Showing posts with label Passover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Passover. Show all posts

June 27, 2020

The Only Fixer

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Only Fixer."

I’m reading the famous book, The Fixer by Bernard Malamud. It’s about the horrible pogroms in Russia and the blood libels where the Jews would be ridiculously accused of sorcery and witchcraft, and the killing of Christian children for their blood to put in Passover matzah!

In short, hate and hurt can’t be excused because you can. Wielding power gives you authority, but also the extra responsibility. There is such a thing as acting justly. And then there isn’t. Usually, when someone is acting justly, they can explain themselves in a balanced, calm, and rationale way. It makes sense! When they are doing wrong, it’s usually extreme, abrupt, and ultimately inexplicable and therefore can’t be articulated. Hence, that’s the way it is, Fixer. Who is The Fixer? Again, I don’t care!

(Credit Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 16, 2020

Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End."
Despite our redemption from slavery in Egypt (1312 BCE), we continue through cycle after cycle of enslavement and exile.

In Kabbalah, we learn that the Jewish soul reincarnates until it reaches its spiritual enlightenment and fulfills all the mitzvot. Similarly, the soul of the Jewish people is reincarnated and relives painful destruction, slavery, and exile until we learn, grow, and finally become what we are destined to be as servants only of Hashem and as a light unto the nations. This has been our fate, but also it is one that we are finally nearing the end of with the return to the Promised Land and perhaps even the arrival soon of Mashiach.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 10, 2020

Ignorance Isn't Bliss

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Ignorance Isn't Bliss."


It’s Passover, and we celebrate our deliverance from Egyptian slavery, yet this is a slavery that was foretold by Hashem, and as you could say, like with many bad things that happen in this world (e.g. Coronavirus), we knew it was coming!

To me it’s not about being afraid, but rather it’s about being prepared. It’s great to be an optimist, but it’s important to be practical, especially when it comes to saving lives. Yes, we need to have faith in G-d and believe that ultimately everything is according to His word and plan for the world, but at the same time, we need to be responsible and do our part to protect ourselves and the future from terrible things that we have a relatively high-level of confidence will happen. There is no mitzvah to wait and be caught off guard, rather there is a commandment to save life (“Pikuach Nefesh”), and for this we need to “face up to facts” (including our known vulnerabilities, threats, and our capabilities to address them) and actually be very well prepared.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 9, 2020

Synagogue or Sickness?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Synagogue or Sickness?"
When I was a kid and my father would {strongly} encourage me to go to synagogue. My father was a man of deep faith and he used to say warningly to me: "It's better to go to synagogue than to the hospital." Obviously, he was implying that if I didn't follow G-d's word, then G-d forbid, he would punish me and instead of going to Shul, I would go to the hospital. Maybe not the best way to teach someone to want to go to prayer services, but I know he meant it out of complete love for me and ultimately for my best.

Yet ironically, now with coronavirus preventing us from practicing the many communal aspects of our faith, so many of us can only but wish that we could just go to synagogue to celebrate the holidays and Shabbat together once again. Unfortunately, for now at least, we don't even have the option to go to synagogue⁠—the choice has been taken from us. G-d willing, hopefully soon, we can once again go⁠—with willingness and love⁠—not only to pray at synagogue, but also to the holy Third Temple in Jerusalem itself.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 8, 2020

Corona Matzah Man

So this is what happens when Coronavirus pandemic coincides with Passover. 

We get a Corona Matzah Man wearing his face mask so he doesn't get sick, G-d forbid. 

Even as we get ready to celebrate the seder tonight and recall G-d's mercifully delivering us from Egyptian servitude, we also can be certain that He will deliver us from this dreaded Coronavirus. 

G-d is all powerful and has a purpose for everything. 

Perhaps, we just needed a reminder of who was in charge not only on Passover, but all the year round. ;-)

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

April 28, 2019

Rocking Mimouna @Magen David Synagogue




I learnt last night that Mimouna comes from the word "Emunah" which means faith. 

The Mimouna is the celebration at the end of Passover. 

It is a custom from the Jews who lived in Morocco who celebrated hand-in-hand with their Arab neighbors in peace and harmony

This celebration of faith, friendship, and peace has now become standard in Jewish communities far and wide. 

In the light of the anti-Semitic instances yesterday with the vilr caricature in the garbage New York Times and the Shooting at the Chabad synagogue in San Diego (exactly 6 months after the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue), I say:

Let us have faith in the one true G-d that he will redeem his loving people of all religions and utterly punish the haters and anti-Semites for the evil they are. 

(Source Video and Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 19, 2019

Novel Passover Haggadah


Thought this was a pretty cool Passover Haggadah. 

Shaped like a wine bottle!

Sort of sets the stage for the four cups of wine at the Seder. 

I found this Haggadah in Israel, and I'm glad I got a few of them.  

Wishing everyone a joyous Passover and Easter holiday! ;-)

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

April 15, 2019

The Passover Menorah

It's Passover this week, not Chanukah. 

So what's with the menorah?

Well my friend, John Akkus (of Akkus Silver Touch), made this beautiful piece for me. 

I love the fine handiwork of copper, brass, crystals, Jewish symbols (Stars of David) and bold colors of this amazing menorah. 

John sells his art at the annual Suglarloaf Festivals in the Spring. 

I am so glad I found this wonderful menorah--it is beautiful all year long (through Chanukah and Passover). 

Thank you John and nice job!  ;-)

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

April 1, 2018

Worst Passover Cake Ever

So this has got to be the worst Passover cake ever. 

It's definitely not kosher for Pesach. 

Not only is it made from chametz, but it's shaped like a chazer (i.e. pig) too.

This thing would be conceptually treyf even on the best of non-Passover days. 

Does it have lard too? 

I don't know for sure, but would it really be a pig cake if it didn't!

This lousy cake doesn't even have an ounce of chocolate in it--have you ever heard of a genuine dessert that tastes like the calorie count it adds up to be without chocolate? 

I've heard of the callous calling people a pig for eating too much cake and being fat, but making the oink oink face directly on the cake itself--and on Passover--is not only insulting, but at $28.95, it's overpriced too. ;-)

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

March 31, 2018

Iran Had Better Look To The Haggadah

On Passover, we recite the Haggadah to remember how G-d redeemed us from being slaves in Egypt. 

At the Seder, many also recite the Hatikvah--the Israeli National Anthem--to remember that our suffering and redemption didn't end almost 3,500 years ago in the Exodus from Egypt, but has continued to this very day post Holocaust with the establishment of the modern-day State of Israel. 

One thing that I will tell you is that if Slavery in Egypt and all the anti-Semitism, Inquisitions, Pogroms, Expulsions, and the Holocaust taught us anything is that:

- One, our faith in G-d Almighty and his love and promised redemption for us will never cease, and 

- Two, that we will never, ever, go like sheep to the slaughter again.

Already in 1981 and 2007, with the help of Hashem, Israel rid the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons of destruction from the hands of tyrannical Middle Eastern dictatorships in both Iraq and Syria. 

And I would venture to say that neither of these enemies were as completely hateful, ruthless, and vowed to Israel's destruction as Iran is today. 

In the Haggadah we recall the eternal fight of good over evil:
"For not only one enemy has tried to destroy us, but in every generation, nations have tried to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, always saves us from their hands."

As sure as we celebrate Passover today, I am confident that G-d will once again make a tremendous miracle and save us from the hands of the maniacal mullahs in Iran who pose an existential threat to the Israelites today. 

Israel's Operation Babylon and Operation Orchard in Iraq and Syria were successful actions in and of themselves, but they were also practice runs for what is yet to come to the spinning centrifuges in Axis of Evil, Iran. 

G-d's promise to Abraham to bless the Israelites and give them the Holy Land--whether by the ten plagues in Egypt or the Allied victory over Adolf Hitler--redemption will soon be coming again delivered compliments of the heroic Israeli Defense Forces.  ;-)

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

July 29, 2017

We Remember and Cry

Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem--on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart--in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 

Tisha B'Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 

We remember and cry on Tisha B'Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 

It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 
By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
'Sing to us from the song of Zion'
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 
If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness
We as a people have been through so much...servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide...thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder--yet, Israel Doth Live!

As the L-rd promised the Jews--after exile would come redemption, and so it is!

For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple--please G-d in our days soon.

From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany--we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold "from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River." (Exodus 23:31) ;-)

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

April 10, 2017

Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

On Passover, we celebrate G-d's redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 

His mercy and kindness endures forever!

While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert...

Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 

It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.

In G-d's world, there is no limitations of time and space...and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel--from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  ;-)

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

February 4, 2017

The Miraculous Mezuzah

So there is a Jewish commandment to put a mezuzah on your doorposts. 

Reminiscent of ancient times when Jews were slaves in Egypt and G-d told the Israelites to put the blood of the Paschal lamb on the doorpost.

When they did this and the Angel of Death killed the firstborn in each home of the taskmaster Egyptians--he passed over the doorposts of the Israelites that had the blood on it as commanded by G-d.

So too these days, the Mezuzah has the holy prayer of the Shema Yisrael on it:
"Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One".
And it is believed to be a symbol of G-d's divine protection for the home. 

This week in Synagogue, Rabbi Haim Ovadia told some miraculous stories about the Mezuzah from when he was the Rabbi in Bogota, Columbia.

He told of how the cartels would raid the buildings where the people in the community lived.  The cops would be told not to respond to the calls for help for at least an hour.  But what was a miracle was that apartments with the mezuzahs were not harmed. Later, the people found out that the cartels, thank G-d left them alone, because they didn't know what a mezuzah was and thought it was some sort of fancy alarm system!

Another story, was the boss who put mezuzahs on the offices at work, and what happened? The profitability of the business went up.  When they looked at why this happened, they realized that the boss would stop at the mezuzah to recite the Shema, and the workers thought the boss was there paying more attention to them and so productivity went way up. 

Finally, the last one was really funny.  They couldn't easily get mezuzahs in Bogota, so when they heard someone was coming from a trip to Israel, they asked him to bring 5 mezuzahs for the home. When it arrived, they opened it up, but lo and behold, the parchment with the prayer inside was missing from them.  When they asked what happened to it--the person said, I already know how to put up a mezuzah on the doorpost with 2 nails and a hammer, so what do I need the instructions inside it for!

G-d is glorious and the holiness that he bestows on us with his commandments is amazing. ;-)

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

April 27, 2016

Friendly Sightings 613


So this is a first where other people are contacting us with their experiences seeing 613 (the holy mystical number of Commandments in the Torah).

These two photos of a police car and a no smoking sign are coming to us from South Florida. 

Also, I experienced another weird 613 experience this week in that I was number 36 in The Top 100 Most Social CIOs (see the 613). 

If you see 613 in extraordinary ways in your life, please feel free to share the them with Dannielle and I. 

We hope and pray at this time of Passover (commemorating redemption and freedom) that this is a sign of great mazel and blessing for all our times. ;-)

(Source Photo and with gratitude to Ms. Ellen Weiner)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 24, 2016

To Little Jonah

So swimming in the pool, I meet little 7-year old Jonah. 

He sort of made himself known to me when he decided he wanted to race me on the swim board.

I was going just a little faster--and I reminded him that I had a key competitive advantage, fins. 

He said, "Darn I should have brought mine!'

He asked how old I was, and I said a little older than you. 

Not satisfied, he pressed the question, saying "I can tell you are an adult."

So I had to cave and admit that, and pointing to my heart, added that "I am young at heart."

Jonah's in 1st grade, and wanted to know what grade I was in. 

His guess was 4th grade, and I said "That's about right."

Jonah is from New Orleans visiting his grandmother for Passover. 

She was watching him in the pool and smiling with grandmotherly nachas, ear-to-ear.

I told Jonah to make sure to treat his grandmother nicely. 

But Jonah at this point had jumped into my swim lane and was in mock superhero fighting mode, and said "I want to punch you."

I thought to myself, hmm it's not only my wife that feels that way (LOL).

Anyway, it was clear that I had made a new friend with Jonah, who was off bobbing up and down in the water well over his head. 

Bye Jonah--have a good time visiting for Passover. 

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

April 23, 2016

G-dly Tattoo

So my daughter took this photo of someone on the train.

They had a tattoo that said Elokim--G-d's name in Hebrew--on their hand along their thumb.

Also, they had a second tattoo on the top of their hand that had the Star of David. 

Pretty dramatic, I think. 

But what a way to remember G-d and your religion all the time.

And I thought wearing a yarmulke on my head was something!

Anyway, just another thought for the day.

I was talking with a young person this week.

They said, how hard it was to be young and not know what was going to happen--what life had in store for them. 

I agreed that it was, but also added something that I had heard a number of years ago that:


When your young, you have health, but no money to enjoy it 

and when your old, you have money, but no health to enjoy it. 

The point is that at every point in life, we have our challenges, and we just have to make the most of what we got, when we have it. 

Ideally, of course, we have plenty of health and money--and the time to enjoy it with our family and friends.  

Happy Passover!

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 14, 2016

Boarding 613

So this was pretty amazing with the mystical number 613.

Today, it showed up on the arrivals board for the trains, and I literally had to run down the train platform to capture this photo after my daughter saw it in the distance from the escalator. 

Under destination (DEST) and minutes (MIN) for wait, the first line says boarding (BRD)--although just a moment before it said arriving (ARR). 

Then the next two lines has the trains arriving in 6 minutes and in 13 minutes, respectively.

Also note that this same morning I saw 613 twice more (for a total of 3 times) on the train car/doors and in the phone number for a truck parked in front of the grocery. 

I am no prophet, but I believe that something important or perhaps cataclysmic is about to happen ("arriving") in the world. 

Interestingly enough, in 10 days is Passover--the redemption of the Jews from slavery in Egypt along with the giving of the 10 commandments (of the total 613) on Sinai. 

Now is a good time for faith, devotion, and prayer--that is my feeling for what it's worth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 11, 2015

Happy Chametz Time Again



Thank you to Congregation Magen David for a wonderful end of Passover party.

The family, new friends, music, singing, dancing, and food made for a truly joyous evening.

Happy and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it. 

Now counting up to Shavuot and the giving of the Torah. 

The Jewish people rock! ;-)

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

November 2, 2014

Exodus Hollywood Style 2014


Very excited about the new Exodus movie coming next month. 

Looks high budget action and with great special effects.

Hopefully, not a disappointment like Noah (2014 film)--I don't think it will be. 

Good wins over evil--well, we all know that already from the Bible!

According to the Passover Haggadah, we are supposed to retell every year, from generation to generation, our story of going from the cruel enslavement by evil dictators to the redemption by the merciful Almighty G-d.

It's timeless and our history!  ;-)

(Note: Movie name is Exodus G-ds and Kings, but there is only one G-d.)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 18, 2014

Jewish is Super

So with the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Oakland Park, Kansas this week right before Passover, and the near simultaneous "grotesque" targeting of Jews by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, we are reminded that while Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt (thank G-d), we are still unfortunately targeted by evil people around the world. 

In the Kansas City incident, I read how the white supremacist shooter went right up to a lady visiting her mother at the old-age home and asked her "Are you Jewish?" And when she replied in the affirmative (even though she was not), he shoot her dead on the spot. 

It turns out this lady was an occupational therapist that helped blind children...what kind of monster would just murder someone (anyone) like this? 

Similarly in eastern Ukraine, leaflets are being handed out demanding that Jews register in the government office, pay special taxes, and declare their property or face deportation. Here too, we witness the devilish markings of some that are repetitive of their deplorable past as Nazi collaborators, concentration camp guards, and murders.  

I read yesterday, that not only Jews, but Christians are being targeted in the Middle East with churches burned, those of faith being driven from their homes and ruthlessly murdered, except in Israel where the Christian population is actually increasing and thriving. 

While Superman may not be Jewish (I know of no Jews on planet Krypton), being Jewish is super--and for that matter being any person of faith and dignity is super!  Hate mongers and murders of today, like the evil oppressors of yesteryear--know that truth and justice and the 10 plagues of Egypt are just a {pow!} and {bam!} away--believe it! ;-)

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