Showing posts with label Friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friendship. 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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 5, 2019

Shabbat Shalom Baby!

Shabbat Shalom Baby!

(Source Graphic: Adapted by Andy Blumenthal from Miami Neo-Pop Artist, Mr. Babes)

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

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 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

May 25, 2018

Left Handshake Is Right

So I heard about someone misinterpreting something I did for the worse.

Occasionally, when someone tries to shake my hand, instead of shaking with my right hand, I will take their hand in my left. 

I'll do this for various reasons such as arthritic pain or from dirt (like ink or cleaning ) from some prior work I was doing. 

But always when I extend my hand it is with warmth and friendship. 

However, I learned that one person took this handshake as a serious personal affront. 

They thought that I was "disrespecting" them intentionally.

So I learned that even the most everyday, mundane gestures like a handshake, but done differently, can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. 

Why do we judge others for the bad?

Maybe because we don't trust, don't want to ask, don't want to know, or have had bad experiences in life that jade us. 

But sometimes a handshake is just a handshake whether with the right or left hand. 

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

May 9, 2018

Two Beautiful Hearts

So a very nice elderly lady we know from synagogue took a bad fall and broke her leg really badly...like in half.

She put up on Facebook that she had undergone surgery, had a metal rod and plate inserted in her leg, and was recovering in the hospital--and she wanted visitors. 

My wife saw the message on Facebook, and we ran over to the hospital to see how she was and spend some time with her to try and cheer her up. 

Considering how badly she had been hurt, she was actually in amazingly good spirits. 

A couple of her neighbors were there in the hospital visiting her as well. 

One of them had actually heard her screams from the backyard where she had fallen by her pond and had helped keep her from going into shock, cradled her head in her lap, and called for rescue services.

When I commented how amazing she was and that she was a real hero pointing to the heart--she said it was really nothing, and went on to say"
I have two hearts!

And she pointed to one on the left and one on the right. 

I thought to myself that really we should all have two hearts like that to care and to give to others. 

One heart is us alone. 

Two hearts are when we join with others. 

"Two hearts that beat as one"--one for caring and one for giving. ;-)

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

March 10, 2018

Synagogue, To Laugh And To Cry

So I am learning that synagogue is more than a place to worship G-d. 

It is a place of and for the people to express their full range of emotions. 

Frankly, I think it is a place for people to laugh and to cry. 

Rarely, a week goes by when not one or both of these emotions/actions happen. 

Yes, we cry out to G-d in supplication and also are joyous in his holy majesty and presence. 

But more than that, as a community, we come together to share of our week and ourselves with each other. 

One one hand, we laugh with each other at the funny and ridiculous things that happen to us and at the joy we feel for the blessings that G-d bestows on us daily. 

On the other, we cry on each other's shoulders at the pain and loss that we (G-d forbid) at times must face and endure in the face of illness, evil, and tragedy.

Just today, both things happened in the synagogue and my heart was at one time uplifted with gladness and then at another greatly saddened with the hurt shared--occurrences of each in just a short span of time. 

Yes, we laugh and we cry together--alone, it is at once empty and at the other unbearable. 

We need to support each other; there is no other way that is not extreme madness. 

Put your arms around another to embrace them in great happiness and to let them cry mightily on your shoulder. 

Sharing with each other at our houses of worship--that is how we show G-d that we are bound to Him and to each others' souls--all children of G-d trying to make it together to the next service. ;-)

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

May 30, 2017

Jewish In Florida



These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.
"Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values."
The second were about 20 cans ("pushkas") for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  

Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 

The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.
"Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One."
There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here...

There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 

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

May 15, 2016

2 Jobs Are Better Than 1

So this is a funny story that my friend reminded me (honestly, I had almost completely forgotten about it)...

We were in college (business school) looking for our first real corporate jobs for the Summer. 

With G-d's blessing, I ended up with 2 nice offers.

But my good friend didn't have a job.

So I offered one to him.

I was still a kid...what did I know!

I told one company that I accepted and the other company that I had a friend that was interested (of course, I would vouch for him). 

So on day 1 of the Summer job, my friend shows up there in the World Trade Center on the 99th floor (yeah, this is before 9/11 took the whole place down).

The corporate folks talked about it for 5 minutes and said he could stay.

Voila now we both had summer jobs!

Honestly, I can't believe we ever had the chutzpah, but in those days people helped each other out more. 

2 4 1 and 1 4 All. 

And that's how we both got started in the NY business world. ;-)

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

April 30, 2016

Losing The Weight

So when I was young, I may have aspired to be Superman.  

Now, I am a little more realistic in my dreams and understanding of my capabilities. 

Since my hips started deteriorating almost 3 years ago, and I had the 2 hip replacements, it has been challenging at times with mobility and of course, weight gain. 

But as I continue to get back to myself, some people have been particularly encouraging and inspiring to me.  

One is a terrific doctor that my wife had recommended, and she told me straight up to just lose the weight. 

She told me about JuicePlus pills--which I found a cheaper version with JuiceFestiv that are capsules for organic fruit and vegetables that energizes and also fills you up. 

She also told me simply what her principle has been, "Eat half!" 

Next, I am grateful to my friend, Jacob Elbaz, who told me how he wants me around a long time as a friend and with my family.  

He also had good advice, "Just one pound a week...how hard is that?"

Finally, I am grateful to my wife who in a most caring way is cooking the right foods now and making me lots of healthy mush--some of it even edible.

With G-d's help, I believe that I can do it!  ;-)

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

April 2, 2016

If I Could Get Back Time

My good friend, Jacob Elbaz, taught me this awesome saying in synagogue today:
__________________

"Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a present. "
__________________


Another way that my dad taught me is this:

______________________________________________________________

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. 

__________________________________________

Hope you enjoy these!

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

February 14, 2016

Your Computer Is All Wet

So I was at my first synagogue men's club event last week.

A guy at the door was checking people in with a laptop lent by my friend, who is the head of the men's club.

Sitting at the desk, the check-in guy had a cup of soda and at one point, it got knocked over and spilled on top of the MacAir. 

I raced over with some napkins to try and wipe it off quickly, and my friend grabbed his laptop and held it upside down to try and get the spill out.

For a while, the computer stayed on, but as I feared all the sugary stuff in the soda would do it in so it wouldn't turn on again. 

I emailed my friend a number of times during the week to find out how his laptop was doing. 

He had made an appointment with AppleCare and they said they could fix it, but he said it would cost almost as much as a new computer. 

Also, they gave him a contact somewhere else that specializes in recovering the data/contents on the computer. 

The saga with the computer isn't over, but on Shabbat my friend in synagogue said to me, "You know, you were the only one who contacted me to inquire how I was doing with the laptop."

And he gave me a warm smile that said thank you for actually giving a damn. 

I thought to myself perhaps we only have a few real friends in the world and it's not just about who gives us that old ada-boy at the fun events. ;-)

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

December 11, 2015

Judeo-Christian - Friendship and Ties

So over Thanksgiving holiday, we went to see the new Seth Rogen movie, The Night Before

It's full of crazy antics as they party on Christmas eve, and Rogen, the token Jew, gets himself in all sorts of trouble, including throwing up in the mass from too much partying. 

But what I liked most about the movie was the friendship between people--in this case, between Christians and Jews.

Today, I read with great joy about the Vatican commemorating the 50th anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" (which I must say I was completely ignorant about), but which very importantly does the following:

1) Repudiates the charge of "Jewish deicide," exonerating Jews of any collective guilt for the death of Jesus. 
2) Affirms that G-d's covenant with Jews was never revoked.
3) Recognizes Christianity's Jewish roots. 

Continuing these positive developments between us, yesterday the Vatican issued a new document clarifying that the church exempts Jews from conversion, and that Jews are not excluded from G-d's salvation because they don't believe in Jesus. 

I think it is wonderful that in modern times, there has been an affirmation of the unity of mankind amidst a monotheist belief in G-d Almighty, our father, and the creator and sustainer of us all. 

The closer relations between Jew and Christians, especially over the last half century is a wonderful milestone that should, please G-d, grow stronger over time. 

Moreover, we should similarly see the people of all religions focus on our commonalties, rather than on our differences, and on doing good deeds one to the other, rather than fighting in the name of religion. 

Religion is peace and love, serving G-d and doing good--the rest is B.S. ;-)

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

November 13, 2015

What's With The Best Buds?

 I never quite understood the best buds t-shirt wave.

This is especially the case when the person is alone and there is no best bud anywhere to be found. 

We are all social animals, and perhaps, we all wish to have a best bud in our lives--someone to "buddy around with" and who knows and understands us, and unconditionally accepts us. 

Best buds seems to almost be able to read each others minds and finish each others sentences...and they laugh hysterically together about these mindless things for which apparently only they get it. 

When best buds are together, it's like they are almost in a bubble of their own world, and everyone else is on the outside, if they even exist to the buds at all. 

That's because bests buds are it--they have history, they share things in common, they think alike, and they work in tandem.

It's like getting two for the price of one: they are Batman and Robbin, Tonto and The Lone Ranger, Cheech and Chong, Laverne and Shirley, Simon and Garfunkel, and so many other couplings that stick together like peanut butter and jelly. 

If you have a best bud then you already know you don't need to give them a t-shirt to spell it out--the chemistry already says it all. ;-)

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

September 24, 2015

Everyone's Heart Is Something


This video has gone viral since Monday. 

A 6-year old girl instructs her mom and dad on how to treat each other better after her parent's divorce. 

"I just want everyone to be friends."

"If I can be nice, I think all of you can be too."

"I want everyone to smile."

"I think you can get your mean heights to low heights."

"My heart is something. Everyone's heart is something."

"If we live in a world where everyone is mean, then everyone will be a monster. What about the future?"

"If there is a little bit of person, we will eat them, then no one will ever be here, only the monsters will be in our place,"

"I want everything to be good and possible, nothing else."

So innocent and pure are her words.

Yes, a wake-up call to all of us!

If G-d can endow us with such pristine souls, surely we can nurture these and one day return them to the Maker, certainly no worse for the wear, and maybe even some better with good deeds done. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 20, 2015

Look How Great Magen David Is

The Magen David is the Star or Shield of David.

It is the symbol of the Jewish people and of Israel (it is center on the Israeli Flag, the Degel Yisrael), and dates back at least a 1,000 years. 


Magen David Sephardic Congregation is also the name of our wonderful new synagogue in Maryland.


As the amazing picture above shows, the Magen David actually can represent every single letter (24) of the Hebrew alphabet. 


As such, Magen David truly represents what a Jewish synagogue is and should be:


1) INCLUSIVE -- As every Hebrew letter is found in the Star of David, so too the synagogue is a place where every Jew, no matter Ashkenaz or Sephardic, Chasidim or Misnagdim, Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform--everyone is welcome and part of the greater family and community. The synagogue is a place we go to connect with our fellow Jews, where we respect and care for each other--our brothers and sisters, and where we Kibitz, laugh, and share of our selves and our heritage together. 


2) HOLY -- The Magen David is holy as the religious symbol of the Jewish people and representing all the hebrew letters as in the Torah and the Ten Commandments. Some also believe in a Kabbalistic or mystical symbolism to the points of the star. Similarly, the synagogue is a place of holiness, and the Mikdash Me'at or small Temple (until the Holy Temple is rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem).  It is the place we go to sacrifice to G-d and a central place where we can do good deeds for our fellow man. 


3) PRAYER AND LEARNING -- The Magen David represents the Jewish people, who are known as a people of the book.  And the Magen David with all the Hebrew letters can represent all the Bible, prayer book, and wisdom of our sages. Prayer and learning is central to our faith and service to G-d. Similarly, the synagogue (and Yeshiva or Jewish school) is the center of our religion where we go daily and on Shabbat and holidays to Pray and learn Torah.  


Magen David is an absolutely beautiful and meaningful symbol for who we are and what our synagogue ought to be. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to eshevbooks)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 16, 2015

CIO, Social Butterfly Or Tyrant

So I've seen it both ways...

There are those who "lead" by friendship, as if the workplace is one big playpen; and the notion is that those who have the most office buddies wins; to them it's not the mission or work that is important but rather it's a popularity contest, plain and simple--they are immature and still stuck in the preschool mode of thinking about what leadership is and how to work productively with others. 

Then there are others who "lead" by tyranny--it is a one person show and they are it; no one else has an viewpoint or idea that matters; anyone else who is good to great is a threat to them--they are insecure and narcissistic and the scariest thing in the world to them is to surround themselves with people smarter than themselves or give credit, respect, and honor to others.

Now there is nothing wrong with doing a coffee, lunch, or happy hour, networking, and building relationships with good people...in fact, interpersonal skills is a critical part of the job and of success.

However, those who flutter around smoozing it up with anyone and everyone, and unlike normal working discussions that have a congenial, "how you doing?" aspect and a serious, let's get down to business part, these social butterflies never get past the game on last night, their trip to Paris, or their one night stand...it's all personal, conferences, speeches, but no real work getting done (maybe some smoke and mirrors). 

Similarly, there are times, when decisions need to be made and the debate must end, and not everything in the office can be a vote where majority wins--sometimes tough decisions and trade-offs need to be made, authority exercised, and responsibility taken.

Nevertheless, it's when moderation and good judgement is lost and a person's emotional issues, personality disorders, and social anxieties take over that they act the fool--and they either rule by shaking hands and kissing babies (or the office equivalent of favors, favortism, and coffee or drinks, I'm buying!) or they are hard-a*sed, prickly jerks who cannot work with anyone that can pull their own weight and instead we see a flurry people make a dash for the exits. 

How do either of these types of people become leaders of anything? Don't the executives they report see or hear the chaos in the ranks below and the projects going bottom-up, kaput?

We've got to get along and nothing wrong with work friends, but we are here to do a job and do it well and for that we need to come together as decent human beings who treat each other with respect, dignity, and where everyone can make a valuable contribution--CIO social butterflies and inglorious tyrants begone! ;-)

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

January 5, 2015

Comfort In Mourning

While sitting in mourning (Shiva) for my dad (as previously I did just last year for my mom), people come and say the ancient Jewish words of comfort:

"May the Almighty comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem!"


The experience of sitting Shiva is humbling, being in mourning, sitting on a low stool, unshaven, and with torn garb, and reciting the words of the Kaddish (mourners prayer) out loud. 


"...May He who makes peace in the high places, grant [in his mercy] peace upon us, and upon all Israel, Amen."


But more than anything, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring from so many good people in the community. 


People have come to pray with me, tell me wonderful stories about my dad, and generally share with me in my mourning for him. 


I have been truly taken by the many people who have come both in good health, but also from people that were blind and with everything from broken arms to walking canes and to those who called thinking of me while they themselves are sick or even wheelchair-bound. 


People have shared their own stories of grief to let me know I wasn't alone, and they brought food so I definitely wouldn't be hungry. 


Others have told me how wonderful my dad was as a friend and in the community, how he made people smile and was always in good spirits (even perhaps when he had good reason not to be), and how he did so many good deeds (some that were known and many others that were not). 


I have been amazed how people stay not just for prayer services, but take the time to really talk to me, to give selflessly and generously, even from their own busy family and work lives and schedules. 


Some of the people I know from the community, some just knew my dad, but I realize how these good, giving people are really worth knowing as human beings--not because they were my dad's friends or gave to me at this time of mourning, but because they are truly spiritual people, who just desire to do some good in the world--like my dad who did this for others (and how he taught me all my life and especially as a child). 


I hope that this time of mourning is not just one of finding comfort and healing, but also a re-awakening of my own feelings for community, spirituality, and selflessness. 


I have much room for personal growth for myself, but also many role models around who have set the bar very high. Also, my dad has left some VERY big shoes for me to fill. ;-)


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

October 10, 2014

What Is The World Coming To?

This sign from a business on trendy Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale...for real.

Pay for the water you drink, the air you breath, and the doings you leave behind. 

Money makes the world go round, but what happened to love, friendship, and brotherhood. 

It only goes as far as the restroom apparently! ;-)

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