Showing posts with label Rebuild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rebuild. Show all posts

August 9, 2019

Speedily Rebuild The Temple

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Rebuilding The Temple, Healing Our People."

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) is on Shabbat this year, so we conduct the day of mourning and fast on Sunday. The destruction of the Temple and our subsequents exiles from the Holy Land are deeply traumatic periods of Jewish history. Needless to say, this is a very sad and scary time of year. However, we are living in the time of redemption, when after 2,000 years, the Jewish people have been blessed to be returned to their biblical homeland, Israel. Next up is the rebuilding of the Temple VERY SOON, please G-d.

Let us hope and pray that we are deserving of Hashem’s blessings and mercy, and that sadness will be completely turned into joy, the world will be healed, and peace will prevail.


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

August 29, 2018

Just One Mistake

So all it takes is one mistake. 

And your whole life can be completely altered. 

The consequences for a slip up in a split second in time. 

I'm talking to someone today and he tells me his story and it goes like this:

He came here from overseas in early 2000 after winning the lottery for a green card.  

split second and his life is changed miraculously for the better. 

He moves here and finds work as an electrician. 

He saves money, gets married, and is living a decent life. 

All is well and then...

One day, another split second and he is on the scaffolding doing his work as an electrician and suddenly it collapses, and he falls severely breaking his leg and knee.  

He is taken to the hospital where the doctor tells him his injuries are too severe and he is transported to another major metropolitan hospital. 

After three surgeries, his leg is put back together with metal plates, rods, and bolts. 

He is unable to work, loses his job, and eats through his savings living off it while his leg slowly heals. 

Next, the hospital comes after him for $60,000 in medical bills. 

He says he has no choice but to leave the country to escape the debt, which he cannot pay. 

After 7 years and with the debt forgotten, he is able to return to this country.

His wife who he married here claims he abandoned her and divorces him.

He has lost everything he had in this country.

He shows me that his leg has huge scars up and down the sides and he bangs on his leg multiple times to show me the metal plates holding it together. 

He also demonstrates to me also that even after all these years, he still can't run and as he tries in slow motion, his knee collapses and he visibly starts to lose his balance. 

I asked if he still has pain these 10 years later, and he says, "Yes!" 

Then he comes closer, turns to me, and with a very serious look, he shakes his head.

He says, "It only takes one mistake...just one mistake."  ;-)

(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

November 14, 2016

Beautiful Rise and Fall

Just wanted to share this beautiful Fall scene in Maryland.

While we are about to embark on a major infrastructure spending spree to make this country great again--and we need it to fix all the rot in our roads, bridges, trains, airports, marine ports, schools, utilities, and more--at the same time, we need to keep in mind the safeguarding of the beauty of our natural outdoor spaces and resources.

I heard President-elect Trump on 60 Minutes last night speak about the $6 trillion that we have spent in the Middle East fighting terrorism since 9/11, and that with that money, we could've rebuilt our infrastructure twice over.

While the amount is seen on the high end, the point is that while other nations are investing in their infrastructure, people, and future, we are wasting large sums of blood and treasure in a fight that in over 15 years, we haven't won, and many question whether we are significantly even any safer.

We need to fight smarter, spend more strategically, and take care of America first.

BTW, what did we get from the prior investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus spending of $831 billion in 2009...where did all that money go (uh, down the special interest drain)?

While the beautiful outdoors needs to stay pristine, our country needs to seriously rebuild with clear project expectations and results and at the same time wipe out the terror threats against us--no more dabbling, PC, Mr. Nice Guy (of course, we need to be nice to those that are nice to us, but also we need to fight for this country like we mean it)!

That's a big agenda, but for under $6 trillion, we ought to be able to get some decent return on our investment please, ;-)

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

April 10, 2016

Success Is Not A Silver Spoon

So there is a disappointing editorial in the Sunday New York Times Review Section today. 

It is by Christopher Chabris and Joshua Hart in "How Not To Explain Success."

They attempt to dispel the explanation of 2 Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld that various ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. Cubans, Jews, Indians, etc.) "had achieved disproportionate success in America" because of three things:

1) "A belief that their group was inherently superior to others"

2) "A sense of personal insecurity"

3) "A high degree of impulse control"

But Chabris and Hart claim this is falsehood and instead attribute the success to the people's innate higher intelligence and superior socioeconomic background.

In other words, Chabris and Hart would have us believe that the ethnic and religious minorities they speak of were somehow "born with a silver spoon in their mouths"-- which is complete NONSENSE.

While Chabris and Hart (of Union College) themselves claim vastly superior empirical evidence from their survey of a whopping 1,258 adults, they dismiss others' arguments such as Yale University professors, Chua and Rubenfeld, as mere "circumstantial evidence."

Well I and many of my family and friends that I grew up with must be part of that silly circumstantial evidence, called PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

You see, we are part of the generation of Holocaust Survivors and Children Of Holocaust Survivors, who came to America, as my grandmother said "without a chair to sit on" or a dime in their pockets. 

My father worked long, hard hours in a factory eventually becoming its manager and he and my mom provided for our family. Both my parents lost most of their education due to the War and the need to "go out and earn a living."

Similarly, one of my best friends grew up also the child of survivors. His father came from the Holocaust and ended up working blue collar work as an electrician, eventually owning his business.  

Neither family started with much--I ended up managing technology in some awesome agencies for the Federal government and my friend as an executive in the cruise industry.  

Virtually, the entire generation of Jews who fled to America as refugees from the Holocaust came with nothing...yet the people and their children worked hard, very hard, and they were blessed, and become successful. 

So, I have no surveys to back me up, but I do have my life and that of almost an entire generation of real life facts from people's lives--not made up of speculative survey questions and their interpretation of results.

So from my perspective, it is Chabris and Hart that are 100% WRONG!

You see they don't know from where we came and under what horrible conditions and how we arrived here as immigrants with nothing but our faith in G-d Almighty and the love of our families and community. 

And for the record, Chua and Rubenfeld are right:

Point #1, we were clearly taught a sense of superiority--but not what people mistakenly think--it is not based on intelligence, looks, or on physical strength, but rather based on that we were Biblically expected to behave differently as Jews and live more stringently. 

And that goes clearly to point #3, which is impulse control...the Jewish religion is based on 613 commandments--we are expected to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, keep Shabbat and holidays a certain way, raise a family a certain way...there is a huge amount of impulse control involved and in fact, not all of us are successful meeting all those stringent requirements--but it is a precondition upon which many of us grow up. 

Finally, in terms of point #2--personal insecurity, I am not sure how much more insecure you can be when your people just got slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world's worst genocide ever known, and you are one of the survivors who has to rebuild--Yes, that is an incredible motivator!

If Chabris and Hart believe that we made it here based on pure intellect or positive socioeconomic factors--they are either complete idiots or sickly delusional.

While people's personal success is highly subjective for them, as a whole group though, I most certainly believe that G-d blessed the Jewish people after the horrors and unbelievable suffering of the Holocaust. 

No level of intelligence or falsely perceived socioeconomics can explain what only G-d's infinite mercy can endow. ;-)

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

September 11, 2015

Remnants Of The Holocaust

So I had coffee with a wonderful gentleman this week.

And he--like myself--is a child of Holocaust survivors. 

Two quick stories he told me:

- His father, a survivor of the notorious concentrations camps that killed millions, had a number tattooed on his arm by the cursed Nazis. As the years past and his father worked to resume a normal life, what did he do with that number to try and help forget all the atrocities he went through? Get this...he used the number on his arm as the code for garage door opener. As he told his son, this way, I will never forget the code to open it.

- As a child, my new friend wanted to go to summer camp, he once asked his father, "Dad, when you were my age did you go to camp?" And his father replied, "Yes, I went to concentration camp!" Indeed, a very different sort of experience for a child. These days our children run, play, and swim in the beautiful outdoors at summer camp, but in our parents time, as Jews, they were hauled in cattle cars to suffer at the hands of the Nazis in slave labor, starvation, disease, beatings, torture, and in extermination camps behind razor-sharp barbed wire, attack dogs, and watch towers with machine guns.

How on Earth did these atrocities and genocide occur just 70 years ago--in the 20th century?

As much as I have learned, I am still dumbfounded by it: people (really more like vicious animals or Zombie devils) brutalizing other people, human beings--men, women, children, old people, the sick and disabled--and exterminating millions in the most horrific and brutal ways.

Now, the victims, their children, and grandchildren are left to go on and rebuild, where a tattooed number by the Nazis in the infamous concentration camps becomes a reminder for the everyday garage door opener in what we try to make of a normal life once again. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to HolocaustSurvivors.org)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 2, 2013

Rebuild, Not Regret

The Wall Street Journal (30 July 2013) says that it takes most people at least two years to recover from a breakup or a job loss.

And longer, if the loss is abrupt, sudden--and you are in shock, disbelief, and unprepared. 


When something bad happens, this is an important point in our lives to stop, take some time, and reexamine our lives--Where are we going? How did we mess up? What's really important? How should we rebuild? 


While you can't rush the healing process, I do think that the best medicine (after some recuperative time) is to "get right back on the horse."


When we suffer a loss, we feel traumatized, depressed, anxious, and self-absorbed.


But the best way to overcome those feelings is to take positive action.


Your feelings are important, but I don't think that the bad feelings go away until you replace them with positive feelings.


When my wife used to get some negative people in her life, she used to say, "I need positive energy around me," and I sort of used to laugh, but it's funny, in a way, she was really right. 


Positive energy replaces negative energy. Good feelings replace bad feelings. A good situation replaces a bad one. Rebuilding replaces regret and loss. 


This doesn't mean that when you suffer a loss that the void can ever be filled, but that the only real pain reliever is giving life meaning again--and that means doing something positive with it. 


No, I don't believe in just jumping in to something before you are ready, doing something foolhardy or not well thought out, but you will feel and become better again by coming up with a reasonable plan and working toward it.


Taking positive steps forward is a better scenario than sitting idly in the dumps--for two years or longer, forget it. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Kappel)

Share/Save/Bookmark

March 8, 2010

Social Order In Chaos And In Calm

Less than two months after devastating earthquakes on 12 January 2010 toppled much of Port-Au-Price, Haiti leaving more than 220,000 dead and 1.3 million homeless, there are indications of social order reemerging (WSJ 8 March 2010).

The rise of social order in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake is occurring in the tent cities that have sprung up and is especially amazing given that the formal government is still in disarray.

In the tent cities, “committees agitate to secure food, water and supplies in high demand from international aid organizations.”

In one encampment, the makeshift “President” of the tent city of 2,000 stated: “we knew we wouldn’t receive any assistance unless we formed a committee…there is no government but us.”

So the people organized and formed an “executive committee,” took a census, provided aid organizations lists of their residents to help in the distribution of aid, and have even started to issue identification cards. Committees are also setting up people to work as security guards for “keeping the peace.”

To me, there are many lessons from this story of hope and reemergence:

1. Order prevails over chaos: Even amidst some of the most horrific events shattering lives and communities, social order takes root again and drives away the surrounding chaos. While conditions on the ground are still horrific, people realize that they are stronger planning and working together for the greater good than wallowing in a state of pandemonium and fighting each other.

2. Governance emerges even in the absence of government: Structured decision-making is so basic to societal functioning that it emerges even in the absence of strong formal government institutions. So certainly with government intact and vital, we need to establish sound governance to meet the needs of our constituents in a transparent, organized, and just fashion.

3. “Where there is life, there is hope”—this is an old saying that I used to hear at home from my parents and grandparents and it seems appropriate with the dire situation in Haiti. Despite so much death and suffering there, the people who survived, have reason to be hopeful in the future. They are alive to see another day—and despite its enormous challenges—can rebuild and make for a better tomorrow.

These lessons are consistent with the notion to me of what enterprise architecture is all about—the creation of order out of chaos and the institution of meaningful planning and governance as the basis for ongoing sustainment and advancement of the institutions they support.

Finally, it shouldn’t take a disaster like an earthquake for any of us to realize that these elements of social order are the basic building blocks that we all depend on to survive and thrive.

The real question is why in disaster we eventually band together, but in times of calm we tear each other apart?


Share/Save/Bookmark