Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slavery. Show all posts

January 24, 2021

Evils of Sex Trafficking


 USA Today article on Sex Trafficking:

- 4.8 million people: 3.8 Million adults + 1 million children! (and another 20 million people trafficked for slave labor)

- 99% female

- 70% Asia and Pacific, 4% in America

- $99 Billion in profits 

National Human Trafficking Hotline

- Call: 1-888-373-7888

-Text: “BeFree” (233733)

- Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 22, 2021

Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d."

As we know, Pharaoh refused to let the Jews go from Egypt, whether because G-d hardened his heart for some of the plagues or he just couldn’t bear to see his Jewish slaves free through the final knock-out rounds. Through ten plagues that destroyed Egypt and much of their people, including their first born males in the tenth plague, Pharaoh is intransigent and suffers the terrible consequences....Aside from Pharaoh, perhaps the second most stubborn individual in the Torah is Bilam, who was asked by Balak, the king of Moav, to curse the Jews....even though each and every time, G-d instead blessed them.

In both cases, it is clear that no individual, whether a king or a prophet, can go against that which G-d has decreed!

The lesson is clear: it is best to try to see what direction G-d is leading us forward in and to follow Him all the way, not only because that is the path of least resistance, but because that is what we are meant to do and where we are meant to go in our lives.

(Credit Photo: Minna Meles)


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November 29, 2020

@Underground Railway Trail










(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)


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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)

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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)
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February 9, 2020

From Victims To Victors

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "From Victims To Victors."
The critical image of transformation of the Israelites going from the very depths of slavery to the lofty heights of redemption, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, and going to the Promised Land is relived again in our very own times. This happened immediately after the Holocaust, when the Jews left the death camps of Europe (in fact, many coming by boat over the Mediterranean Sea instead of on foot over the Red Sea as in biblical times) to come to Israel. Here too, the Jews went on to fight as free men in the War of Independence for the founding of the State of Israel just like the Israelites fought the Amalekites in the desert and the Seven Nations to receive the Promised Land of Israel. Furthermore, just like we received the Torah after the redemption from Egypt, we are seeing an incredible resurgence of Torah learning in Israel today.

In both cases of redemption, we had to transform from being victims of slavery and persecution to instead taking the reins in our hands, and with Hashem's help, determining our own destiny and becoming the victors! Incredibly, just as the Israelites were redeemed by Hashem from Egypt and brought to conquer the Promised land 3300 years ago, so too were we, Jews, brought from the ashes of Auschwitz to the shores of the Israel to fight and become "a free nation in our Land, the Land of Zion, Jerusalem" (Hatikvah). And just like the redemption from Egypt resulted in the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to worship Hashem in the desert, so too will we soon relive the redemption in the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, in the right time, we will need to have faith and courage to rebuild it with our very hands, and this will happen speedily and truly in our days. May Hashem let it be!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 10, 2019

Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 

Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 

She was an amazing heroine that they even called her "Moses" for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 

Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 

The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!

Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.

I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 

She didn't kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!

We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what's right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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February 18, 2019

@National Portrait Gallery













(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 2, 2019

Moses' Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Moses's Handicap."
In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.

We can't let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life--we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d's help.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2019

Slavery Touches Us All

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Without Slavery and Genocide."
Coming out of the museum, my daughter asked how anyone could actually do something like this to another human being. I had no answer to this...just like I have none to the Holocaust or any of the other incredibly cruel, sick, and wicked things that people do to each other. 

Hopefully we can all have a brighter future without slavery and without genocide.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2018

Nitpicking To Death

It's funny some people go straight for the kill when they don't like something. 

Others may nitpick you to death. 

Always! looking for something to henpeck at.

It comes out as you're stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.

Why can't you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?

If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!

But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing--guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.

Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  

Or as the old saying goes, "Who died and made you G-d?"

It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.

Instead of tearing down, let's focus on the big picture and what success looks like.

How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?

Customer service doesn't mean personal servitude. 

There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 

Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2018

@Harpers Ferry


















(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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November 26, 2017

You Are The Working Class

So I like to speak with people about their lives.

Today at breakfast, there was a gentlemen working the egg bar making omelettes for people.

Recognizing him, I said "You've been here a number of years?"

He responds, "Yeah, but I want to leave here!"

I was sort of taken aback at his bluntness, and inquired further, "Why, is everything okay?"

He goes, "Not really. They'll only give me work 6 to 7 hours a day, and I can't make a living on 32 hours a week!"

I asked innocently, "Do you have a second job or something?"

He says, "No, this is it," and proceeded to make the next person's omelette.

Feeling sort of shitty bad for him...

Another lady who works the tables says to us: "I won't be seeing you."

I ask, "Why--are you off the next few days?"

She says, "No, I don't come back until next Saturday--I only work the weekends here, and somewhere else on weekdays."

Wondering about this, I say: "So you work 7 days a week?"

She answers, "Yes, year-round!"

After we said goodbye until next time, I looked at my wife grimacing that this women has to work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, just to earn a basic living.

I'll tell you the system is broken.

Shareholders and corporate chieftains squeeze profits and earnings per share out of their companies while the workers can barely get by.

The workers are not part of the companies they labor for--they are merely hired hands who will be replaced in a moment by another minimum wage worker if they but open their mouths to protest one word.

Slavery did not end in building the Great Pyramids of Egypt or in the plantations of the South--the average worker is still just a slave.

Employee engagement and development and "Human Capital" are terms organizations use to make themselves and their workers believe that there is real caring and unity going on.

But we know the truth by how people are treated with harshness, disrespect, disdain, and even abuse--sexual and otherwise!

Yeah, are you really valued or are you a wage slave showered with empty platitudes of unity and caring.

Real leadership is genuine compassion, empathy, and helping people both inside and outside the organization--not just a guise, disguise, mask for making just another dollar cracking the whip on the backs of the underclass.

All people are important.

All people deserve a living wage.

All people are entitled to work with dignity and respect.

All people need to be apart of a system that is fair and equitable.

Care for your brothers and sisters for one day you will be called before them in the court of Heaven and they will speak the final truth to power. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 5, 2017

STOP Human Trafficking

So we watched the movie "Sold."

It was about this young Nepalese girl (maybe age 12) who was sold into a horrible brothel in Kolkata, India.

She fought to keep from getting raped, but eventually they drugged her and tied her hands to the bedpost--where the evil bastards had their way with this child. 

She and the other young girls in the brothel were raped about 10 times every evening to "repay their debts."

The horror these children go through taken, beaten, drugged, and raped over and over again. 

It's unthinkable and the lowest grotesqueness of people who could possibly treat children this way. 

Finally, the young girl does manage to escape to Hope House (a rescue shelter for the human trafficking victims) and with the information she provides, the police are able to raid the brothel and rescue the other children. 

The movie tells how their are 5.5 million children around the world that are being sex trafficked--and I would presume that the real number is unfortunately much higher!

I can only imagine how G-d must cry heavenly tears for these poor children.

It is incredibly hard to understand that in some areas of the world poverty is so bad that some desperate families actually feel they have to resort to selling their children to survive.

In other cases, the children are preyed on and simply disappear.

Children who should be playing with toys are instead forced to be sexual play things. 

Innocent children who should be treated with love and care are instead treated as animals for the sick and cruel physical pleasures of others. 

Have mercy on these children---save these children from wherever they are bound and held--give them back their freedom and their dignity. 

If ever there was a cause for people to rally around--surely, saving these children from sexual abuse and trafficking is one that all can agree is at the crux of our very humanity and mankind's soul. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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