May 5, 2019

I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly."
I watch with terror the rockets fly.
The plumes of white smoke in the sky.
Randomly, randomly where will they fall.
A car, a home, a factory, a kindergarten.
The shrapnel penetrating the flesh of its victims.
The rockets do not know the difference,
Between military and civilian, men and women, children and old.
Please pray for the peace and security for Israel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Reposted here in video by Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry)
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May 4, 2019

Getting The Biggest Bang For The Buck

So I had the opportunity to sit in on a colleague teaching a class in Performance Improvement. 

One tool that I really liked from the class was the Impact-Effort Matrix. 

To determine project worth doing, the matrix has the:

Impacts (Vertical) - Improved customer satisfaction, quality, delivery time, etc.

Effort (Horizontal) - Money, Time, etc. 

The best bang for the buck are the projects in upper left ("Quick Wins") that have a high impact or return for not a lot of effort. 

In contract, the projects that are the least desirable are in the lower right ("Thankless Tasks") that have a low impact or return but come at a high cost or lot of effort. 

This is simple to do and understand and yet really helps to prioritize projects and find the best choices among them. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2019

What Are The Chances for IT Project Success?

So I was teaching a class in Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance this week. 

In one of the class exercises, one of the students presented something like this bell-shaped distribution curve in explaining a business case for an IT Project. 

The student took a nice business approach and utilized a bell-shaped curve distribution to explain to his executives the pros and cons of a project. 

Basically, depending on the projects success, the middle (1-2 standard deviations, between 68-95% chance), the project will yield a moderate level of efficiencies and cost-savings or not. 

Beyond that:

- To the left are the downside risks for significant losses--project failure, creating dysfunction, increased costs, and operational risks to the mission/business. 

- To the right is the upside potential for big gains--innovations, major process reengineering, automation gains, and competitive advantages. 

This curve is probably a fairly accurate representation based on the high IT project failure rate in most organizations (whether they want to admit it or not). 

I believe that with:
- More user-centric enterprise architecture planning on the front-end
- Better IT governance throughout
- Agile development and scrum management in execution 
that we can achieve ever higher project success rates along the big upside potential that comes with it!  

We still have a way to go to improve, but the bell-curve helps explains what organizations are most of the time getting from their investments. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Adapted by Andy Blumenthal from here)
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May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

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May 1, 2019

Contributors and Whiners


Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

- Those that contribute, don't whine--they are focused on how to make things better!

- Those that whine, don't contribute--they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

- Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

- But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You're often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)
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April 29, 2019

Flowers and Bird

Just wanted to share this beautiful painting from Reuben in our synagogue.

I love the plethora of colorful flowers in the vase.  

The sweet bird with it.

The verdant green background. 

The unique etched wood frame. 

Very happy...and all the world is okay.  ;-)

(Source Photo of Reuben Art: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2019

Rockville Science Fair - 30th Year!















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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April 27, 2019

The Hateful, Anti-Semitic New York Times


This is what has become of the garbage New York Times...

Resorting to anti-Semitism, hate, and incitement against the Jewish people and Israel.


This from the New York Times "coincidentally" the same day that a shooting spree took place at a synagogue in California resulting with one women dead, multiple people injured, and the Rabbi losing one or more of his fingers. 

Complete disgrace on the hateful, Anti-Semitic New York Times!

U.S. Department of Justice investigation!!!

Amazing how the alt-left liberals, with the New York Times leading the march of hate, profess to fight against every ...phobia and ...ism, except of course, against the age-old Anti-Semitism! 

How are the New York Times' disgusting "leadership" going to be held accountable? 

For every decent person still out there, please dump your subscription to the garbage New York Times and stand up against the hateful publication that it truly is.

(Source Caricature: The Hateful, Anti-Semitic New York Times) 
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Top Secret Tinseltown

So this is a city with a lot of secrets. 

I'm not talking about just the run-of-the-mill, non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

This is Top Secret Tinseltown!

And even the stuff that comes out in the news--whether it's clandestine transfers of $1.7 billion to the Ayatollahs in Iran or the Uranium One deal with the Russians, there is plenty of dirty little games going on. 

What was hilarious is when when saw this huge industrial shredding truck in the parking lot:


Paper Shredding * Electronic Destruction * Medical Waste Disposal

And there were a line of cars waiting to get rid of their little secrets.

I kid you not when I say that on a Saturday morning, there were at least 25 cars in line to dispose of their "stuff."

Now who do you know in what city that waits 25 cars deep in line for an industrial shredder on a Saturday morning.

And the cars are pulling up, the trunks are popping open, and boxes and boxes of paper and electronic files are being handed over. 

Gee, I hope the Russians or Chinese aren't getting into the shredding business...and inside the truck isn't a large shredder but a bunch of analysts waiting for you to hand it all over. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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Barking And Biting

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, "We Must Take Every Bark Seriously."


Sometimes, when they bark, they don’t bite. But other times, the bark is the prelude to the bite. I don’t think you can judge intentions by the bark, and I am certain you need to always be ready for the bite. Dogs and people are not really that different. Over millennia of history, Jews have been threatened and persecuted–barked at and bitten, and they have not been mutually exclusive.

The Jewish people are few in number and with a small but miraculous and wonderful country--we know that rabid dogs that bark against us, also can bite ferociously, and we must take every threat seriously for our very survival. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 25, 2019

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone's input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it's critical to be competent, confident, and "know what you're talking about."

Amos Oz wrote:
Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it's an important balancing act:

- Not to be so self-confident that you aren't listening to others, 
- But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don't stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 24, 2019

Project Suicide

This was sort of a funny scene in a project meeting. 

One person describing the challenges at one point, spontaneously and dramatically motions to take a knife and slit both wrists.

This absolutely got people's attention.

Understanding the struggles the person was expressing, and trying to add a little lightheartedness to the situation, I say:

"This is a tough project, pass around the knife."

This got a good hearty laugh around the table, with one person saying that this was the quote of the day. 

Anyway, we want to make operations as effortless as possible on people, but the project work to get there is definitely making people work for it. 

Let's avoid project or people suicide--be supportive of each other, pace ourselves, team together, and problem-solve to get it successfully over the finish line.

Soon we can celebrate all the challenges we overcame together and from our determined efforts, all the wonderful results. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 23, 2019

Hopefully, All's Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):
When the end is good, all is good. 

Or as we commonly say:
All's well that end's well. 

Lot of truth to this. 

And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.

When things end well, it's as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it's as if everything was bad. 

The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 

Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 

Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 

In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.

- Was all the hard work worth it?

- Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?

- Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 

- What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?

We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2019

You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.

It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it's not all roses. 

In short, it went something like this:
There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 

I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 

No not about Philadelphia, but about life--that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn't as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 

Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize ("first place") is really not something to get excited about, because it's in Philadelphia!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 21, 2019

And There Came A New King Who Knew Not Joseph

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "And There Came A New King Who Knew Not Joseph."


As we commemorate Passover, we remember that:
In Egypt, the Jews rose to the highest ranks, with Joseph being second only to the Pharaoh, and “Israel settled in the land of Egypt in the region of Goshen; they acquired property in it and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly.” (Genesis 47:27) But then: “A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8) Similarly, in Europe, the Jews had risen to the highest ranks of society, they were free and prospered. They prospered and thrived religiously, and built synagogues and yeshivas to worship and learn in. Moreover, the Jews thought they were Germans (and other European nationalities), like everyone else, and that they were fundamentally safe. That is, until there arose a “new king,” Adolf Hitler (may his name be cursed forever), “who knew not Joseph.”
What will happen in America that we all love--will the pendulum swing once again to hate and anti-Semitism, where there comes a new king that does not know Joseph? 

(Source 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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April 18, 2019

Impeach + AOC


I saw these two photos separately.

But I instantly realized that they belong together. 

Like peanut butter and jelly. 

Who is a bigger pee brain than AOC?

* She impulsively lost 25,000 jobs and $5 billion investment in NYC from Amazon (as well as about $27.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years). 

* Her ridiculous Green New Deal wanted to rid us of farting cows and airplanes and didn't get a single yes vote in the Senate (even from her own party). 

* AOC stated that the three branches of government are the "the presidency, the senate, and the house" (Uh, wrong!). 

* Ocasio-Cortez boasts insanely that government deficit-spending doesn't really matter (hmm, I wonder is that how she handles her personal finances too?).

* She allies herself with fellow anti-American and anti-Semites like:
- Ilhan "(Schmilhan) Somebody Did Something [on 9/11]" Omar
- Rhasida "(Israel-Hater) They Forgot What Country They Represent" Tlaib
- Linda "Muslim Brotherhood" Sarsour

How did anyone actually vote for (or support) people like these to run this amazing country?  ;-)

(Source Photo: AOC is from Facebook and Impeachment is from me)
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This Is What You Smell

Great sign at the nut stand at Sugarloaf Festival.
"This Is What You Smell!"

Hot cinnamon pecans or almonds. 

Wow, did that smell nice.

I got a tiny bag of the pecans, and when I opened it, the smell and taste that hot cinnamon really took over. 

Were there other smells present as well?

Probably, but I chose to focus on the cinnamon nuts. 

The other smells will have to wait for their special sign and appropriate attention to deal with it. ;-)

(Source 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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April 16, 2019

(Maybe) Stop Complaining

So this past Shabbat, there was a wonderful guest speaker at Aish, Rav Gav(riel) Friedman. 

He was a very lively speaker and with a lot of worthy teachings for his lucky audience. 

One thing he said that really stuck with me is about people that complain. 

People have hard lives!

As he said, "I don't know what each of you has been through."

But one thing that can help us cope with our challenges is our perspective.  

And then he said the following:
We need to be glad that we have something to complain about!

Huh, what does that mean?

Well, think about it...

- If you complain about your spouse, thank G-d that you are married (and have a life partner) to complain about. 

- If you complain about your job, thank G-d that you have a job (and income) that you can complain about. 

- If you complain about your food, thank G-d that you have food to eat (and sustenance for your body) to complain about.

And so on and so forth. 

Whatever we complain about, think about what you actually have (the big picture) and what you are complaining about (usually the little picture). 

Really, we have so much to be grateful for that we can easily just forget or take for granted. 

So next time your complaining, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE that you are complaining about--you might stop yourself from complaining.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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Theater And A Bagel

We stopped in at the Flying V Awesome-A-Thon yesterday. 

How can anything "awesome" not be good? 

Flying V mixes it up with the arts and culture. 

They combine theater with wrestling!

Essentially, this group tries to add adventure and combat to the more staid dramatic performances. 

Anything that brings theater more alive is definitely a good thing. 

We got to sit in on the event organizers doing a live podcast and could definitely see their enthusiasm for "Shakespeare and training" and becoming a success story.  

Anyway, they did have some snacks at the event, and this colorful bagel was definitely the standout. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 14, 2019

Ilhan Omar - Laughing At Terrorism Against America

It's time to stop defending this anti-American hate-monger who sits in the esteemed House of Representatives.

Omar's words: 
When I was in college, I took at terrorism class....we learned the ideology...Every time the professor said Al Qaeda, his shoulder went back {in intensity/fear}...We are laughing his name.

Watch her video here mocking Americans about terrorists, Al Qaeda--the same who killed 3,000 people on 9/11.

This is just one of many instances of her extreme callousness, like where she recently said casually about 9/11, "Some people did something"--that something which was a mass murder terror attack on American soil. 

As we contemplate the hate-mongering of Ilhan Omar, we should think about what Luthern pastor, Martin Niemoller once cautioned: 
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
This isn't about left and right, but about hatred, bigotry, and racism at the highest levels, and we need to stand together against it. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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The Mitzvah of Vaccination

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Mitzvah of Vaccination."
According to the CDC, "Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps, or rubella"...for yourself, your families, your community, and for all the other innocent people out there who want to be and stay healthy, please get vaccinated; do your part as a good citizen and Jew.

Getting vaccinated–it is a mitzvah and please G-d, for all, a L’Chaim!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 12, 2019

Gotta Love FANUC


I love FANUC industrial robots. 

They are made by a secretive company in Japan and they are #1 in workplace automation worldwide! 

They have over half a million installed industrial robots around the world.

Their robots are on assembly lines making everything from "cars and smartphones to beverages and drugs."  They also are in Tesla and Amazon...so you know they are pretty much everywhere. 

FANUC has customers in 108 countries supported by 263 service locations. 

Their robots are made by...that's right other robots...80% is automated

These robots are strong, fast, and precise, and they can do dangerous work. 

This company is the future of jobs, productivity, efficiency. 

But of course, people are still the brains behind the brawn.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2019

Israel 4th Nation To Reach the Moon Surface - Mazel Tov!


What an unbelievable achievement for Israel. 

Even without a soft landing, Israel is the 4th country in the world to reach the moon surface.

The Moon Club of Just Four:
USA - The Most Powerful
Russia - The Largest by Landmass
China - The Largest by Number of People
Israel - The Holy Land!

Mazel Tov on this truly great accomplishment.

We are all so proud of you!  ;-)
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Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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April 10, 2019

Cats of Israel





Just wanted to share these photos of some lovely cats from Israel.

There are so many cats just roaming the streets, shops, gardens, and alleyways.

These don't run from people, but are part of the landscape itself.

Almost like a soul in each one that is living a peaceful life anew in the Holy Land. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 8, 2019

Extra Large Sizes

Obesity rates have been consistently growing in this country.

This is concerning for all sorts of health effects (including unfortunately Cancer). 

Many of us struggle with our weight and it is not easy to fight it especially given the processed foods and carbs all around us. 

The picture as of 2015 is that almost 40% of Americans are categorized as obese (versus a below average of 18% in Israel)  

In this context, this store sign in Israel for big and tall clothing was off the charts. 

Talking about extra large sizes for people...

Check out how many "Xs" as in XL this store is advertising? 

A full 11 Xs (after that I lost count)!

Hey, that is a large size for anyone. 

What does a size 11 XL look like.

Now that's something that I don't have a good picture of.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 7, 2019

@Strathmore With Violin Virtuoso Zoltan Maga





Nice time today at Strathmore Concert Hall. 

Listened to beautiful music by Violin Virtuoso Zoltan Maga and The Budapest Gypsy Orchestra.

Zoltan was amazing and he played the violin with expertise that I have rarely seen in my life.

It was as of the violin literally came alive in his hands.

His son, Zoltan, Jr. also played wonderfully and seems to be a "chip off the old block."

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Zoltan and the orchestra play a pretty mean Hava Nagillah!

Also, the Hungarian Ambassador was there to welcome Zoltan. 

It was beautiful at the end when they told how Zoltan does many charity concerts and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to needy orphan homes. 

I shook Zoltan's hand, but I could tell he was very protective of his magic hands.

Truly, he is a master and you can see the skill from Hashem in him--it was amazing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

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