Showing posts with label Tikkun Olam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tikkun Olam. Show all posts

October 13, 2019

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."
When we see wrong and evil in this world, we have a duty to stand up and speak out with truth and integrity, to be a good influence and guide things for the better, and even to repair the world ("Tikkun Olam")...Words are perhaps a good start, but also, "words are cheap." The way to really judge someone is less by their words, and far more so by their actual deeds. Moreover, sometimes words aren't enough and we need to not just say something, but do something! As Edmund Burke stated, "The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." It's great to speak out when we see wrong, but more than that we have to be willing, when necessary, to act out--to do something.

As Jews, we need to be ready, willing, and able to stand up for what is right in the never ending war of good over evil in this world--regardless of silver or lead, G-d forbid--with our words and with our deeds.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2019

It Spills Over

Sometimes the glass is not half full or half empty. 

But rather is spills over entirely. 

There is nothing, nothing left inside. 

Worse even is when the glass completely shatters.

Then there isn't even a vessel anymore. 

All that's left is to pick up the pieces. 

As humans, we try to fill up the water, stop the water inside from spilling out, and to save the glass.

The rest is in G-d's hands. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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August 1, 2019

Being Jewish and Proud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Being Jewish and Proud."
With roughly 15 million Jews in a world of 7.7 billion people, we make up less than .2% of the world population. However, despite our small size, we’ve been recognized with over 20% of the Nobel Prizes for contributions to the sciences, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Most Jews tend to believe not only in a strong core religious education, but in higher education and lifelong learning, and others excel even when starting out and innovating from their garages. From Abraham and Moses to Einstein and Freud, and even to today’s Jews leading the Technology revolution–such as Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg–the Jewish contribution is truly unparalleled.

Until Mashiach, there will always be some people that hate on us and want to destroy us–perhaps and unfortunately, that’s just who they are. But we choose not be anyone else but Jews, because that’s who we are–and there is every reason to be ourselves, maintain our faith of thousands of years, continue to make awesome contributions that benefit mankind, and be forever proud to be a Jew.

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 22, 2019

I will Survive


G-d gives us strength. 

To battle ignorance, apathy, and evil. 

To educate, persuade, influence, and fight for what's right. 

With a thick skin of battle armor.

And sword and arrows of insight, cunning, and righteousness.

To stand firm even when you feel weakened. 

To find the words even when you are mocked. 

To see clearly and hear distinctly even when confounded. 

The soul and spirit of G-d guides you.

As you traverse a journey through life's winding tests and challenges. 

Fight heroically to repair that which is broken. 

Say resolutely, I will survive!  ;-)
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July 20, 2019

Children's Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Children's Voices and Scars."

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are "destroyed" from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children--those that are still innocent and defenseless--are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:
  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don't be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can't as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 13, 2019

I Pray For The Day

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Pray For The Day."

While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again--shoulder to shoulder--that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies "at each others' throats."

In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 17, 2019

Great Spider-Man

Love this painting of Spider-Man.

Like so many things, this superhero is better in colors (and not just red)!

He's also got two spiders on his chest, and as we know, two are better than one. 

I also appreciate how he stares down evil with the tilt of the head and those over-sized eyes. 

There is still plenty of evil in this world, and we need every superhero we can find to vanquish it!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 31, 2019

Meeting The Honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Remembering Amos Oz."

Wow, this was so awesome today--I got to shake hands with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

We went to the memorial today for famous Israeli author, Amos Oz. 
I love Oz’s literary works–he is a genius–even as I find myself disagreeing with some of his ideology: Yes, I agree with his humanism and the need to have peace with the Palestinians, but also I am steadfast that Israel must remain strong in the face of the numerous threats it faces, especially after the terrible lessons of the Holocaust. However, as much as I came to honor Oz, I felt is was a dishonor to him that the memorial was in great part turned into a political discourse for leftists (even as it was stated that Oz himself separated his pens for literature and politics).

I am convinced that in the end, it will be the moderates, and not the proliferating extremists (left or right) that bring peace, security, and justice to Israel and the Palestinians. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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February 24, 2019

Interfaith Movie Today

This afternoon, we attended the interfaith movie screening of “The Judge.

The movie is about a Palestinian woman who becomes “the first woman judge in a Shari’a ‘family law’ court.” 

Let's just say it wasn't easy for her to break into this male-dominated profession within institutionalized religion in the Middle East.  

Thinking in an interfaith way, I guess it's maybe not so dissimilar to women breaking into the profession of the Rabbinate. 

Another similarity between the religions was that there were many Islamic religious leaders that were very conservative and dead set against women in the Shari'a courts, while others stood up against the tide and inspired change--I think we have similar disagreements in Judaism between the ultra-orthodox who want to stick with the "old" historical ways of doing things, and the more liberal Jews that seek the freedom to alter those ways. 

During the movie, there were some interesting take-aways like under Shariah law, men are allowed up to 4 wives!  

Another funny line in the movie was when one of the men said that the men never make trouble for the women (i.e. it's all the women's fault). 

In the court cases filmed, there seemed to be a lot of cases of domestic violence and of divorce, and in one case in particular the wife was actually stabbed to death in the court house by her husband who she was trying to get a divorce from. 

Overall, it felt good to attend the event and try to be a part of the healing process between people. 

The event was sponsored by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) of Washington, D.C. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 6, 2019

State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union...

But this morning, I still can't help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 

The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.

This didn't happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 

And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 

What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?

One lady said to a group of us last evening:
I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it's NO ONE currently in political office!

To which another gentleman replied:
It doesn't matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.

Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. ;-)
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December 28, 2018

Emo Art

So I've been wanting to post this example of this special art form from my daughter, Rebecca. 

She makes this novel art called, "EMO", which stands for emotional.

In this art she mixes children and monsters--and it depicts how innocent kids have to deal with the monsters they find in an often unscrupulous and morally-tarnished society. 

I love the feelings and message of this art in that it encapsulates how children enter this world in purity, but how so many bad people and things around them (and us) can corrupt that. 

I always learned that the goal for each person was to leave the world a better place then the way we found it; however, I think a more personal goal should also be for us to leave here as better human beings than the day we arrived.  

Challenging ourselves--learning and maturing--yet at the same time keeping that essence of decency and integrity of mind, heart, and deed--that is a life where we can grow up, but not turn into the morally-bankrupt monsters that we see all around us. 

(Source Art: Rebecca Ochayon)
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December 27, 2018

Happy Holidays!

I just had to share this photo. 

Took this in South Florida this week. 

These two guys from Sweden sitting at the pool wearing these Christmas tree hats. 

This was just too great to pass up. 

As I took the photo, one guy gave me the thumbs up and this was just perfect. 

I don't know about you, but they cheered me up even when it seems that the world is otherwise going crazy--in so many ways.

- Politics
- Divisiveness
- Hate
- Fighting
- Injustices
- Suffering

But at the end of the day, it's about the people--and G-d gives us the power to do good and make happy (or vice versa). 

This one made me happy!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2018

Striving To Be Good Enough (This Time Around)

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, "When Are We Good Enough?"
I too believe strongly in reincarnation. I think that is partially what G-d means by doing justice in this world. If you bomb out in life and don't fulfill your true potential than G-d sends you back for another try.  And this can happen as many times as it takes to get it right!

I hope I am getting it right in my life this time around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 12, 2018

Beautiful, Peaceful Picture For Veterans Day

Today, it's Veterans Day. 

So I just wanted to share this beautiful, peaceful picture.

Let there be no war anymore!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2018

Reflections B4 Yom Kippur


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Reflections Before Yom Kippur."

"I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror..."

Hope you enjoy this true story and the parable for living our spiritual lives and not just reach for the ego image in the mirror.

May you be sealed for another year in the book of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things...clothes...money...

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No... It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God's hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 23, 2018

Tisha B'Av @Kotel - Ushering In The Redemption


Last night, as Tisha B'Av (the commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem) was nearing conclusion, we watched these beautiful videos of:

1) The singing of Ani Ma'Amin at the Kotel yesterday in 2018. 
2) An amazing NCSY kumzitz, including at the beginning, the singing of Kol Berama Nishma/Rachel Mivakah at the Kotel a few years ago in 2015.

"A voice is heard in the Heavens, lamentati​on, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children;​ she refuseth to be comforted​ for her children,​ because they are not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded,​ saith the LORD; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord; and thy children shall return to their own border. "

Both are so beautiful, and we imagined G-d looking down from the Heavens and being moved to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and bring his amazing presence closer to us once again on Earth. 

Oh let it be!  ;-)
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July 13, 2018

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 

Some may associate the "Love Truck" with human trafficking or something horrible. 

But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:
Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don't make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.

I almost got to wonder what's on the other side of this truck???

Anyway, I know it's more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 

Happy Friday folks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2018