August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things...clothes...money...

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No... It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God's hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

August 16, 2018

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:

"But we've always done it that way."

They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.

One day, her daughter asked, "Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?"

The mother answers and says because "My mother always made it that way!"

So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.

Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, "Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?"

And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, "Because, we didn't have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!"

Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on "asking why."

Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 15, 2018

It's Fight or Surrender!



This is why President Reagan was able to "tear down that wall" and win the Cold War. 

He was a true role model for leadership and what a President is. 

- Faith in G-d.

- A strength of convictions.

- The Integrity that touches hearts. 

- Courage to carry forward. 

- Pride in our nation.

- Judicious use of our might.

Go USA! ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

Floppy Disk Earrings

So this was an interesting technology fashion statement.

This lady in Washington, D.C. has earrings that are floppy disks. 

One full diskette on each ear!

I guess not only can she wear them, but she can plug them into her computer at work and save or transfer files (that is if you can still find a computer that actually uses these). 

It makes you think though, from a cybersecurity perspective, what other devices can people "wear" to work and use for good or malicious purposes. 

Another scary thought came to mind, how suicide/homicide bombers strap vests with explosives to their bodies too--do terrorists also adhere to a certain "style" even for murdering people? 

Anyway, fashion can be almost anything apparently...if you can find a way to put it on you body. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 14, 2018

Taking Pride In Your Work

I thought this was a nice necklace. 

The lady in the hair salon had a necklace in the shape of a scissors.

I asked her about it because it seemed sort of unusual and neat. 

She said, "It's a scissors!"

And then she proceeded to squeeze the miniature two handles, and said, "You see, it actually opens and closes too!"

I could see and hear how proud she was of what she does for a living. 

Yes, maybe it doesn't earn as much as some other professions, but it was her job and she loved it. 

I think we should all try to take such pride in our work and in doing a great job!

Everyone has something important to contribute and every contribution truly counts. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 13, 2018

Flower Petals In Water

Just wanted to share these absolutely beautiful flower petals floating on the water. 

G-d's creations are so wondrous and marvelous.

Frankly, I find it hard to comprehend how He made everything so gorgeous. 

There are plenty of challenges for us in this world to keep us learning and growing. 

But truly, I love that there is some Garden of Eden paradise in this world too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 12, 2018

Aliyah: To Go Up

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, The Aliyah Connection.
"As Jewish people yet around the globe plan for their futures, they need to consider carefully “the place that G-d has chosen” and where they and their families will be at the fateful conclusion of the Redemption and the arrival of Mashiach. Perhaps, while the road to Jerusalem requires our dedication and hard work, the choice is not that difficult as the Land of Israel flourishes and the people of Israel yet lives–Eretz and Am Israel Chai!"

Hope you enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Ochayon) 
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 10, 2018

Space Force: Up Up And Away

Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!

The things that get focused on, get accomplished. 

Space is the "final frontier."

And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind's very survival. 

It's time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!

Russia and China get it--hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other "kill vehicles" in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond. 

Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?

Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars' Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.

Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing...losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!

I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn't run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force. 

We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 9, 2018

Why Can't People Be Genuine

Why all the phonies, users, shysters, and scammers out there?

It starts perhaps with that big, warm smile.

Maybe a handshake and hug. 

Perhaps, you even get a kiss or two (it's cultural, I think, LOL).

Colleagues, friends, you're just like family.

Sometimes it's real and you truly found something valuable in your life.

There are good people of soul and conscience out there. 

But other times it's an act, a sham, deception, you're the fool. 

The other person wants something--cash, control, connections.
Oh by the way, can I ask you for just a "little" favor?
You wouldn't mind if...?
Just do XYZ for me, I got your back. 
I see you know so and so, would you introduce me?
I have a great investment opportunity for you, let me tell you all about it.
Sure it's okay and actually wonderful in a real relationship for people to be there for each other and help each others..."that's what [real] friends are for!"

The problem is where the friendship is only about the ask for the benefit of the other and no care for you as a person. 

Then the smile isn't a genuine collegial or friendship one of happiness and outreach. but rather it's upside down to get you to do something legit or illegit for the person pressing their lips up and out into that smile you already know is all about the ask. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 8, 2018

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa

Thought this was a beautiful wall hanging in a local restaurant here. 

Three golden Hamsas!

Hamsa is symbolic for the protective hand of G-d. 

Three is a number for "chizuk"  (strengthening) that signifies something is firmly established. 

The three Hamsas together is a potent representation for G-d's protection, mazel (good fortune), happiness, health, prosperity, and peace. 

Oh G-d, we pray that you show us your endless divine mercy and bless us with all that is for the good. 

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 7, 2018

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys--thank you G-d!

Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 

Yes, of course we wouldn't recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn't have the bad to compare it to. 

But just when you think you've gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it's time for the next speed bump.

I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 

Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 

Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  

But even daily upsets can be frustrating.

I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 

It's not paradise we are living in--that comes later when we get our angel wings!

This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 

We are not here just to have a merry 'ol good time day in and day out. 

While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 

Life is like a puzzle--a very big puzzle--and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 6, 2018

A Three-Party System

Yeah, these signs say a lot about our two-party system of government. 
"Republican: Because everyone can't be on welfare."

"Democrat: Because everyone can't be greedy."

Sort of the age old story of competing interests. 

Certainly also a good dose of Fear vs. Greed. 

And where the rich get richer and the poor get welfare.

It's good to have the 2 extremes of the political thinking spectrum, because it shows us perhaps where the middle is. 

Neither extreme is good, but rather it's a balancing act. 

We can't have more than 50% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of the people. 

And we can't have everyone on entitlements where no one is working, innovating, and producing. 

Yes of course, some people will have more than others and some people will need help. 

There needs to be motivation to "get ahead" and there must be a social safety net for when bad things happen. 

This is life.

But the to extent that we can have the most people in respectable jobs earning a reasonable (true living) wage and that there is equitable prosperity to go around for everyone--this is ideal.

Really 2-parties is not enough, because extremes tend to get more extreme--this is the momentum of polarization and politicization until the extremes tear us apart. 

Instead we need a strong centrist party (or parties)--that can not only play to, but also execute the middle of the road approach. 

It's not all or nothing, but rather compromise to a logical and reasonable solution on every issue. 

No, we don't want to get rid of ICE, and we don't want open borders. 

No we don't want entitlements that bankrupt the nation, and we don't want people down on their luck going needy. 

No, we don't want women who have been raped or incested or otherwise can't raise their children being forced to have them, and we don't want babies being murdered in the late stages of pregnancy. 

No we don't want to blow up the planet, and we don't want our enemies besting us. 

We don't want pollution in our air, water, and streets, and we don't want to strangle the economy with endless and mindless regulation. 

And on and on. 

It's high time to move to the center where common sense reigns.

It overdue to have a legitimate 3+ party system that talks real solutions to the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 5, 2018

Beautiful Hiking @Harpers Ferry







Hiking the Appalachian Trail, oh so glorious. 


The only photo not shown is the large snake we ran into on the rocks on the side of the path.

My wife screamed:

"S-n-a-k-e!"

And we were running for the hills in this direction and that.

We had no idea where she was pointing to.

It was pretty hilarious. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 4, 2018

Things Look Different Up Close



So this was interesting. 

I was coming up the highway. 

In the distance, there looked like there was a large tractor-trailer heading towards me.

I had to take a double take, because this truck was on my side of the divider...Oh shit!

It was only as I got closer that I could see that the truck was really being towed in reverse by a tow truck. 

Yes, "seeing is believing!"

This is a lesson in life:

Things may look one way from a distance, and very different up close. 

Sometimes, my wife tells me:

"Andy, don't look too close!" lol

But the truth is that you may not really see what you heading towards until it's right in front of your eyes.

So it's important to look out over the horizon and study what is coming your way. 

But don't take your eye off the ball (or Mack Truck as it may be). 

Things can change your perspective the closer you get to it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 3, 2018

Nitpicking To Death

It's funny some people go straight for the kill when they don't like something. 

Others may nitpick you to death. 

Always! looking for something to henpeck at.

It comes out as you're stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.

Why can't you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?

If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!

But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing--guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.

Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  

Or as the old saying goes, "Who died and made you G-d?"

It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.

Instead of tearing down, let's focus on the big picture and what success looks like.

How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?

Customer service doesn't mean personal servitude. 

There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 

Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 2, 2018

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 

Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 

She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 

So once a month she treats them for breakfast!

As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 

She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 

I thought to myself, WOW!--what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  

It's not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 

I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 1, 2018

Superhero Work Gloves

Just thought these were some really cool work gloves. 

"Ironclad Industrial Impact--Rigger Cut"

These were just hanging around the local clothing store. 

They not only look like superhero gloves covered in orange, yellow, and black duraclad padding ready to WHAM BAM!

But they also feel that way when you put them on with all the rubberized ruggedized protection.

Hmm, wonder whether these would be good in the gym for weightlifting...

Now who actually goes to work wearing these things? Its probably got to be a pretty "macho" man or women job.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 31, 2018

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.

In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 

And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 

But also, they had a big black telephone.

Talking about a working lunch!

Wow, is that customer service or what? lol

This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials' desks --always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.

So here we go Joe... 

I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 30, 2018

That's The Power Of Love

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, "Shabbat Nachamu: That's The Power of Love."

We don't have to fight, but even when we fight, we can overcome through compassion, love, and constructive reconciliation.  

Love and friendship can win over anger and fighting, and help to usher in the ultimate redemption. 

Hope you enjoy the article. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 28, 2018

Andy The Swimmer

This was a cute cartoon that "Anastasia The Lifeguard" doodled of me swimming. 

She captured me doing my laps. 

Enjoying the sunshine.

Breathing in the fresh air. 

Appreciating the beautiful flowers.

Loving the pool and water. 

Thank you so much for this great picture!

(Source Cartoon: the Talented Anastasia)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 27, 2018

Calling An ELMO

So this is an interesting meeting facilitation technique. 

Sometimes people get carried away in meetings either as broken records, spinning wheels, naysayers, or ever with verbal attacks.

In these case, either the facilitator or any of the other participants, can have permission to "call an ELMO."

What that stands for is:

Enough,
Let's
Move 
On

When someone at the meeting calls an ELMO the meeting is redirected and focused back to the agenda and meeting objectives.

There are also times, you need a "parking lot" for good ideas that are a little offtrack or for sidebars that you want to come back to later.

At other times, you just need to say, "Let's take it offline."

Focused meetings should generate ideas (brainstorm), exchange points of view, surface problems, discuss issues, and make decisions. 

A good meeting leaves people feeling energized, valued, informed, and productive. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 26, 2018

Pet Rock 2018

So when I saw this colored rock last evening, it made me think two things:

One, cool idea, looks nice and fun to make.

Two, it reminded me of the Pet Rocks in the 1970s that made millions (this one was hippie even though those back then weren't actually even colored).

A business guy came up with the idea to sell smooth rocks from Mexico beach and market them as pets.

Yeah, they are so lovable and easy to care for!

It was one of the great branding and marketing events of the 20th century.

Who would think people would actually spend money on a plain dumb rock that you could basically pick up off the street?

But incredibly, putting the rock in a box with holes (so the rock could breath) and sitting it on a little stack of hay with an joke of instruction book for caring for your rock, SOLD. 

And in fact, over 1,500,000 rocks were sold at a pop of $4 each.

The guy became a millionaire and got rid of a truckload of worthless rocks.

Yes, "One man's garbage is another man's treasure!"

But surely this was getting a little ridiculous.

Hey, I'll give you a nickle for the shinny painted rock in the photo here. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 25, 2018

In the Know Or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you--positively or negatively. 

They can help either to keep you "in the know" or "in the dark."

As we all know by now, information is power!

When you're in the know--you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what's happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 

When you're in the dark--you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: "Don't get between a man and his firing squad."   

So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 

To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 

But to another extent, there are others--superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers--who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend...some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn't it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!

Why some friend and others foe you--who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 

In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 24, 2018

Bored Meetings

So it's been raining so much here in the DC area lately.

The result is that the hot Summer July temperatures are down in the cool 70's and the rain is flooding everywhere. 

When I got in the elevator this morning, someone goes to me:

"Did you see the leak in the hallway?  They are watering the tree with it."

And sure enough, there it was!

When all this rain finally stops, there is going to be a lot of cleanup and repairs to do. 

The other thing was yesterday, we were on the way to a board meeting in our synagogue. 

In the elevator, are two other people--a man and women--carrying binders.

They say to us:

"Are you going to the board meeting?"

Surprised, because I didn't recognize them from our synagogue, I respond affirmatively and ask to clarify:

"Oh, you're going to the board meeting too?  I don't recall seeing you there before."

Then the elevator stops and they start to get off--but it's to a different board meeting for the building.

When they see that we're going to a different floor, they start laughing:

"I guess we're going to different board meetings!"

I say:

"Yeah that's right, different board meetings, but we'll all probably be bored!

Another laugh by everyone, and we we're all off to the races. ;-)

(Source Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 23, 2018

Tisha B'Av @Kotel - Ushering In The Redemption


Last night, as Tisha B'Av (the commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem) was nearing conclusion, we watched these beautiful videos of:

1) The singing of Ani Ma'Amin at the Kotel yesterday in 2018. 
2) An amazing NCSY kumzitz, including at the beginning, the singing of Kol Berama Nishma/Rachel Mivakah at the Kotel a few years ago in 2015.

"A voice is heard in the Heavens, lamentati​on, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children;​ she refuseth to be comforted​ for her children,​ because they are not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded,​ saith the LORD; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord; and thy children shall return to their own border. "

Both are so beautiful, and we imagined G-d looking down from the Heavens and being moved to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and bring his amazing presence closer to us once again on Earth. 

Oh let it be!  ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 22, 2018

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 

The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 

The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 

I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 

I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city--the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart--and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, and introspection for the Jewish people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 21, 2018

Israel On Fire

Please see my new article in Times of Israel, "Israel Must Fight Fire With Fire."

When the Hamas terrorist's from Gaza are trying to burn the State of Israel, Israel needs to make sure it's the terrorists are the ones getting burnt.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 20, 2018

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 

Hence, the term anger management!

The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person's real character: 

- Koso, Kiso, and Ka'aso.

From Aramaic to English it translates as:

- Cup, Purse, and Anger. 

In other words...

Cup--When a person "drinks," this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, "When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!" Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 

Purse--This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  

Anger--When a person is angry, this is often when their "true colors" show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent--do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when "under the gun."  

Focusing on the anger piece...

It's easy to get angry, and it's also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you're really angry. 

Maybe people can't always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don't even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.

In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 

Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 

Thoughts on this...

Take a breath, slow down. 

Evaluate what's really going on

Think about whether it's truly the end of the world or not. 

Assess the options for coping with it. 

Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 

If necessary, seek help from others.

Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 

And where not, cope, cope, cope--and survive another day!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 19, 2018

Boiling A Frog

So sometimes you don't know that something is happening until it is too late. 

A colleague yesterday told me this great simile:

It's like when you put a frog in a pot of water and turn up the heat, the frog doesn't know what's happening until it's too late, and he ends up being boiled alive!

With better knowledge of the context, of course, you can have the foresight to act, to fight, to get out, whatever. 

Similarly with the frog, if you throw him into an already boiling pot of water, he immediately jumps out, and viola he's saved. 

It's really important to have good situational and political awareness. 

Not everyone out there is so innocent--even when they have a good act and pretend, "Who me?"

Many of them know how to work the system, so that the system works for them. 

G-d forbid, when you're in the way, they'll often turn up the heat. 

And if you don't realize what going on, you'll be the frog that's a not so tasty dinner. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 18, 2018

Rain From Heaven

Took this photo yesterday in the courtyard during a thunderstorm.

It is the first time that I was actually able to see the rain almost in a slow motion.

They weren't drops, but literally streaks of water zipping down from the sky.

The feeling was so pure and refreshing to clean the air and the ground. 

To replenish our reservoirs, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. 

To nourish the fruit of the Earth and make it grow. 

We use up and make dirty, but G-d replenishes and makes clean! ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 17, 2018

From Mouth To Friendship

So it's amazing how people are so willing to throw away friendship. 

They get angry about something having nothing even to do with you.

They say things they probably don't even mean, and in turn you may say things you don't even mean. 

Often you say things just to bring the other person to their senses. 

But sometimes they don't come to their senses. 

They need to let out on someone and you're the convenient scapegoat. 

Before you know it, they throw your friendship under a bus. 

Personally, I'm not one to make friends that easily or quickly--there needs to be some real chemistry and the building of trust--but then I am one who is an eternally loyal friend. 

Yet, I see others, they kiss and hug and say you're like family, but then when they get angry, oh boy, you are gone like the wind. 

Maybe that's not what real friendship is. 

To me, friendship surpasses dumb deeds and words and stupid fights, it's about being there through thick and thin.

Take the false teeth out and put some permanent ones in--they last much longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 16, 2018

Israel's Border Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, Legitimate Use of Landmines for Israel-Gaza Border

Israel should consider use of landmines to secure its border from tens of thousands of Hamas terrorists that seek daily to overrun the border and murder the citizens of the sovereign State of Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 14, 2018

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?

Some people seem to get old before their time.

They go about echting and kretzching--at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I'm not 18 anymore!

Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.

One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  

This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:
"I thought growing old would take longer."

Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!

I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 

I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 

Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago--can't believe the things I used to be able to do--Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!

But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!

Maybe we do not get old...maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 

Age is experience, learning, growth--lots of mistakes--and then recovering and trying again and harder.  

Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 

No, life does not get old. 

Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 

But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 13, 2018

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 

Some may associate the "Love Truck" with human trafficking or something horrible. 

But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:
Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don't make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.

I almost got to wonder what's on the other side of this truck???

Anyway, I know it's more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 

Happy Friday folks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 12, 2018

Israel To Space

Please see my new article in Times of Israel, "Israel's Ladder To Space."

So proud of Israel's planning to join the Big 3 countries (U.S., Russia, and China) to land on the moon.

Amazing what even a relatively small in size and new nation like Israel can set their sights on and please G-d accomplish with G-d's help.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 11, 2018

Not A Kiss

So I learned a lesson recently.

Sometimes, a kiss is not a kiss. 

It could be a phony show. 

Like a snake. 

It slithers and fools people into complacency. 

Kiss kiss!

Hug hug!

But around the back is a hand holding a dangerous dagger. 

It stands ready to swing and plunge into your soft unsuspecting tissue. 

The more kisses, perhaps the more hiding of their true intentions. 

People are complex and sometimes malevolent. 

They want what they want, and when they want it. 

When the time comes, a kiss can turn into a sharp knife. 

You wonder how is it that person has no more kisses.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 10, 2018

Cool Car DC

Who would think you'd find a car like this in Washington, D.C.?

Definitely a standout, you think. 

Although it seems like the people crossing the street don't even notice it.

Ah, wake up people!

Anyway, where do you park a car like that?

It's nice to look at, but between people wanting to steal it or deface it, I think it's probably more trouble than it's worth. 

There are enough loonies out there...why give them a reason. 

Then again, if you tether yourself to it, maybe it's good for a joy ride around the Capital especially before the new tariffs kick in.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 9, 2018

Know Before Whom You Are Standing

So many synagogues have this important saying at the top of the Holy Ark where the Torahs are kept in front of the shul.

It says, translated into English:

"Know before who you are standing (i.e. G-d)."

The idea is to remember when you are in the holy place of worship that you are standing and praying before G-d and should conduct yourself appropriately and with respect and reverence. 

While certainly there are times when people forget themselves in the synagogue and say or do something not completely appropriate (e.g. socializing, talking, or even telling jokes to their neighbors during the service), usually it is not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be friendly with their neighbors and community. 

However, this past Shabbat I witnessed behavior in the synagogue (name withheld)  that was truly a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d). 

Out of respect for the Rabbi (and Rabbabite), I will neither mention their names or go into the details about what happened except to say that it involved the politics surrounding the end of the Rabbi's 3-year term and the inability for him and the board to come to terms on a new agreement (even though one had  apparently been signed and reneged on). 

This did not belong in the synagogue on the holy Shabbat, period. 

Those embracing and kissing the Rabbi in his support and going against the President and the board that is elected to represent the congregation was disgraceful. 

Further, while I support the Rabbi saying his farewells, demanding to speak without the permission of the President and the board, and even before the President gave his regular announcements was inexcusable. 

And when the fighting between the Rabbi and President brought yelling and fighting to the congregants, this should have been a sign for that behavior to immediately cease. 

The desecration of the "peace" of the Shabbat with the politics, money, and contract issues and the ensuing fighting (almost civil war between those supporting the Rabbi and those the President and the board) before the Holy Ark filled with the Torahs was reprehensible. 

For the spiritual leadership to behave in such a crude and disrespectful fashion was a mark of utter disgrace in the synagogue before G-d. 

I have never seen anything like this before and hope never to have to witness anything so irreverent again. 

This was a most traumatic event for the community and I hope we will recover in time and have a complete healing. 

Moreover, I pray that G-d forgives the behavior that happened and has mercy on this congregation because things got out of control and I think they forgot before whom they were standing.  ;-)

(Source Photo and not of the synagogue under discussion: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 

- Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 

- Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.

- Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 

I don't know about most people, but I don't get convinced easily. 

You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it's right. 

Some others, and I don't know why--it's like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  

I think that's dangerous!

Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things...a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  

Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:
- Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 
- Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the "Aryan nation," and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.
- Ethically--let's just say, this one didn't really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, "G-d is with us!"

It's a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos--potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark