of an apparent indictment against Julian Assange sets an ominous precedent for news organizations, it also serves as a reminder of his group’s stark transformation."

"Through classes and workshops, men across the United States are attempting to unlearn "toxic masculinity"—for society and for themselves."

"While many books experience sweeping popularity, Ferrante’s novels are part of a subgroup of pop culture that compels people to travel. Tour groups like Looking for Lila and Ferrante Fever Naples have popped up across Naples..."

"E-cigarettes may help tobacco smokers quit. But the alluring devices can swiftly induce a nicotine habit in teenagers who never smoked. This is the tale of one person’s struggle."

"As thrilled as I am to be hosting (and therefore not to have to deal with one of the busiest travel days of the year), I’ll be honest: I’m a little stressed out. "

"Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram."

"Be connected, be still, and be satisfied -- my 3 essential principles of Shabbat do more for me than all the halacha I learned to be a rabbi."