November 18, 2019

Types of Project Management Office

This is a quick breakdown of the 3 types of Project Management Offices (PMOs).

  • Enabling (Supportive) — Provides best practices, templates, and tools “as needed,” and compliance is voluntary.
  • Delivery (Controlling) — Adopts framework or methodology, policy, and repeatable procedures, and a certain level of the standards are enforced.
  • Compliance (Directive) — Establishes strict standards, measures, and control over projects, and these are highly regulated.

A good place to start is with an enabling/supportive PMO and then progress to a more delivery/controlling model. Generally, a compliance/directive PMO is for more highly regulated organizations.

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2019

OPTIMISM vs pessimism

So I thought this really matched my philosophy to a T on optimism and pessimism. 

As Joel Rosenberg put it in his book The Ezekiel Option, "In the long run everything would turn out fine...but tomorrow could be a disaster."

In short, this equates to:

I'm a strategic optimist, but a tactical pessimist. 

My mom used to say, "If I am pessimistic, I'll never be disappointed." LOL

I think though when we have faith then we know that truly, in the end everything is for the best and will be okay.

In the short term though, there are challenges to face and these can be tough indeed. 

- Strategically an optimist. 

- Tactically a pessimist. 

Plan for the worst, hope for the best. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 16, 2019

Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "Avraham, The Ultimate Mensch."
The Rabbi asked why did Hashem who is omnipotent even need to create us? And he answered because in G-d being the ultimate good, He “had to create us”—this in essence being the ultimate expression of good by sharing that goodness with us to learn and be good as well. In short, what could be a greater good than extending that opportunity to be be good to others.

Like our forefather, my Hebrew name is Avraham, and for me personally, this has been a critical life lesson: learning to see challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, and consistently be a person that tries to do what is right even when it is hard or the lines seem to be grey. In the end, I believe that G-d put us in this world in order for us to choose good over evil and demonstrate kindness to others. With the Torah as our blueprint, and Avraham, our forefather, as our role model, we must apply the great teachings of the Torah and always strive to act as a proper mensch!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 15, 2019

Pelican Shabbos

Shabbat Shalom says the Moo Moo Cow.

Shabbat Shalom says Leo The Lion.

Shabbat Shalom says the Gefilte Fish. 

Shabbat Shalom says the Long Beak Pelican. 

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 14, 2019

D.C. Living

I can't believe this home is in Washington, D.C.

More like Florida.

All we need is a palm tree or two.

Plus a little pool in the back. 

And we're good! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 13, 2019

Weird Face Bag

This bag is too weird.

Not a man and not an animal--it's some sort of beast. 

It has a crazy face on it with a gnarly mouth and green bug-eyes. 

Is it watching for pickpockets? 

Wonder if it bites the hand that tries to go inside the purse. 

I can't look at this thing anymore. 

Make it go away! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 12, 2019

Spider Man D.C.

This so reminded me of...
Spider Man, Spider Man, Does Whatever A Spider Can.

Veterans Day must be a great day to get your windows washed. 

Or to spin a web of intricate proportions in D.C. politics. 

Either way aside from the windows, what of significance is actually getting resolved in our partisan capital?

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2019

Artechouse = Art + Tech + House



This place was really cool in Washington, D.C. 

Artechouse = Art + Tech + House. 

Great immersive technology, art, music, dance, and light show. 

Highly recommend it!

This exhibit "Lucid Motion" was by Japanese artist Daito Manabe X Rhizomatiks Research.

They also had a nice augmented reality display. 

Had fun with the clan. 

Hope you enjoy!

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2019

Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 

Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 

She was an amazing heroine that they even called her "Moses" for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 

Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 

The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!

Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.

I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 

She didn't kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!

We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what's right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2019

Making The Impossible, Possible

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Making The Impossible, Possible."

Even though the Jewish people are a tiny minority in the world, through our faith, determination, and the help of G-d, we are able to survive against all odds, contribute to the world far beyond our mere numbers, and succeed in truly incredible ways. From Einstein, Freud, and Marx to Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison, we are a people that punches way above our weight.

I believe the lessons of faith and determination is one that we can all take away from the tests of our forefathers in the Bible to the flourishing modern State of Israel and to how we live our own lives today. G-d tests all of us, and if we go forward and answer His calling with a full heart and perseverance, G-d will help us to succeed above our wildest of dreams and even beyond the very laws of nature.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2019

Chocolate Dreaming

Don't know about you but these looked pretty darn good at Costco.

"Chocolate Dream"

Chocolate cream, whipped cream, and chocolate cookie.  

Now, how could that be bad?

Dreaming chocolate...

It reminds me of the other day when I saw someone daydreaming.

I said to him, "Are you okay?"

He replies, "I am far away!"

It sounded good, so I said, "Can you take me with you?"

Got a good laugh from him.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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Righting Wrongs To Sephardim

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Righting Wrongs To Sephardim."
The initial waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882 were driven by the persecution and pogroms, and later the Holocaust, in Europe. Thus, Israeli society initially built up their institutions and power centers around these Ashkenazi pioneers. Immediately after 1948, when Sephardic refugees were expelled from the Arab countries en masse, Israel was overwhelmed with as immigration influx that virtually doubled the Jewish population in Israel in the first three years of its existence. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Sephardim were relegated to a substandard housing and economic situation, which then persisted for many decades.
In Jewish society, however, there is no room for ethnic discrimination and inequality, and the formation of a Sephardic political party in 1984 was a crucial milestone in Jewish social and economic justice. For almost 30 years, Shas was led by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi and spiritual leader, and Shas has remained one of Israel's top political parties.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 6, 2019

Beautiful Moroccan Chandelier

Just wanted to share this beautiful Moroccan  chandelier. 

Thought this really adds life, color, and culture to any room. 

I love the mosaic of glass pieces and their vibrant colors and interesting shapes. 

Set into the brass holders this stunning chandelier is a standout and lights up not only the room, but also perhaps even our lives. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 5, 2019

Hearts and Stones

I love the saying by Rav Zvi Yehudah Cook:
There are people with hearts of stone, and there are stones with hearts of people. 
The people know who they are, and the stones reside where has G-d set them. 

In the final redemption, the peoples' hearts will turn back to Hashem and the stones with hearts will rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 4, 2019

Prevent Problems From Becoming Crises

I heard this saying and thought it was good:

Problems that are left unattended have a habit of becoming crises. 

I suppose problems exist for us to confront and deal with them, so we can grow ourselves. 

- There is no running from problems.

- There is no hiding from problems.

Problems can follow you with better than laser-guided GPS and they will find you out.  

The only option is it face the challenge head-on and the earlier and more productively the better. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2019

Key Federal Financial Management Terms

Below are some key Federal Financial Management Terms:
  • Authorization: Act of Congress that permits Federal programs or activities to exist and recommends funding levels.
  • Appropriation: Act of Congress to provide Federal agencies with budget authority to obligate government to future outlay of cash for a specific purposes and period of time. 
  • Commitment: An administrative reservation of funds by the financial controller or resource manager triggered by a procurement or purchase request.
  • Obligation: A legal reservation fo funds that binds government to future expenditure and outlay of cash from the Treasury triggered by the signing of a contract, travel order, credit card transaction, etc. 
  • Expenditure: Issuance of a payment disbursement by electronic funds transfer, check, etc. 
  • Outlay: Payment of cash from Treasury to vendor to liquidate a financial obligation.
These should be helpful in understanding the Federal financial management processes. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 2, 2019

Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence

I really like this Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence (EI). 

It starts at the bottom with your own personal self-awareness--knowing who you are, including your beliefs, values, priorities, needs, and dreams, and being able to express this. 

Next level is your personal self-control--being able to manage your feelings, control your actions, and cope with challenges and adversity. 

Moving to the social level is then social awareness--having a consciousness and respect of others, their feelings, thoughts, motivations, needs, desires, and rights.

Finally, at the top is relationship management--the ability to actively listen and empathize, assert and influence, be patience and unconditionally accept differences, develop trust, give and take, collaborate, and manage conflict.

Most people work on developing these areas of the EI their whole life, and it is definitely a pyramid worthy of the climb. ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 1, 2019

Give Me That Fridge Handle

So we got a new stainless refrigerator. 

A cause for celebration!

It get's delivered and afterwards, I notice that the door handles are installed unevenly. 

I call the store and they agree to send their guys out to us again to fix it. 

Well, the handles were on the wrong doors and they switch it so that now they look even, but in the process, they break the handle on one of the doors so that only the top is attached to the door and the bottom is blowing in the wind (and ready to scratch the door). 

With this second installation debacle, I call the store again and not a happy camper!

Three calls later, the store agrees for me to come over and literally take the handle of the fridge on the showroom floor to replace my broken one--which I promptly did!

Third times the charm...no more broken door handle. 

As for the one in the store, let's just say you can only open the left door for now.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 31, 2019

Square Watermelons

I thought this was pretty novel. 

A square watermelon. 

Why do you need a square watermelon?

It was created to make transportation easier and to fit on the tight shelves of small stores in Japan. 

How do you make a round/oval watermelon square?

Why of course, you put a box around it while it's still small and on the vine. 

Ah, I think they broke the mold on this innovative idea.  LOL

The problem is that that because they are harvested before they are ripe, they are inedible. 

So the Japanese use them for decorations, and they can last about a year. 

They are so unique, they cost roughly $100 for one. 

Why be square, when you can be round? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Defense Acquisition University)
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October 30, 2019

Healing The Spine

Thought this was a really great photo to explain various ailments of the spine. 

From the top:
Normal Disc
Degenerative Disc
Bulging Disc
Herniated Disc
Thinning Disc
Disc Degeneration with Osteophyte Formation
The spinal disc was described to me as a jelly donut between the vertebrae.

The jelly can bulge in the disc or actually herniate/rupture and spill out pressing painfully against the nerve--that's the scary red that you see!

The disc degeneration and osteophytes are also a pretty frightening looking deterioration of the disc and cartilage.

No wonder
- "31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time...[and] back pain is the single leading cause of disability."

- And "80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetimes...[and] leading contributor to missed workdays"  

When we have our health, we don't always realize how incredibly fortunate we are. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 29, 2019

Robot Warriors Kick Human A*s


This is one incredible parody video of what robotic warriors of the future will be able to do. 

The robot takes an incredible beating and never misses a shot!

They even hit him numerous times with a battering ram for Pete's sake. 

Also, amazed that none of the actors in this video ended up taking a bullet or two. 

Wow, the future is going to be amazing. ;-)

(Thank you to my wonderful son-in-law for sending this to me)
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October 28, 2019

Card Ya

Thought this was novel in the store. 

They have a digital calendar with the date from 21 years ago.

It says:
To Purchase Tobacco Products You Must Have Been Born On Or Before This Date.
 Thank you for showing you I.D.

Ah, easy to match the DOB on the I.D. presented to the date on the calendar.  

Nothing to calculate, no mistakes. 

They raised the age for smoking (cigarettes and vaping) in Maryland to 21 on October 1, so it's the same requirement as for drinking alcohol.

Luckily for me (even though I'm over 21), I don't really do either--definitely not the smoking, and the drinking limited primarily to the Kiddush prayer on Shabbat. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2019

You're Driving Me Nuts

There is just something so crazy funny about this Simpsons' painting. 

Homer is mad as h*ll and has Bart by throat!

Bart is screaming for help.

It so funny how art imitates life. 

Where people drive others $%#&^*)* crazy. 

And the other person just wants to wring their freakin' neck. 

Yeah, this never really happens. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2019

Don't Trust Your Gut Alone

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Snake That Appeals To Your Gut."

The truth is, following one’s gut feelings alone is a way to avoid confronting or dealing with real data about what’s going on. While it’s true that information can be tough to get as well as to interpret, we certainly have to look not only at people’s words, but also at their deeds. We have to see them over an extended period of time, so we see whether there is consistency and if their integrity holds up under different situations and stressors.

We have hearts and minds and we need to make sure we are using both in making important decisions. Otherwise, see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil—and what do you think you are precisely going to get?


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 25, 2019

Sizzle Is Not Steak

There was an interesting quote in the Wall Street Journal the other day.

It was about how the stock brokers all too often hawked hot stocks to their unsuspecting and foolish clients:
You sold the sizzle, not the steak!

Wow, isn't this all too often what happens with products and services in the marketplace?

People get you hyped up on all the excitement of something.

The latest and greatest widget or whatever. 

It's gonna revolutionize the world!

Even when the thing itself may not be all that it's cracked up to be.

Or in fact, it may be a complete dud!

But whatever sells goes, unfortunately, whether it's right or wrong

Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. 

Doesn't that sizzle really make you want to buy the steak?

The Greater Fool Theory in full blossom. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2019

Can't Sit, Can't Stand

So I've been having this excruciating lower back pain for about a week. 

I literally cannot sit or stand without shooting pain. 

When I sit, it hurts the lower back so much to get up. 

And when I stand, all I want to do is relieve the pressure and sit down. 

I feel like the warning from G-d in the Torah where He says (Deuteronomy 28:67):
In the morning you will say '"If only it were evening!" and in the evening "If only it were morning!"
The only real relief so far is lying down or going in the pool. 

Planning to see the doctor to check it out and hopefully with G-d's mercy it will be better very soon.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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October 23, 2019

When Do We Get The Replicators

Good advertisement piece for a 3D Printing Class. 

Not sure that we're nearly there yet in terms of the Star Trek vision for the Replicators that could make food and other items on demand. 

But things are slowly taking shape. 

Someone wake me up when I can order up a pizza from this thing.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2019

The Red Door

Wow, this is such a cool door.

Love the red.

Love the spikes on the door. 

Would like a little tougher handle on this.

But overall that's a door!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 21, 2019

3 Types of Dumping

This was sort of a funny sign:
"No Dumping"

Dumping can refer to at last 3 different types of things and none of them are any good:

1) Dogs - When people are inconsiderate with the animals and they take a "dump" and people don't clean up after them (leaving the messy stink for you to step in). 

2) Trash - When people throw their trash in the dump or what they consider to be a convenient dumping ground and they make a huge mess of the surroundings (like the used mattress on the side of the road).

3) Emotions - When people dump their emotions and problems on others; they just sort of let it all out and while they may feel better (i.e. a nice catharsis), now you feel like sh*t!

Overall, I can't think of any good connotation to dumping, so maybe people should stop doing it--dogs, trash, and problems.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 20, 2019

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 

Incredibly painful. 

Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 

Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.

One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 

We ran into a neighbor. 

She was nice and asked about what happened. 

I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d's help. 

She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 

I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 

But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn't have anyone and how she said it. 

I sort of repeated it quizzically. 

She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 

I said that we're her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 

This whole thing just made me so upset--no one should be so alone. 

I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 19, 2019

Get Over It

Thought this was a funny title for a book:
"Sh*t Happens So Get Over It."
There are no perfect lives out there. 

I reminded again this week how everyone has something: Mark Herd, Co-CEO of Oracle, died at 62 and and Elijah Cummings, elected to 12 terms in the House of Representatives, died at 68.

All the success int he world on the surface doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of schlimazel (misfortune) under the surface.

Unfortunately, sh*t definitely happens in life and we can get all spun up over it or we can take everything in faith and stride. 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

What does kill takes us to the next phase of existence. 

All you can do is your best, the rest is in the hands of the Almighty above. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2019

Check Out Those Rims

Wow, this was some car that I saw in Florida. 

Pimp my ride! LOL

Check out those awesome gold rims with this blue "oldies" car. 

This was definitely a standout even down there where there are plenty of Bentleys and Lamborghinis driving around. 

The owner of the car gave me a big thumbs up when I tool this photo. 

Hope you enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2019

Capital One Cafe Catastrophe

So I've seen the advertisement for Capital One (Bank) Cafes on TV for some time now.

Well I saw my first real one in Fort Lauderdale this week.

It was big, bright, comfortable and had children's games and a host of meeting and breakout rooms. 

They even gave us two cards for some free coffee at the embedded Pete's Coffee.

It was a corner store in a large, expensive space. 

It was great place to get some work done or relax. 

But aside for a cash machine or so, there was nothing that I could see having to do with banking in this place. 

Also, there were also almost no customers for the coffee.

Basically, it is totally confusing idea from a marketing and branding perspective--Is it a bank or a coffee house?  And why would I go to Capital One to get coffee or to Pete's Coffee to do my banking????

While I think that Capital One has literally outdone Starbucks in building a great cafe space, I don't think anyone will actually get what this is or why it is!

My guess is that whoever came up with this idea is going to be looking for a job within about 6 big money-losing months. ;-)

(Credit Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)
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October 16, 2019

Searching For Gold

This guy had some getup on in Fort Lauderdale on the toasty beach. 

He's in the ocean dressed in a full wetsuit with a mask over his face, a hat on his head, and the headphones over his ears. 

He had a metal detector and wand looking for lost gold in the water right off the beach. 

But didn't see him find a dime the whole time we were there. 

I can't believe these guys can actually find enough jewelry on the beach to make this worth while. 

Back and forth with the wand...searching, searching.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 15, 2019

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Coming Great American Aliyah."
If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.

May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 13, 2019

Filled With Love

Really liked this painting in Florida.

Hearts and flowers. 

Makes me feel filled with love!

Love, beautiful love.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."
When we see wrong and evil in this world, we have a duty to stand up and speak out with truth and integrity, to be a good influence and guide things for the better, and even to repair the world ("Tikkun Olam")...Words are perhaps a good start, but also, "words are cheap." The way to really judge someone is less by their words, and far more so by their actual deeds. Moreover, sometimes words aren't enough and we need to not just say something, but do something! As Edmund Burke stated, "The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." It's great to speak out when we see wrong, but more than that we have to be willing, when necessary, to act out--to do something.

As Jews, we need to be ready, willing, and able to stand up for what is right in the never ending war of good over evil in this world--regardless of silver or lead, G-d forbid--with our words and with our deeds.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 11, 2019

Rainbow Card Display

Thought this was a cool, even if rudimentary, museum display. 

Instead of postcards in the display holder, they put colored glass. 

Then just let the sun shine in and look at the awesome wall display. 

Might be fun to swap around to get different patterns and blends. 

As a kid, I always used to turn the display to see what just around the bend, in this case you get the disco effect. 

Color and light play nice together.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 10, 2019

Adding A Very Special Facebook Friend

So this was really strange what happened to me before Yom Kippur. 

My parents passed away 5-6 years ago already.

I always miss them so much!

Somehow, on Facebook, my dad's Facebook profile came up, which I was surprised to find. 

Looking at it, I saw under his friends was of course, my mom. 

I didn't even know my mom had a Facebook page (I don't think she ever really used it). 

But I was so curious, I clicked on her profile.  

I saw the prominent blue and white button to "Add Friend."

And I saw my hand reaching to press for that button. 

I so wanted to reach out and be able to be with, see, communicate with her again. 

Then I stopped myself realizing that the friend request, unfortunately, couldn't go to Heaven. 

If only it could...I would be so happy to press that button and have my mom hear from me again. ;-)

(Photo of my dear parents from Florida)
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October 8, 2019

Interplanetary Travel - Coming Soon


Awesome presentation on Interplanetary Travel by Charlie Kuehmann, VP Materials Engineering at SpaceX and Tesla. 

Interplanetary travel and colonization is one of the most exciting possibilities for mankind.  

It's all just beginning (we've only been in orbit for about 50 years). 

One of the keys Charlie mentioned at SpaceX and Telsa is how quickly we learn. 

It's okay to fail, as long as we learn quickly and progress from it.  

The progress with reusable rockets at SpaceX is impressive. 

Can't wait for more to come soon.  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 

To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 

The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 

It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.

I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 

In the end, believing that we don't have all the answers, but that we are in G-d's good hands. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2019

It Spills Over

Sometimes the glass is not half full or half empty. 

But rather is spills over entirely. 

There is nothing, nothing left inside. 

Worse even is when the glass completely shatters.

Then there isn't even a vessel anymore. 

All that's left is to pick up the pieces. 

As humans, we try to fill up the water, stop the water inside from spilling out, and to save the glass.

The rest is in G-d's hands. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 6, 2019

Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier’s Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier's Eyes."
He said, just think about it: “You have the chance to say I’m sorry, I regret what I did, and I won’t do it again, and be forgiven — what a tremendous opportunity that is!” I had never really thought of repentance in this particular way…as an opportunity. Usually, it’s more of something that is uncomfortable, difficult, and that we really don’t want to have to do.

So with a few more days to go before Yom Kippur, let us thank G-d for the chance to make amends and do better in life, because this is an incredible opportunity and a true blessing, and one that we do not know will ever come again.


(Credit Photo: Gil Kremer, Israel Defense Forces)
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October 4, 2019

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Celebrating With Security."

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn't there just for show, it's there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly--in defiance and in faith!

While I don't know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

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October 2, 2019

Who's Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 

Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 

Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.

Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:
Gedaliah didn't fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.

I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 

Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur--fasting and atonement. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 1, 2019

The Founding Of Zionism

Key Person Year Published Work Main Idea
Avraham Mapu 1853 The Love of Zion Longing of Jewish people for their ancestral homeland
Moses Hess 1862 Rome and Jerusalem Europe's welcome to Jews is tenuous, and Jews should seek return to homeland
Leon Pinsker 1882 Auto-Emancipation Jews are not accepted in European host countries, and are urged to seek national rebirth
Nathan Birnbaum 1890 Self-Emancipation Coined the term Zionism referring to a movement to re-create a national Jewish home in Israel
Chaim Nachman Bialik 1892
El Hatzipor      (To The Bird)
Poem on longing for return to Zion
Chaim Nachman Bialik 1898 Mikra'ei Zion (Assemblies of Zion) Poem of hope and expectation of return to Zion
Theodor Herzl 1896 The Jewish State Jewish State will usher an end to rabid anti-Semitism everywhere
Theodor Herzl 1897 Launched Zionism as political movement and convened first Zionist Congress
Theodor Herzl 1902 Altneuland Envisions idyllic future Jewish state
Ze'ev Jabotinsky 1923 Samson Nazorei Ideal of active, courageous, Jewish warrior

I am reading the book Israel: "A Concise History of a Nation Reborn" by Daniel Gordis.

I've prepared this summary of the founding of Zionism, which I have briefly summarized above.

Hope this is helpful to those interested in the origins of the founding of the modern State of Israel. 

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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