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

August 14, 2020

30,000 Chances To Get It Right

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "30,000 Chances To Get It Right."
Teshuvah (Repentance) is really not just a yearly process, it is a daily one. And 80 years is almost 30,000 days, with every day that we wake up, get up, and start up the process of another day again, we have the opportunity to get it right this day, this time around!

Every day that we awake and arise is a great opportunity to try again where we failed in prior days and we can potentially think holier thoughts, say kinder words, and treat each other better, more compassionately and righteously.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

March 25, 2020

O - Change The World - O

Change the world...by changing your attitude.
Life is Beautiful!
It's a gift.

Every day is renewal and opportunity

Everything is for the best. 

Believe it.  Live it.  And share it.

A smile and a positive attitude is contagious in a good way!

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

January 30, 2020

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.

And they said something that really hit a chord:
You never know what your expiration date is!

What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.

They used the phrase "expiration date" like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 

You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 

So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.

We have a date stamped on us (maybe it's on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can't see it. 

Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 

Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.

So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. ;-)

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

December 8, 2019

The Best of Jewish Nigunim


Shlomo Carlebach was a master of Jewish Nigunim (melodies).

With his music he could literally move one's soul to reach for G-d Almighty in the Heavens and on Earth. 

Thank you Eitan Katz for bringing this alive again.

I hope you can feel it as I do.

Hashem lives!
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 7, 2019

Faith Chases Out The Fear

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Faith Chases Out The Fear."
It’s interesting that faith and fear are incompatible and they cannot coexist. Where one is, the other is not. Just like the light chases away the darkness, so too does faith expel fear from our lives. When we believe that G-d is in charge of everything that happens, and that he loves us and ultimately wants what is good of us then what is there for us to fear?

No matter in what danger we find ourselves and no matter how scared we feel, we are not alone. The Master of the Universe is watching over us, waiting for us to raise our eyes to the heavens in faith, and to take a stand and do what’s right. If we do, then G-d will manifest himself to us and indeed “will carry, and will deliver” us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 30, 2019

Jews, The People of Thanksgiving

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Jews, The People of Thanksgiving."
This week was Thanksgiving (חג ההודיה), but for Jews we are already called, "The People of Thanksgiving. "We are named יהודים (Yehudim) after יהודה (Yehudah), the son of Isaac and Leah because Leah said (Genesis 29:35): "הפעם אודה את יהיה." ("This time let me thank G-d"). Also as Jews, we are not just called the People of  Thanksgiving, but we are actively supposed to say 100 blessings a day thanking G-d, so in the true sense of the word, everyday is Thanksgiving Day for the Jewish people.

Jews are the People of Thanksgiving not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. We are thankful for being the chosen people and for our redemption and return to the Promised Land of Israel; we are thankful for the life and opportunities that G-d has given to us; we are thankful in good times and G-d forbid, in the bad times; and we are thankful because, yes, ultimately everything from G-d is for the good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

November 8, 2019

Righting Wrongs To Sephardim

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Righting Wrongs To Sephardim."
The initial waves of Aliyah beginning in 1882 were driven by the persecution and pogroms, and later the Holocaust, in Europe. Thus, Israeli society initially built up their institutions and power centers around these Ashkenazi pioneers. Immediately after 1948, when Sephardic refugees were expelled from the Arab countries en masse, Israel was overwhelmed with as immigration influx that virtually doubled the Jewish population in Israel in the first three years of its existence. Unfortunately, the newly arrived Sephardim were relegated to a substandard housing and economic situation, which then persisted for many decades.
In Jewish society, however, there is no room for ethnic discrimination and inequality, and the formation of a Sephardic political party in 1984 was a crucial milestone in Jewish social and economic justice. For almost 30 years, Shas was led by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi and spiritual leader, and Shas has remained one of Israel's top political parties.
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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 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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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!  ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark