Showing posts with label Justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Justice. Show all posts

July 20, 2019

Children's Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Children's Voices and Scars."

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are "destroyed" from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children--those that are still innocent and defenseless--are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:
  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don't be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can't as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2019

I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly."
I watch with terror the rockets fly.
The plumes of white smoke in the sky.
Randomly, randomly where will they fall.
A car, a home, a factory, a kindergarten.
The shrapnel penetrating the flesh of its victims.
The rockets do not know the difference,
Between military and civilian, men and women, children and old.
Please pray for the peace and security for Israel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Reposted here in video by Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry)
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March 6, 2019

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 

This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 

The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 

As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 

While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 

When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor--and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold--shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  

Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population--we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 

Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 

(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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December 2, 2018

Triad of Determinants: Nature, Nurture, and Soul

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Nature, Nurture, and Soul."
We are not just what nature and nurture make us–but rather, there is a third leg of this triad of factors that make us who we are, and that third and most important element is that we each have a soul. The soul of each person guides us to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and sacred and impure, and to not just give in to our weaknesses, which each person has.

Hope you enjoy the article! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2018

Striving To Be Good Enough (This Time Around)

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, "When Are We Good Enough?"
I too believe strongly in reincarnation. I think that is partially what G-d means by doing justice in this world. If you bomb out in life and don't fulfill your true potential than G-d sends you back for another try.  And this can happen as many times as it takes to get it right!

I hope I am getting it right in my life this time around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2018

A Half Truth

So everyone is always playing with the truth. 

They don't want people to really know the truth, but they don't want to call it a real lie.

Hence the saying:
"It's just a white lie!"

A white lie is usually taken as in "pure" or "righteous"--in other words, there is a good reason (like to prevent someone from getting hurt) for lying, . 

Yes, sure there is (LOL).

Sometimes people lie to themselves:
"What you don't know can't harm you!"

Most often, people tell what they call half truths.

This is commonly referred to as:
"Beating around the bush!"

However, don't tell anyone:
A half truth is a lie!

And just like beating around the bush arouses the birds to fly and get caught in a net--that's what telling half truths do too. 

Why is it so hard to tell the whole truth, because that would make most people look pretty bad. 

If people only knew.

But someday, of course, they will. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 5, 2018

Part 5 - Riverdale Sex Abuse

Please click the photo to enlarge or you can go straight to the link at the SAR website.

The summary findings from the investigation on the child sex abuse at SAR Academy found the following regarding Stanley Rosenfeld and "Rabbi" Sheldon Schwartz:

T&M uncovered the following regarding Rosenfeld's tenure and behavior while at SAR:
  • Rosenfeld was an administrator at SAR from 1974 to 1977 and he was also employed as a teacher by the school during the 1986-87 school year. The precise circumstances of his departure and rehire remain unknown.
  • Twelve former SAR students and one non-SAR student reported that Rosenfeld sexually abused them during his time as an SAR Academy faculty member.  
  • According to two victims, Rosenfeld's misconduct was reported to at least one member of SAR's administration at the time of these abuses.  
  • The investigation could not conclusively determine whether the administrators involved in the rehiring of Rosenfeld were aware of the nature of the allegations at the time of his rehire.  

T&M uncovered the following regarding Rabbi Schwartz's behavior while at SAR:
  • According to multiple victims, details of Rosenfeld's behavior were, at the time, raised directly to Rabbi Schwartz, who not only failed to act on the information appropriately, but was also alleged to have been present at and/or to have brought students to Rosenfeld's home for Shabbat visits during which abuse took place.
  • Separately, through the course of this investigative effort, several students came forward alleging Rabbi Schwartz had acted inappropriately with them.  

Rabbi Schwartz served as a Judaic studies teacher until he was suspended in January 2018, once allegations concerning his knowledge of Rosenfeld's behavior were brought to the attention of SAR. His employment has since been terminated.  Current members of the SAR administration were not aware of the allegations regarding Rabbi Schwartz until the commencement of the investigation.

T&M's findings and the fact that Rosenfeld appears to have worked at and abused children at multiple schools and camps in the New York area gives all of us reason to pause and consider whether we are truly doing enough to protect our children. 

For those of you who sincerely listened and believed the cries of the many victims, thank you.

For those of you who were complicit and even continued in the denials, I will just say to you that G-d sees all!
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Justice Under The Microscope

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "We Are All Kavanaugh."
Under the microscope of the media, political pundits, and the FBI, no one is guiltless. 

When it comes to promoting and appointing people to the highest positions of our great nations, businesses, and organizations, we need to ensure the highest integrity. 

At the same time, we need to weigh the good and the bad in people, and not hold them to a bar that no one can live up to. 

This is a difficult time for the nation where we must always protect women's rights and also protect people from being presumed guilty.  

Let's hope for Heaven's guidance in ensuring a good decision for the Supreme court and the Justice System.  

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 29, 2018

There is Meaning

Please read my new blog at The Times of Israel called, "Is It Really All In Vain?"
On Sukkot, we read Megillat Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) about "vanity of vanities; all is vanity"--everything is temporal in this world and seems meaningless. Yet in what we perceive as meaningless, there is truly so much meaning when we understand the bigger picture of what is happening to us and perhaps why.

G-d works in mysterious ways and bad things can and do turn into good things too. ;-)

(Source Photo of Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2018

Justice Is Absent

This artist rendering of "Law and Disorder in the Court" reminded me of what is going on now with the nomination hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. 

This is not a vetting process, but political chicanery, as Dr. Christine Blaseley Ford comes forward with last-minute allegations of groping from a high school party almost 40-years ago. 

Being a #MeToo victim of a serial sexual predator in elementary school, I understand the severity of these acts and the injustice of the abusers going scot-free their whole lives. 

Yet the timing of this right before the Judiciary Panel vote, the single accuser, the 40-years that have passed without a peep, the lack of anyone corroborating the story, the holding of the accusation for almost 2-months all create at least an air of suspicion on this whole thing. 

I truly empathize with any victim of sexual abuse, and for that matter the victim of any violent abuse or assault, and I too seek justice for these victims.

However, this latest political theatre is once again undermining our system of democracy and the ability to get anything done. 

Trust in the system is broken because criminals go unpunished, and also because anyone can be accused of anything any time with barely a shred of evidence. "Innocent until proven guilty" has been chucked out the window. 

The breakdown of the system of cooperation, compromise, and commitment to progress irrespective of politics in the halls of Washington, D.C. is perhaps the biggest threat that we as a nation now face.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

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

A man died.

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

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

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

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

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

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

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

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

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

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

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

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

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

Man: I never owned anything?

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

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

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 3, 2018

The Blessings and The Curses

L-rd, Bless your loving children. 

And do swift justice to the wicked that seek their destruction. 

Bless those that stand guard at your heavenly and earthly gates. 

Curse those evil ones that make a mockery of your lofty kingship. 

Bless the humble and faithful to you and your laws.

Curse those that stand in arrogance and spread hate and vileness before you. 

Bless those that bless you and seek to do good. 

Curse those that curse you and do harm to your creations. 

Bless the righteous people with all that is good. 

Curse the wicked and tear them asunder so that they are utterly destroyed. 

L-rd, please hear your lowly servant and bring the ultimate redemption to your people. 

And verily discomfort, smite and throw to the depths of punishment and exile the cursed wicked. 

None can stand before you in their shame and disgrace. 

Do it for your name's sake; do it for your children's sake, do it for your justice's sake, do it to make things right in your beautiful and perfect world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 20, 2018

Repeal The Statute of Limitations On Child Sex Abuse

We will never be a "civilized society " or a true "country of laws" as long as we don't repeal the statute of limitations on child sexual offenses.

Recently, South Africa and the state of Illinois repealed this outrageous law. 

Children can't be held accountable for coming forward on things they don't understand, are told didn't actually happen, they feel too ashamed of and have repressed, or haven't come to terms with. 

It is a travesty of justice that the animals who commit sexual crimes against children are given a get out of jail free card.

Not only that but by allowing these predators of children to escape justice, we are actually enabling and encouraging their violence against innocent children. 

A child cannot consent!

A child cannot fight off the grown-up!

A child is the absolute victim of the adults who traffick, abuse, molest, rape, and pimp them out. 

Often the children are unaware and from disadvantaged families or communities--they are sold or taken, used, abused, and often murdered and thrown in a ditch or some river. 

And why is there a statute of limitations on these crimes???

So I'll tell you one reason is that the people who are in power are often the same sick abusers, pedophiles, and sexual deviants. 

They carry child porn on their computers, they sext compromising images of their genitals, they visit the dark web to lure children to their lairs, and they buddy up with other creeps to move and f*ck up these poor kids. 

Sex is one of those areas where people are able to make every excuse in the book for what they do--it's an urge; it's a fetish; it's biological; it's a preference; maybe they're mad at their mommies or women in general--but never that they are sick f*cks who are abusing little children who cannot defend themselves!

Any politician that isn't standing up and working to immediately repeal the statute of limitation on sexual abuse against children--please ask them uncompromisingly why!  

Remember, you were once a child, you likely have children, and if you are a moral and upright person you have a duty to protect the innocent children who cannot protect themselves. 

G-d is watching and hearing them--are you?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

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May 18, 2018

Dear SAR Academy




To help the children... Religion is not just “teaching” Torah; it is also doing the right thing!
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

A few references:

Letter from SAR (January 2018)

Investigation Launches 40 Years Late(r) (January 2018)

Enabler/Facilitator Believed to be Still at the School (April 2018)

The Rabbi In The Bath House and More (June 2015)

Parole Violation Hearing (July 2009)

His Preferred Prey was Adolescent Boys (May 2006)


Case of Cantor Stanley Rosenfeld (August 2000)




(Source Video: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

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April 29, 2018

The Evil That Is Child Trafficking



Please, please watch this short 4-minute video. 

It is very impactful!

EVEN...

- If you don't know what's going on with child sex abuse.

- If you are afraid to know.

- If you don't want to believe it.

- If you busy and generally haven't cared in the past. 

Here are some basic statistics:

💥There are at least 2 to 4 million cases of human trafficking annually!

💥It is estimated that 50% are children!

💥It's a $32 billion dollar industry and growing! 

Maybe (hopefully) you believe in G-d

We are G-d's children. 

Children are our children. 

We have a duty to protect children. 

How will you answer the call?

Here's where you can place a call:

- National Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 4-A-CHILD (422-4453)

- National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)

Finally, may Almighty G-d do justice to all the pedophiles and abusers out there. 

May the Earth and Heavens swallow them up and spit them out. 

So that the children, the pure children, may grow up in a better world, a much better world. ;-)
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April 28, 2018

Part 4 - Riverdale Sexual Abuse

So this part 4 of my posts about the sexual misconduct inflicted on the children in Riverdale. 

This is a follow-on to my post of January 10 regarding a message from Salanter Akiba of Riverdale (SAR) Academy about the exploits of one of its former teachers and administrators who "pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree child molestation."

I agreed to be interviewed by the SAR investigator about my experience as a 7th-grade child who had been lured for a Shabbat to this monsters home. 

Rabbi Rosenfeld was never my teacher, and I would have never ended up at his home for Shabbat if not for this person, who invited me there, drove me there, and listened to my cries in the next room. 

It was extremely painful to recount in detail the childhood memories of sexual assault as she asked me question after question about every detail, and without malice, but basically forced me to relive the events of so long ago.

What is incredible to me is that the enabler/facilitator of that Shabbat invitation and course of events, I have come to understand, MAY STILL WORK IN THAT SCHOOL!

How many other children were lured to Rabbi Rosenfeld's home by this person--who was being paid and given benefits, as well as provided harbor and shelter, by this school (perhaps unknowingly) for decades and decades. 

But now if it is true, that this person is still there, the school has an ethical and I am certain, legal duty to protect the children that go there. 

No child should be abused sexually or otherwise or be part of such atrocities by former or current staff. 

I was one of the children who suffered in silence for too long. 

But now I understand that one of my purposes in this world is to help make things right. 

To the Riverdale community, to the board and leadership of SAR, I ask you, what is your role and responsibility?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 12, 2018

Leave The Bad Bosses Behind

So an executive colleague reminded me of something about bad bosses:
People don't leave jobs, they leave [bad] bosses.
It's very interesting and so often true. 

Of course, people leave for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most important aspects of job satisfaction for employees is their boss!

When you have a good boss--someone with integrity, good communications, trustworthy, fair, and who empowers, develops, and supports you then that goes a very long way towards positive employee engagement and retention. 

However, when the boss is a bad apple and usually everyone knows it, then there is often a mass exit out the organizational door. 

Occasionally, the organizational culture is bad too, and that attracts those bad bosses, promotes their bad behavior, and keeps their bad butts in the corner office seats--this situation is even worse because bad culture and people are mutually reinforcing. 

For the good people out there, leave the bad bosses behind and never look back. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2018

The Good Eggs

So I've learned it's not all about the money and the title. 

What is the most important is being around good, decent people.

I've always heard that your relationships are most important.

But it's not just relationships, it's also who you are relating to. 

There are good eggs, and there are not such good eggs. 

Don't get fooled by what's on the eggshell--that is certainly no yolk. 

Most of eggs know who and what they are. 

Some eggs like to scramble the others. 

Some eggs like to poach on the others. 

Some eggs like to crack the others' shells. 

But then there are other eggs that like it over easy with the other eggs. 

They all want to get the meal cooked and have it tasty and nutritious, but some eggs just don't know how to treat others eggs with decency, respect, and integrity.

It's best to be around those eggcelent eggs, and that is where the best happens and the good eggs gravitate to. 

Be careful what eggs you associate with, because there is nothing that smells worse than a rotten egg. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 17, 2018

Assad's Time Is Up

One year ago in April, the U.S. unleashed 59 cruise missiles on an air base in Syria that was involved in chemical attacks on civilians.

That was a warning message.


Today, the attacks against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons, continues in Syria unabated. 

There are now over 500,000 killed in Syria. 

That includes over 14,000 children killed by snipers, machine guns, grenades, IEDs, barrel bombs, gas attacks, and even torture and execution. 

In 2016, almost 1,500 were killed in one chemical attack alone by the Assad regime.  

Two weeks ago, Syria's sponsor, Russia is accused of using the most deadly of chemical nerve agents to poison a former spy and his daughter in the UK. 

It is high time for the U.S. to intervene and send a very definite message against the use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate killing and to take out Assad. 

Assad is a ruthless dictator with the blood of innocents on his hands and his continued use of WMD flies in the face of civilized society and sets a tone where this or worse can and will be used in the future. 

The U.S. needs to reset the bar on the use of these dangerous weapons by sending a clear message that those who use it indiscriminately will pay the ultimate price. 

We already provided a warning message in April last year. 

The Assad regime, Russia, axis of evil Iran, and Hezbollah terrorists all need to get the message from us loud and clear that red lines will not be crossed without paying a very serious price--and that all their efforts at expanding their malevolent reach across that region have been for naught. 

Assad is the ultimate April Fool if he thinks that a cruise missile isn't going to land on his head this time around and it will be very well-deserved indeed. 

For all the civilians and children, and for all the future generations--the time is up. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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