Showing posts with label Miracle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miracle. Show all posts

April 11, 2019

Israel 4th Nation To Reach the Moon Surface - Mazel Tov!


What an unbelievable achievement for Israel. 

Even without a soft landing, Israel is the 4th country in the world to reach the moon surface.

The Moon Club of Just Four:
USA - The Most Powerful
Russia - The Largest by Landmass
China - The Largest by Number of People
Israel - The Holy Land!

Mazel Tov on this truly great accomplishment.

We are all so proud of you!  ;-)
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July 3, 2018

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I'm not very skillful with it).

It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 

It wasn't like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 

I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 

We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 

It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs--she was so happy learning and practicing. 

Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class...ah, no!  (or at least not yet...)

While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival--it's truly miraculous!

There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!

And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 

I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2017

Cyclops Looking Eye

What's the fascination with the mythical cyclops and the single eye in the center of the forehead?

If the eye represents seeing and knowing then aren't we better off with two or even a dozen eyes to see with?

See more, know more, do more.

How about eyes in the back of the head?

Or all around the head in a cool circle--like a majestic crown of sight all around you.

Seeing is miraculous.

The beauty of the world--people, nature, and the stars above. 

Seeing is function.

Being able to navigate, get around, and do things with relative ease. 

Seeing is safety.

Sensing path from obstacle and friend from foe. 

It's frightening to think of not having vision--what a challenge!

One old lady is possibly legally blind, but still serves as a notary public--how does she do that?

Eyes themselves are beautiful--brown and blue and hazel, and soft and deep and mesmerizing. 

Looking into someone's eyes, have you ever seen their soul. 

Show me thy ways oh L-rd and let me learn and grow in the world you've created for us--seeing the material and spiritual world we're enveloped in. 

I see the beauty, necessity, and lessons you have for me. 

However many eyes, seeing is believing in it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2016

How The Election Makes Me Feel

Ok, this picture sums up my feelings about this election pretty well.

Wait is that the candidates or the way I feel? 

Like the Three Stooges, the pathetic behavior of the candidates is completely crazy and outrageous. 

And who's worse--corrupt  and scandalous or big mouth and offensive? 

We all have have our opinion, but maybe both types leave us dumbfounded and scratching our heads, and even not wanting to vote for either, at all. 

At this point, I think we are all probably somewhat embarrassed that this is the best our country has to offer.

With everyone hating on both candidates, but desperate to save their slice of the American pie, the put-downs, fights, and contempt have gotten completely out of hand. 

There is ZERO problem-solving going on, and we are in ridiculous mode, while the rest of the world spins out of control in the hands of terrorists, demagogues, as well as our global competition out there capitalizing on our incredible stupidity. 

I can only imagine the rest of the world watching our election play out--watching us--and thinking how did we ever get to be the superpower of this world? 

This is the tipping point for our country.

We brought so much greatness to the world, but what is left when we get to the point of candidates that no one can trust, let alone stomach. 

I think all we can do is pray that G-d sends an Independent candidate with true integrity and promise that everyone can really respect and rally around, and not have to settle for either bad or worse. 

A country that is 80% negative about its direction is called imploding and obviously that does not bode well for us or upcoming world events. 

Folks, this is going to take a miracle! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2015

Requirements, I Don't Know

This was a funny cartoon. 

Who are we?  

Clients!

What do we want?

We don't know!

When do we want it?

Now!

This is like way to many IT projects...

The customer knows they need to do something, because of changing market conditions, internal (dys)functioning, arising competition, or external mandates and regulations. 

But when the IT project managers and business analysts interview and ask the customer what they want and need to address these...quite often they get blank faces and hands raised in circuitous, endless doubt. 

What do the customers really want?

For IT to define, solve, and make their problems go away--and by the way do it yesterday and without any extra / proportionate resources

For some IT "professionals" that may be a little lacking themselves, you end up getting half-assed solutions to half-baked requirements that accomplish nothing or perhaps even break things more.

Hence, the true miracle of technology--to read minds and deliver valuable solutions to problems that no one could fully define to begin with! ;-)

(Source Cartoon: Roz Blumenthal @ Facebook)
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April 26, 2015

Andy Blumenthal With Roberta Grossman

What an honor today to be able to take this photo with Roberta Grossman, movie Producer/Director. 

First we saw her upcoming movie "Above and Beyond."

It is the story about the birth of the Israeli Air Force, and it was co-produced with Nancy Spielberg (Yes, the sister of Director Steven Spielberg). 

In 1948 when the U.N. (under G-d's guidance) established the State of Israel, the Arab nations prepared to attack the fledgling nation state.

Just 3 years after the end of Holocaust, the surrounded Jewish people with inferior arms, faced almost certain devastating defeat in their War of Independence. 

However, brave volunteer pilots from America, Canada, and South Africa answered the call to help their brethren in Israel. 

With ingenuity, some smuggled air planes, brief training by Czechoslovakia, and the blessings of Hashem, the Israel Defense Forces stopped the advancing Arab armies--of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq--in their tracks. 

It is an amazing story of courage and heroism, and Ms. Grossman did a wonderful job answering enthusiastic questions from the audience in Virginia today. 

Kol Hakavod on a excellent film--thank you!  ;-)
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The Best Cut

So I wasn't sure I wanted to share this, but my wife encouraged me in an effort to help others going through similar things.

Recently, I went to the Surgeon about my other hip to read my MRI...

After having read the report myself before the appointment, I was convinced I was heading under the knife again with the pain I was experiencing, challenges getting around, and the verbiage in the report like: 

"Significant..."

"Advanced."

Anyway, my daughter came along because I wasn't sure I was going to easily get parking in this place...always a challenge there. 

Waiting for the doctor, I asked G-d for a miracle, since after all the hospitalizations this last year, I literally thought that another one at this time could very well kill me.

Low and behold, the doctor comes in and as if G-d is directing his speech for the next 40 minutes or so, he does everything to dissuade me from having the surgery this month, even though he was the one at the last appointment that had already booked me on his surgical calendar. 

So today the miracle unfolded...

First, the doctor read my MRI, but then quickly flipped the screen to an MRI of another patient--a 76 year old--and he showed me the unbelievable progression of the osteoarthritis from near onset to ultimately the complete collapse of the joint over about 9 years time for this lady...the last MRI looked like complete and utter bone devastation--I had never seen anything like it!

Next he opened his drawer and took out a horror basket of used replacement joints parts that he had removed from patients that needed revision--he showed me the wear and breakage and described in horrible detail how he often has to dig these out of the bones of his patients and how each revision--which everyone will need after about 10-15 years or sooner if they become symptomatic--becomes more complicated and dangerous in terms of infection, blood clots, and recovery. 

Then he told how in the field so many replacement surgeries do not go well and that he sees 3-5 patients a week who come to him because they are UN-happy with the replacements their doctors did. 

This went on and on, and bottom line...he said, "I love to do the surgeries--I really do--but wait as long as you can before getting it [on the other hip], since while it can provide for short term improvements, each revision is worse, and at your age you could need three--on each side."

Needless-to-say, from this whole thing, I was in utter shock and some disbelief as I had been told these prosthetics can last 20-25 years with the newer models, and I was not aware of what the revisions really entailed in later years or the challenges they brought. 

As he continued to describe the risks in painful vivid details (note, I was his last appointment of the day and he was talking his time here), my eyes were literally welling up in tears.

I looked over at my daughter and she was sitting mouth agape shaking her head at what he was saying. I was deeply sorry that she had to sit through this (what we had thought was a simple MRI reading and confirmation of the upcoming procedure date). 

I left the doctor's office, of course, canceling the surgery--still in severe pain and with trouble walking--however, "scared straight" to make the best of this for now, but also afraid of what lies ahead. 

I have to have faith that the L-rd who made the miracle to hold off on the surgery for now will continue to guide and protect me through this illness that today has no cure. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2014

From Hatred To Peace


Someone sent me this video by Dennis Prager on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I wanted to share it.

An easy conflict to explain, a difficult one to solve: "One side wants the other dead!"

How do you get a people not to hate another?

"There are 22 Arab states stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, but only 1 Jewish state the size of New Jersey..."

"Why can't the one Jewish state be allowed to exist?"

After generations of hatred and hostility--taught and practiced--truly a miracle is needed where we can live and let live. 

May G-d bring peace and security in our time, and may "nation not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
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June 7, 2014

From Holocaust To Homeland


From the searing ashes of six million murdered in the Holocaust, 

G-d remembered the Jewish people, 

and restored them to the promised land. 

The fulfillment of hope and yearnings for freedom and independence, 

and never to be slaughtered like sheep again. 

Some say that we are waiting for the Messiah, 

But to me, the miracle of Israel is the beginning of the redemption. 

While it is difficult to see Israel maligned in their continued fight for survival, 

surely there will come a time when we can see clear the wisdom for all to live and let live.

May G-d bless Israel to live in peace and security.
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May 16, 2014

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting--does anyone believe it or care?  

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world's fresh water "locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice."

NASA glaciologists states: "Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can't stop it."

In other words, we may have "reached the point of no return."

Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet--that's almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans.

The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans. 

WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk. 

And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is "almost unenclosable."

Global warming has is changing our earth's ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us. 

Yes, there are lot's of doom and gloom scenarios, and it's hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.

While I wouldn't go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront--as much as I love it--may not be the best long-long term investment around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 4, 2013

Hold The Pickles, Hold The Lettuce--BABIES!


Remember, the catchy old Burger King commercial about "Have it your way"(where you can order the burger any way you want, no problem!)?

Now, we are reaching the point with DNA testing, where we can have it your way and order up babies the way you want them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, by getting genetic profiles of egg or sperm donors, you can search for a match with the genetic profile of the would-be parent to have a higher likelihood of desired traits (e.g. blue eyes) or lower likelihood of undesirable ones (e.g. heart disease). 

23andMe, a DNA company (Note: humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes) that sells home testing kits for $99, has patented a process for analyzing DNA and providing information on health and ancestry, and this could be used for system screening of egg or sperm donors through a tool called a "Family Traits Inheritance calculator."

Calculating better babies by choosing desired matches at fertility clinics is only steps away from actually making marriage decisions based on genetic make-up--in that scenario love is only one factor in choosing a mate and maybe not the primary any longer. 

The idea being to screen potential couples before marriage to yield "the best" potential children--smartest, athletic, good-looking, etc. 

There are already genetic banks for screening and capturing genetic information on potential couples to avoid genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and others. 

While bioengineering children for better health is one thing, creating a blue-eye and blond-haired race was the Nazi's concept of an Aryan nation as a superior race that would dominate the world. 

The ethical questions of how to screen out illness without creating a situation like in China under a one-child policy, where male offspring are considered superior and so we proverbially tilt the odds in favor of what we think is best even if it may not really be. 

Neither a homogeneous superior race, nor a customized bioengineered baby is the answer--rather, we need to value healthy diversity in children, where each is a miracle and a blessing in their own right. ;-)
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September 21, 2013

Restoring Hearing Using Bionics



A mother wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the miracle of Cochlear Implants.

Lydia Denworth described when her 2-year old son, who is deaf, got these implants and how now he is now able to attend 5th grade in a "mainstream school" and is "nearly indistinguishable from the other children."

These implants allow her son, Alex, to have a conversation with another child about the hearing device that "can open up the world of sound and spoken language."

Denworth states at the end of the editorial, "Moments like that make me deeply grateful for the technology."

For me, reading this was an opportunity to go learn about the amazing bionics that has already restored hearing to 320,000 people!

While hearing aids amplify sounds and make them louder, they don't resolve permanent damage to the inner ear. 

A cochlear implant bypasses the damage by receiving sounds in a microphone, digitizing them, and converting them to electrical impulses that are sent directly via implant to the auditory nerves-- bypassing damaged or missing sensory cells in the ear--in a way that the brain can understand.

I am in awe of the inventors--Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair, and Blake Wilson--who are being recognized for their pioneering research leading to the development of Cochlear Implants.

Hopefully, soon we can do for sight, smell, taste, and touch what we can do for hearing and restore the impaired to fully functioning again.

We are living in a time of great miracles--thank you G-d!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bjorn Knetsch)
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March 22, 2013

The Miracle Of The Red Sea

After being sick the last week with the flu and still on antibiotics, I ventured out today and took the girls hiking in Harpers Ferry. 

It was just a little cold--um, maybe a lot cold--but we slogged through the trails anyway and had a great time.

The water falling off the cliffs was still freezing on the rocks underneath and it made for some nice pictures.

One interesting photo that I've attached was of the water that had a veneer of red over the top--first it looked like maybe it was a tarp, but up close, we saw it was just like a carpet of red algae over the water--it was pretty spectacular. 

I couldn't help thinking how perfect this is for Passover that begins on Monday evening, because it brought alive the image to me of G-d delivering the Israelites from servitude and splitting the real Red Sea for them to cross through to freedom.  

While we didn't attempt to cross this red water, it was an amazing natural sight to behold (thank you G-d). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 16, 2013

Jumping Jean Saves The Day

Metro
This was beyond my belief this evening--it is a true story!

As I was getting off the train, my iPhone slipped out of the OtterBox clip on my belt and fell...but it didn't just fall down, it fell at the precise moment that I was disembarking the train and it fell perfectly vertically right between the small space between the train and the platform. 

I couldn't believe it--I don't think I could drop it through that way myself even if I tried. 

Sure enough the phone is laying in the rock bed on the tracks. 

As the train pulled out, I was sure it was a goner, but apparently it survived not only the fall, but also the train running over it as it lay there.

A woman next to me, saw the whole thing unfold and she says to me after the train pulls out--"if you're going to get it, you better hurry up and do it now!"

I must've looked completely astonished when she said that as I peered over to the signage that said the next train was arriving in literally 1 minute!

I looked around for someone from the Metro to help, but no one was there. 

Out of nowhere, a young man rushes forward and says, "I can get it" and before I know it--he jumps into the tracks with the train approaching.

He did it so fast, picked up the smartphone, and jumped back out onto the platform, all in the nick of time--I've never seen anything like it--it was completely amazing. 

I was in disbelief that anyone would do something so crazy as to jump in front of an oncoming train to get a dropped phone that didn't even belong to them--simply to help a fellow human being. 

I tried to help grab him onto the platform, shook his hand, thanked him profusely, and offered him a reward--he refused to even take that. 

On the train we sat together, and he told me about how he came from Cameroon where he had little opportunity and was working two jobs here, including helping seniors and working at McDonalds. He told me how he liked to help people--and that was more than evident to everyone who witnessed this. 

In the end, the iPhone was still working and Jean strengthened my faith in good people still out there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal from a prior Metro ride)

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December 7, 2012

To My Dear Wife

It all started on the first night Of Chanukah...  










Yeah, I know it's a miracle! ;-)

(Source Comic At Bitstrips: Andy Blumenthal)

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