Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts

October 14, 2020

Sweet Little Bunny

Wow, what a sweet little bunny. 

Surprised s/he let me get so close without hopping away. 

The eyes seemed a little bugged out. 

Nothing to be afraid of little bunny. 

We're not on the survival TV show Alone, so no one here is going to eat you. 

Run free and enjoy the garden little bunny. 

Life is good for you. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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September 30, 2020

Presidential Debates Sink To New Low!

If you thought the Presidential Debates couldn't get any worse than 2016 with "Crooked Hillary."

Last Night with "Sleepy Joe" hit rock bottom!

From BOTH candidates, the lack of coherent answers, coupled with constant interruptions, yelling, put downs, and name-calling was so completely discouraging and disgusting. 

Came away feeling like we were at a Mixed Martial Arts tournament rather a Presidential Debate for the United States of America.

What has happened to our great nation?

We are becoming the laughing stock to the entire world. 

If we can't conduct ourselves with dignity, courtesy, respect, and integrity towards each other, how can we lead this country, let alone the world?

May G-d help us to find our footing again, to unite around the noble principles and values of freedom, diversity, equality, democracy, capitalism, and human rights for which this country was founded, and change the awful political sinkhole of divisiveness, strife, and sheer indecency that we are caught in.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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June 18, 2020

Freedom But Disparity

America is a great country.

The freedom, rights, and opportunities we have is exceptional and enviable in the world and history.

But the disparity between rich and poor, majorities and minorities is grotesque.

On one side of the street are the mansions, and on the other are the slums.

One on side of the train station are those going off to work, and on the other side are the homeless lying in the gutter.

On one side of the scale are people fat with money and power, and on the other side are people hungry and decaying.

Wealth is overflowing for those that are the fortunate, but also corruption runs systematically deep.

This isn't an issue of political party, but one of the righteousness of men's hearts.

G-d watches and man disappoints, but the the future is still wide open.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 1, 2020

Our Cities Are Burning

I like the saying on this guys knapsack:
Discipline equals freedom.

The opposite is true too:

From the violent riots across the country the last week, even a modicum of discipline has gone out the window, and with that comes a curtailment of freedom through deployment of the National Guard, Military, and imposition of curfews and more. 

There was a time that peaceful protests led by leaders with integrity held sway...but now it's anarchy out there!

Today, the cities are burning, the stores are being looted, people are afraid, and our republic is being torn asunder by racism and filthy election politics. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2020

Freedom USA!

Nothing says freedom in the USA like a nice Three Wheeler Motorcycle. 

Vroom Vroom!

Super fun and a perhaps little more stability for your butt. 

If the air is clear and the road empty, you can let the wind blow through your hair and the whole world go by. 

F*** everything! 

Life was made for living.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dossy and Andy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2020

We Impact Each Other's Souls

Finishing Natan Sharansky's book Fear No Evil

And I rarely write twice on a book or movie, but this was so impactful. 

First on our souls, Sharansky writes:
The law of attraction, interconnection, and interdependence of human souls...there is a universal gravitational pull of souls, of the bond between them and influence of one soul on the other. 

Wow, Sharansky understood the deeper meaning of the soul and how they all emanate and are pieces from G-d and they are all connected to their source and each other, and what one person says or does impacts all the others (and thereby G-d himself). 

Literally, I experienced this the other day...when I personally made amends on something I felt that I had done wrong, and I could literally feel somehow righting a wrong in the universe and G-d, Himself, smiling down on me. 

It was the best feeling I think I have ever had in my life. 

Second on fear, Sharansky writes:

My inner freedom [is] more powerful than the external bondage...[and] fear of the L-rd...is a necessary prerequisite for man's achieving inner freedom, and is also the prerequisite for spiritual resolve, the fear of the L-rd is the only thing that can conquer human fear.

Wow again. Sharansky through his nine years of suffering and hardships in Soviet prisons and labor camps found his deep inner strength to resist the tyranny of the KGB worldly masters and overcame them with his finding his fear and faith in G-d and was able to overcome. 

These are two amazing heavenly lessons that Sharansky shares with us from enduring and overcoming his incredible worldly hardships.

I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this and am with G-d's help continuing to quench my thirst for this type of wisdom and true enlightenment.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2020

Free COVID-19 Cure

This sign was just too great. 

Advertisement with the little slips at the bottom to tear off. 
Free Cure for COVID-19.
Please take an information strip below

And what do the strips say:
Stay the F**K at home

I wonder why no one took any of the strips? LOL

Like every meaningful issue, we have people on both sides of the aisle fighting it out what is the right thing to do. 

And when it comes to life and liberty, passions certainly run high. ;-)

(Credit Photo to my son-in-law Itzchak for sharing this with me from his friend in California)
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February 9, 2020

From Victims To Victors

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "From Victims To Victors."
The critical image of transformation of the Israelites going from the very depths of slavery to the lofty heights of redemption, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and going to the Promised Land is relived again in our very own times. This happened immediately after the Holocaust, when the Jews left the death camps of Europe (in fact, many coming by boat over the Mediterranean Sea instead of on foot over the Red Sea as in biblical times) to come to Israel. Here too, the Jews went on to fight as free men in the War of Independence for the founding of the State of Israel just like the Israelites fought the Amalekites in the desert and the Seven Nations to receive the Promised Land of Israel. Furthermore, just like we received the Torah after the redemption from Egypt, we are seeing an incredible resurgence of Torah learning in Israel today.

In both cases of redemption, we had to transform from being victims of slavery and persecution to instead taking the reins in our hands, and with Hashem's help, determining our own destiny and becoming the victors! Incredibly, just as the Israelites were redeemed by Hashem from Egypt and brought to conquer the Promised land 3300 years ago, so too were we, Jews, brought from the ashes of Auschwitz to the shores of the Israel to fight and become "a free nation in our Land, the Land of Zion, Jerusalem" (Hatikvah). And just like the redemption from Egypt resulted in the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to worship Hashem in the desert, so too will we soon relive the redemption in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, in the right time, we will need to have faith and courage to rebuild it with our very hands, and this will happen speedily and truly in our days. May Hashem let it be!


(Credit Photo: 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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July 4, 2019

@4th of July Parade, Washington D.C.








(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 6, 2019

Amazing Cuban Art







I never knew about Cuban art until we visited Cernuda Arte gallery in Coral Gables, Florida.

They treated us like royalty and gave us a personal guided tour of two buildings filled with works by Cuban artists still at home in Cuba and here in exile. 

This was better than many museums that I've been too. 

I just want to thank the gallery owners and our guide for a wonderful showing and tell them how impressed we were with the art there. 

Even while the Cuban people are repressed by their dictatorial leaders, there is so much of interest in Cuba: from their colorful colonial architecture to their cool "oldie cars", renown cigar smokes, some pretty talented artists, and I'm sure much more. 

Cuba is only 485 miles from the USA!

I pray for the freedom of the Cuban people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019 - Whitewater Rafting


(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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April 19, 2019

Novel Passover Haggadah


Thought this was a pretty cool Passover Haggadah. 

Shaped like a wine bottle!

Sort of sets the stage for the four cups of wine at the Seder. 

I found this Haggadah in Israel, and I'm glad I got a few of them.  

Wishing everyone a joyous Passover and Easter holiday! ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 2, 2019

Moses' Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Moses's Handicap."
In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.

We can't let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life--we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d's help.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 13, 2018

A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame


This story continues to fascinate me. 

China's social credit system started in 2015. 

China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as "information collectors" (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing--good and bad. 

Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 

If you do good things in Chinese society--helping people, cleaning up, being honest--you get points added. 

If you do bad things in China--fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest--you get points deducted. 

Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble--and can get blacklisted!

A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 

But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts--it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 

While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of "Big Brother"!

On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn't that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?

Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?

It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.

Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people's knickers is another. 

This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. ;-)
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October 20, 2018

Shabbat Shalom and Good Luck On The Jackpot

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Shabbat Shalom and Good luck on The Jackpot."
So the Mega Millions jackpot is up to an astonishing $1.6B! This is the largest lottery in U.S. history. Instantly you become one of the richest people in the world. At the kiddush after shul today, it didn't take long for the conversation to hit on the upcoming lottery drawing. 
Read about it--it was funny! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 14, 2018

Dreaming of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Dream of Zion."
To flourish in the land of milk and honey.
To celebrate the Shabbat and holidays as in the days of old.
To revere the bravery and heroism of the defenders of Israel.
To live and worship as a Jew without discrimination, racism, and hatred.
To fulfill the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Hope you enjoy and we can all one day live the dream! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2018

An 80-Year-Old's Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 

And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. :)

1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:
A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.  With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, "You see it just clicks!"

2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:
When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!

3) BURIED TOGETHER:
"When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven."

4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE
He pointed to his belly and said, "I'm 80 here." And then pointed to his groin area, and said, "But I'm 20 here!"

5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:
While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and "will never be with a woman over 40...not a day over!"  He said, "It's like an old Cadillac!" Moreover, he said, if a woman is "not perfect" and has a scar like from having her appendix out, "forget it!"

6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:
He said, "I like to write, play guitar and dance." And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time. 

7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:
People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 

8) INFINITELY STUPID:
He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:  "You know what that means?  This means that there is no limit to how stupid some people can be!"  

8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:
I asked what he did for a living, and he said "Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons."  I said, "Wow, you're very fortunate!"  He said, "No, in life, you make your own luck!"

10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:
"You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don't care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!" I said, "Ok, see you next week and we'll talk again."  He said, "Maybe I will or maybe I won't talk to you ever again."

Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that's like. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 
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July 4, 2018

June 24, 2018

Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.

And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 

When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 

Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 

I can't imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this...so natural, so carefree, so back to living!

Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it's not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 

Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!

Perhaps, it's a lesson about life these days...we're adults, we're responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life's responsibilities. 

But maybe, just maybe, there is something--a lot--to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 

Why do we have to wait until we're old...too old to work anymore...and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be.  

We can't run from our responsibilities but isn't it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.

Life is too short to let it get away from us. 

Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun...those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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