Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends. Show all posts

September 11, 2019

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.

I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.

Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 

At the same time, I always learned growing up that:
Blood is thicker than water.
Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 

Yet you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. 

There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 

Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even "black sheep" of the family. 

I guess in the end what's most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  

Whatever the designation--family or friends--we need each other.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2019

What's Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.

Level 3: Family/Friends
The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 

Level 2: Professionals
The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 

Level 1: Acquaintances
The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 

This is a good way to assess your relationships--is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  ;-)

(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2018

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 

Frightening loneliness statistics:

- One in 11 Americans over age 50 "lacks a spouse, partner, or living child."

- More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  

- 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 

Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 

The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:

- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day

- Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day

Loneliness is worse for mortality than:

- Obesity 

- Physical activity

"The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful...we have to address loneliness," says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  

Truly, no man is an island!

Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.

Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 

Alone we die--together we live. 

It's not just power in numbers, it's life itself. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 19, 2018

Happy Friendsgiving

So I learned a new holiday terms today. 

Of course, you know about Thanksgiving--when we celebrate with our family all the wonderful things in life that G-d has blessed us with. 

Well now there is "Friendsgiving."

This typically occurs on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and is enjoyed with friends (instead of family). 

We are still grateful, but we just are thankful with a different set of significant others in our lives. 

To me there is nothing like my family--as my father taught me:
Blood is thicker than water. 

But friends are important in our lives as well, and good and true friends are so hard to come by--so we should celebrate them and with them whenever possible too. 

Finally, I choose this flower, "Bird of Paradise" for this blog, because I love it and it is something wonderful from G-d that I am grateful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving to All!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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July 8, 2018

Every Time I Go Mexico

Beautiful guitar band @Lake Needwood today.

First, we went for a nice kayak boat ride around the lake.

Then I couldn't help stopping and listening to this relaxing and peaceful music. 

These guys were great--I'd pay to listen to them. 

Just a bunch of friends getting together to play beautiful music.

This is life as it should be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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June 22, 2018

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness

So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!

They don't want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that's the way it is. 

On top of it, they don't even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 

One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 

Finally, finally, finally--the employer gave in--for just a single day!

The person was so happy--one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 

I was so happy for them!

Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 

Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.

There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 

People need a day to rejuvenate.

Everything is nature does.

Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 

There is a natural cycle to things--peaks and valleys--and we need to have some rest and relaxation--to work for something and not for nothing. 

The joy on this person to just have a day off--it was so incredible and touching. 

It spoke light years to me about treating people right--just--humanly--with compassion--and doing good over evil in this world.

What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  

Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 

Care for people--they are people. 

Love people--they are G-d's beautiful children. 

Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to--to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  
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June 16, 2018

Shabbat Risk

I haven't played Risk in years. 

But my daughter and her husband came for Shabbat, and we sat down and had a great game. 

We distributed the countries. 

Placed our enemies. 

And went to battle, army to army. 

By the time it was over, my daughter had conquered Europe, Africa, and North and South Americas.

It was so good to see her taking country after country from my son-in-law and me. 

My son-in-law joked that he had underestimated her. 

We had a good laugh and nice time just sitting down at the kitchen table and playing a board game. 

Afterward, we went down to the pool and relaxed in the deck chairs and then my wife and I took off our shoes and walked in the grass in the garden. 

I laid down on the beautiful green lawn and looked up watching some planes jet over in the clear blue sky. 

It was absolutely beautiful weather and a marvelous day today with my family. 

In the morning we went to Synagogue and the sit-down kiddush with our friends.

I am grateful to G-d for all this and for the peace of the wonderful Shabbat! 

Also, what more can a man ask for Father's Day. ;-)
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April 8, 2018

Haleli @Mimouna with Magen David Synagogue



Praise be our G-d, the Master of the Universe.

May he bless us with an abundance of good for the New Year after the Passover commemoration of our exodus from slavery to His redemption and the Holy Land of Israel.

Blessings, Peace, Health, Prosperity, and Joy!

What a lovely event with the community of Magen David Synagogue in Maryland.

My heart is uplifted by the song, dance, friendship, and faith in the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 10, 2018

Among All The Apples

This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods--this Valentine's Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples. 

Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times. 

I've learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.

Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.

But also the community. 

We all need people. 

None of us is an island. 

At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of "Shabbat Shalom," the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.

Like the apples, we're all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together. 

As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat. 

People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.

Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals. 

Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily. 

One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!

Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.

Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with. 

For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people--it's like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. 

Obviously, I can't--no one really can--but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do--and of course, I have no real idea. 

Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this--since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 22, 2017

It's About The People

The older (not that old) that I get, the more I realize that life and success is all about the people. 

Whether it's our families, friends, and colleagues--it's how we treat people and the relationships we form that count--and that enable us to achieve success together!

Many people just count their money instead of counting their blessings of hearts and souls. 

But while we certainly need a certain amount of $$$ to live, we really need ❤ to thrive. 

Today, before the Thanksgiving holiday, I just took a little time to walk around and talk with people here, thank them for their good work and friendships, and wish them a good holiday. 

It was such a little thing, but honestly I felt so good doing it. 

I am thankful for so many things this year, including all the wonderful people in my life who do so much to make my life joyous and fulfilling, but I am also grateful to G-d for continuing to open my eyes to what and who(s) that really count. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2017

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork - Remember you're not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance - Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life--professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual--then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective - You've got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side--we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor - When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you're looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly...perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith - No matter what...G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life's journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

"The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!" (or in Hebrew "Adonai li v'lo ira")

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 5, 2017

Facebook Is Dead!

So folks, here is my absolutely contrarian prediction. 
Facebook Is Dead!
Who in their right mind would say something like that?

Facebook has 2 billions users! 

Well I am one of those users.

But even though I use it. 

I recognize that it is essentially useless and a waste of time. 

Yes, there are cute videos and messages and photos on there. 

But basically if you're honest, it's mostly a lot of garbage and time sink!

Twitter has a newsfeed purpose. 

Instagram has a photo sharing purpose. 

LinkedIn has a professional networking purpose. 

But Facebook is a glorious made-up fad!

I believe that people are getting tired of the:

- Meaningless, mind-numbing posts of what they had for breakfast today (and every other fart, literally). 

- Phony self-branding veneer as if everything is always perfect in their lives (look I'm on another vacation skydiving!)

- Virtual relationships rather than genuine friendships and real connections (I'm fiends with over 3,000 people!)

- The millions of empty slogans, political statements, and impersonal wishes to everyone for every occasion (have a really happy birthday!)

Frankly, I think that people are reaching the point of realization where they want more from the time they spend online.

- More depth of feelings

- More substance of thought

- More reality than superficiality. 

Yes, we all need some downtime too to mellow and just laugh a little, but I am fairly certain that the time people are putting into Facebook is not really meeting their true social networking needs. 

In the end, we will find out that Facebook is the epitome of the greatest fool theory--where everyone dumps their shit from the day, hoping that there is some greater fool who will superficially lopping it all up. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2017

It's Just Bling

So sitting in synagogue today, my friend Jacob said something very interesting to me.

He was talking about some very wealthy people with multi-millions and even billions. 

And then he says, you know what the difference is between the rich and everyone else:
"Nothing!"

I asked him what he meant by this.

Then he starts listing off to me like this:
"Well, they live in a home, and you live in a home.
They drive a car, and you drive a car.
They eat food and you eat food."
And it was amazing how smart his words were, and it hit me how right he was. 

It's all sort of just in our minds.

Their homes are bigger and nicer; their cars are more luxurious and fancier; their food is better and tastier...but what difference is any of that really.

We both have a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements and a nice place to sleep. 

We both have a car that gets us from here to there and back again. 

We both have food and drink to fill our bellies and nourish us. 

Isn't the rest just a bunch of bling?

It's branding and marketing and the sense of luxury that some are better and have more than others. 

But beyond the essentials, we really don't need any of that!

What we do need is our relationships--people we care about and love and who love us. 

The ability to have a deep impact on others. 

To influence them and make a difference in their lives--in what they do and how they treat others. 

The ability to help people and society. 

The bling is just bling. 

The ability to love and influence that is true wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 20, 2017

I Got The Call

I got the call!

But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 

No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 

He said:
"You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash--no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you're real friends are."

So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.

This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time

Person:
"You know you're like family to me Andy...I need $2,000--in cash--by 7 pm. I'll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday."

Me (Stunned):
"What--is this a joke or something?"

Person:
{Repeats again the request}

Me:
"OMG. What's wrong--is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?"

Person:
"Uh, everyone's fine...don't ask me any questions--there's no time for this now."

Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:
"Oh, only $2,000--I thought maybe you needed $2 million--that's no problem, of course."

Person:
"Please don't make jokes now Andy--this isn't funny!"

Me {Trying once again to get some more--any--information}:
"Can you just explain to me what's going on--I really want to understand, so I can help you."

Person:
"Do you have the cash or not?"

Me: 
"To be frank no. I don't keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more...} Could you take a check or something else?"

Person:
"No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?"

Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:
"Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,"

Person {seeing they weren't getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:
"Okay, well if you can't help, I'll just call someone else--thanks {hanging up on me}!" 

WOW!

Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.

But I wasn't sorry...my college professor was right on, thank G-d--I do know who my friends are!

Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people--outside of any sane and normal context--that are seeking to "friend" you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 7, 2017

How Much Can You Love Something?


Notice that the title of this blog is not how much can you love G-d or someone...

Those can be virtually infinite. 

I remember my dad was so devoted to G-d and his family. 

He used to say:

"I would go through fire for my family [and of course G-d]."

And we all knew from his daily actions that he meant it! 

But how about for things--how much do some people love their things?

I read today in the Wall Street Journal how David Rockefeller's estate of paintings, porcelain, and silver was slated to sell for $700 million!

That's a lot of prized possessions of [lovely] material things!

But even things that aren't so pricey are incredibly beloved to many people. 

In these photos, someone who must really love bowling has adorned their home and property with dozens of bowling bowls. 


Literally on the fence and in big piles as decoration in the yard all around the home. 

True, it's colorful, novel, and sort of interesting, but really you love bowling that much!

Yes, we are want to be comfortable with our special things especially when they provide good memories and sentimental feelings.

But whether a bowling bowl house or a Rockefeller estate, it's only truly worth something if there is G-d and loving people in it with you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 15, 2017

When Life Has Meaning

What makes meaning in life?

Faith.

Family.

Friends.

Love.

Giving.

Integrity. 

Purpose.

Learning. 

Growth.

Struggle. 

Hope.

Meaning is crucial to personal happiness and well-being. 

Without meaning there is worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.

Seek meaning to prolong your life and make it a life truly worth living. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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March 11, 2017

Magen David's Got Purim Talent 2017






































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