Showing posts with label Mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mom. Show all posts

September 3, 2019

Cheesecake Heaven

So I never met a piece of cheesecake that I didn't like. 

This was an awesome display of the varieties of it at the Cheesecake Factory.

I remember my mom used to make a pretty darn great cheesecake (and a lot of other good food)!

I still can see the graham cracker crust with the sweet hot creamy cheese filling coming out of the oven. 

Unfortunately one of the conundrum of life is that all the good tasting things are so darn fattening and bad for us. 

I think though if they can make fake burgers like Beyond that taste like the real thing, then surely at some point they will figure out how to make a skinny cheesecake that tastes good. 

There are still some mysteries left in this universe for us to unravel. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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June 21, 2015

My Dad, My Hero

I can't just call or visit my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day.

My dad is in heaven. 

But I am thinking about him, missing him, and wishing all the things I want to tell him but no longer can.

I'm sorry dad for not listening better and arguing so much. 

Your lessons were not wasted on me, I remember them all!

The most important you taught me to serve G-d and do good no matter what the situation--that is with me every day.

And I know with your grandchildren too. 

You are my hero--I believe that G-d watched over you your whole life because of what a good decent human being and servant to him you always were. 

Dad, if you can hear me in Heaven, I love you and miss you and Mom dearly. 

I hope if you can see me and the family, you are proud.

That is what I always wanted. 

When you said it later in life, I almost couldn't believe it. 

But I know in my heart, you are and and have been my biggest advocate. 

Thank you for everything--everyday--you never flinched no matter how much or inconvenient it was.

May G-d reward you and Mom in heaven and shower you in his eternal light, love, and goodness. 

You son, 

Andy

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2015

Mom Through The Years

My Nephew Naphtali Herbsman posted this on Facebook today and I love it!  

I miss my mom (A"H) and dad (A"H) and wish they were both still here in good health with us. 

But I know they are in heaven watching over us, guiding us, and still showering us with their love.
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January 8, 2015

His And Hers

So grateful to my wonderful colleagues and friends here at the Department of State. 

Cards for the loss of my mom and dad...one year apart, but I put them side by side, where they belong. 

I miss my parents, but this is a beautiful reminder to me that they are together in Heaven!

I am thankful for the wonderful caring people I am surrounded with who provided me their support and warm sentiments during this challenging year. 

Hoping and praying for G-d's blessings and a better future. 
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January 15, 2014

Eulogy For My Beloved Mother, Gerda Blumenthal

We are here today to remember and honor my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, who passed away on Monday.  

My mother was my personal heroine, even as just two days earlier, a great hero of the Jewish people died as well--Ariel Sharon, a former Prime Minister of the State of Israel and a hero general who fought militarily to defend his people, but who also disengaged the State of Israel unilaterally from Gaza to make peace. 

Sharon’s role in history to secure the Jewish people came on the heels of the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were murdered – one of every three in the entire world!

To my mother, the holocaust was one of the defining moments in her life. She was just 5 years old, when the murderous Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, came up behind my mother and her father on the street in Germany, grabbed him and dragged him off to the concentration camps. My mother, a child, was left alone crying on the streets, until some neighbors found her and brought her home to her mother. Miraculously, her father was one of the few to actually be let out a number of weeks later, as he had already received visas for the family to come to America. He had lost 20-30 pounds in just those few weeks of brutal slave labor and beatings, but he and the family were free to come to this country and start anew. 

Like many of the immigrant families who were forced to flee persecution, my mother and her family arrived here penniless, and her father who didn't even know the language, worked as a tailor to try and support the family. My mother had wanted to pursue her education—and to be a nurse—but when she graduated high school, she was asked to immediately go to work to help the family earn a living in those difficult days. She did this dutifully and worked—mostly doing secretarial work, which was popular in those days—while raising my sister and I and taking care of my dad. My mom would put me on the school bus, rush off to work, and be home in time to make dinner for all of us. Mom was unwavering in her commitment to taking care of us. Mom taught me what family was, what it was to put family first, and what it was to work hard, very hard, always being there to take care of us, even when at times, it seemed like too much for any human being. 

My older sister and I are eight years apart. But there was another sibling, Susie, born between us. However, she died as a baby leaving my mother and father bereaved of their 2nd child still in the early years of their marriage. Despite this new challenge in their lives—and what seemed like another personal test—my mother carried on with my father to build the family, and I came along four years later.  I have always tried to make my mother and father proud of me, especially in light of the loss of their other child. 

My mother and father—were best friends, but like all loving couples, they also argued—but they always came back together again to make up and bond. And I learned well from them that in relationships, we can argue, but we can work things out—even though it’s not always easy to say I’m sorry or I was wrong, but we come back together because we are a family--we love each other and have that commitment. The loss of my mom is magnified, because of that deep love, but also because we are a small family that has always lived a hop, skip, and jump from each other—like one extended family. 

My mother and father put my sister and I through private Jewish school, all the years, and then through college and graduate school—so that I was able to get my MBA and my sister her PhD. Even in later years, she helped babysit for my children and was like a second mother to them, so that my wife, Dossy could get her PhD as well. She loved my daughters—Minna and Rebecca, and my niece, Yaffa, so much.  My mother and my father even moved here to Silver Spring in 2000—soon after we relocated here to work for the government—so they could be with us and the grandchildren—even though my mother really loved living in Riverdale, NY and the community and friends there, and would otherwise never have left there. 

I will never forget the endless sacrifices made for us, which contrasts to many other families in modern times, when people seem more focused on career, their own interests and happiness, and mired in the world of the Internet and social media. But my mom taught me that while we may want a lot of different things, we need to put our priorities in order and focus on what is really important—family, friends, and faith. 

Like Ariel Sharon who suffered a stroke eight years ago, my mother was diagnosed with the horrible disease of Parkinson’s—also eight years ago. My mother went from being the one who took care of everyone to where my father, in his own old age, and his own illness, had to take care of her. He did this with unbelievable courage and tirelessly, he did everything for her—everything! Even when we all thought she needed to go to the nursing home, he brought her home and cared for her himself for two years under extremely trying circumstances. Until this last April, when my mother was hospitalized again and was too ill to go home again. She went to the Hebrew Home In Rockville, and later because of her severe pain was put under hospice care. My mom unfortunately suffered horribly—more than we have ever seen anyone suffer. When she passed this week, I was horrified to lose my mother, as anyone would be, and at the same time, I was grateful to G-d that perhaps she now had some rest from the all the terrible illness and suffering and was finally at peace. 

She died on Monday almost immediately after the Rabbi said the final prayers with her, and so I hope that the prayers and good wishes of the Rabbi and all of us—her family and friends—are heard in heaven and usher her in as a righteous soul, loving wife, mother, and grandmother—and grant her everlasting peace and reward from the Almighty. 

Mom, we will always remember everything you have done for us. You taught us what a good traditional Jewish home and values are. Thank you for the love, care, and endless sacrifices. You will live on in the children and grandchildren and hopefully, our lives will be a merit for you. We love you always, and miss you. May G-d welcome you back, grant you peace, and bless you.

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August 25, 2013

Even The Buildings Smile

Soon we will end the weekend and move into the next workweek.

As a kid, I remember people calling it "Blue Monday"--presumably because of the feelings people had going back to work.

I know some people that don't even like to go out on Sunday evening at all, because of the anxiety they feel about the upcoming week.

But I thought this was a great photo that my daughter took to express the weekend joy and good feelings and the importance of carrying these forward throughout the whole week. 

Someone actually drew this smiley face on the side of the building!

When my other daughter, Minna, asked my mom in the nursing home today for some words of wisdom, she reminded us all that "the years go by all too quickly!"

In her words, I understood that the main thing is to find meaning and purpose, give more than you take, and remember to count your blessings every day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2013

My Beautiful Mom

This is a picture of my beautiful mother. 

My daughter Minna found this picture in one of our old albums and made it new again with her wonderful photography skills. 

Although my mom has aged and is not in the best of health anymore, she retains a glowing inner and outer beauty that radiates throughout the whole room--wherever she is. 

I love my mom and am so grateful for everything she has done to raise me and help raise the grandchildren too. 

She has always been there for us and we love her dearly. 

Thank you mom for everything--you've done a great job by Dad and all of us who have depended on you, and we will never forget your kindness, generosity, and love.

May G-d bless you, always. 
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April 28, 2013

The Pain of Parkinson's

At the dedication of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the picture of the elder Bush in a wheelchair really struck home.

My mom has Parkinson's Disease and is wheelchair bound. 

For a number of years, I have watched (feeling helpless) my mom go from a vibrant person to succumbing to the devastation of this disease of unknown origin. 

First, for many years (before we new) was a slowness of gait--with everyone yelling "come on mom, hurry up! Why so slow?"

Then, the uncontrolled shaking, especially of her hands, and deformity of the joints. 

Next came the difficulty moving, the shakiness when walking, and the falls--until the time, some nerves were damaged and her foot got turned inward, so she could no longer stand.

Therapy, a walker, and then a wheelchair, and now for most of the day--confined to bed and loss of basic movement that we usually take for granted. 

With loss of mobility, came loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and GI problems. 

Despite visits to numerous medical experts--we could only treat the symptoms, but could never keep up somehow with the progression of the illness. 

My beautiful mom has suffered terribly, and my dad (despite his own medical challenges and age) has been her caretaker through it all.

Dad has done all the things for a person that can be done--on call every minute--until exhaustion at times. He has been nothing less than heroic in his deeds, dedicated to my mom and doing it with endless love for her--and always remaining (at least outwardly) optimistic and hopeful for both of them. 

My mom went to the hospital a week and a half ago and this last week was transferred to a home. 

Her eyes show the story of her suffering, and her body is drawn from fighting the illness, yet inside her the intelligence and love--she shows with a mere rise of her eyebrows and smirk--gives me strength. 

I love my mom and dad. It is a tough road when age and illness take their toll. 

It is scary to think at times what the future holds for each of us and how we will endure in the face of it. 

Mom and Dad have suffered in their lives from the holocaust, with seemingly endless hard work trying to make a living, and with debilitating illness. 

Their story and lives are a monument of strength and courage, love and devotion, and faith in the Almighty.
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November 1, 2012

Most Novel Bingo


I fondly remember when I was a kid going occassionally with my mom to the local synagogue to help the elderly with their weekly bingo game. 

It was fun to see the old people getting together, having a good time, and competing for the prize, usually some token tchochkes.

As a little kid, of course, even though I wasn't playing, I usually walked away with a big Hersey's chocolate bar--and that itself was enough to make me want to come back again and again. 

A couple of weeks ago though, I come to find out, there are other exciting versions of the game out there...

The Wall Street Journal (22 October 2012) described quite a novel version of the game called either chicken-poop bingo or cow-chip bingo. 

Not to gross anyone out, it is what is sounds like. 

The winning numbers are drawn not by the turning the game cage and having a ball with the winning numbers on it fall down the chute, but rather by where the chicken or cow does it's business. 

Some have barked about this being cruel to animals to use them in this way or that people manipulate the animals to go on certain squares by planting feed, or that when the dung drops on multiple squares, then the winner is the one with the greatest volume--enjoy measuring that! 

This version of the game wins butt-down for the most novel way to play bingo, but for me, I still would rather accompany my mom to help the old people like I did as a kid and walk away with that great big cholocate bar. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to B.K. Dewey)
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