Showing posts with label Loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loss. Show all posts

September 22, 2020

Much To Be Afraid Of

Life size scary-looking Jack In The Box at Home Depot. 

When this clown dude pops out, you'll sh*t your pants. 

And who really wants to be more scared in this world anyway?

With Covid, Cancer, Corruption, Cyber Attacks, Identity Theft, Radicalism, Terrorism, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Loss and Death, Environmental issues, and the Economy don't we have enough to be afraid of already?  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 12, 2020

Seeing Red!

I can't help but see red.

Red is the color of an apple and a strawberry

Red is the color of blood and fire.

Red is when you unfortunately lose money or go broke. 

Red is a can of Coke and the planet Mars.

Red means you got something wrong on the paper or exam.

Red sneakers, that's okay too.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 25, 2019

Surfing USA Beach




Even when you fall down, you should always rise up again!

(Credit Videos: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 20, 2019

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 

Incredibly painful. 

Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 

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

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

We ran into a neighbor. 

She was nice and asked about what happened. 

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

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

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

But she goes to me:

I have no one!


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

I sort of repeated it quizzically. 

She goes:

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


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

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

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

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

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 19, 2019

Get Over It

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

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

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

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

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

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

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

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 10, 2019

Adding A Very Special Facebook Friend

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

My parents passed away 5-6 years ago already.

I always miss them so much!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo of my dear parents from Florida)
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September 18, 2019

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we've got to cope with a different reality.

Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 

We can't do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 

There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 

When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:
Yes, we're getting older--what's the alternative?

Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 

We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.

And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it's like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:
You're not supposed to leave this world alive!

Putting these together: 

I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process--because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. ;-)
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May 8, 2019

Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 

Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 

May their memory be a blessing!

Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 25, 2019

An Early Death

So I received an email last night from the teacher of my Ulpan class. 

She was passing along a message from a wonderful man in class letting her and us know some terrible news.

His son suddenly and unexpectedly died at just 28-years old this past week. 

He wrote about how tragedy like this impacts a person and family, and that obviously he didn't know when he would be coming back to class. 

The message from this man who had just prematurely lost his son in the prime of his life really hit me. 

Life is so tenuous--where everything truly hangs in the balance by a thin thread. 

You can think you are building a fortress of success where no one and nothing can touch you, hurt you.

But life has its own catapults, battering rams, siege towers, and explosive moments in store.

You can't really plan for these things, and you are never ready when they happen. 

Having to bury a child is not the normal way of the wold, and the pain of this is unimaginable. 

A child is the culmination of all our efforts and represents the future, even while we are the past. 

I am so sorry for what happened to my friend from class and I wish him my sincerest condolences and that no one should have to go through such tragedy any more. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2019

Respecting Native Americans

So I don't know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.

People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened--usually the truth is somewhere in between. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 

These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let's just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 

We are all G-d's children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 15, 2019

Transcending Suffering and Impermanence

There is a buddhist philosophy that life is all about loss and suffering. 

The Budha says:
Life is suffering.

Why? Because life is impermanence--whatever we gain, eventually, we must lose. 

- Riches, power, people, health, even our memories perhaps. 

In a sense, this is like the saying from "War of the Roses":
There is no winning, only degrees of losing. 

However, there is one exception to the impermanence and loss in life:

The only thing that is permanent is our good deeds, and with this we can achieve an everlasting good name for ourselves.

In Judaism, we teach:
A good name is better than fine oil.

Hence, this is the permanence that we strive for in life and in death.  

If we can attain a good name through purity of soul then in a sense, we can transcend life's suffering and impermanence.  

By becoming non-attached to all of life's temporary things, and instead focusing on perfecting ourselves, we can free ourselves from suffering and from this world, and then we can go on in everlasting-peace to the afterlife. 

(Source Photo: 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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August 28, 2018

Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 

It's an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 

And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 

The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.

Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 

We are alive, but life can be hard. 

We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.

The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.

Breath, beat, live...good health is unbelievably precious.

Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 

Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 21, 2018

Be Strong!


Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

(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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July 14, 2018

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?

Some people seem to get old before their time.

They go about echting and kretzching--at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I'm not 18 anymore!

Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.

One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  

This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:
"I thought growing old would take longer."

Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!

I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 

I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 

Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago--can't believe the things I used to be able to do--Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!

But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!

Maybe we do not get old...maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 

Age is experience, learning, growth--lots of mistakes--and then recovering and trying again and harder.  

Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 

No, life does not get old. 

Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 

But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 4, 2018

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 

It's all about:
Leadership With Heart

That means understanding that workers are human beings. 

Yes, they should act as professionals.

But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.

Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 

Life happens.

And it's not always pleasant. 

Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 

Therefore, good leaders, real leaders...lead with heart. 

They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 

Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 

Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 

Who do you want to follow into the future?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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February 18, 2018

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

"The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me."

When 2 people are together, it's as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them--their wives were their lives and what made them complete-- afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:
"I'm getting along the best that I can."

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other--no one is an island--and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades--they are for each other and with each other, even if "together forever" is just a song that children sing...it is what we all ultimately wish for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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