February 3, 2018

Good People And Bad

So what is one of the hardest lessons in life to learn?

There are really good and holy people out there, but there are also truly bad and evil ones. 

It's not such a difficult concept, except if you just don't think that way. 

I think some of us just want to believe that at the heart of it all, people are fundamentally good--or at the very least they struggle in order to fight off the evil impulse.

They are created by G-d.

They have parents and families.

They have challenges and disappointments. 

They have a good soul. 

Or do they?

Perhaps like everything in life--G-d created everything and it's opposite.

- There is life and death.

- There is light and dark. 

- There is cold and hot.

- There is land and water. 

- There is male and female. 

- There is pleasure and pain.

- There is work and rest. 

- There is holy and profane.

Everything has it's counterpart.

- In this respect then, there are good people and there are bad.

Not that there aren't people who are both--they do some good things and some bad.

Just like with everything, you can have greys or mixtures--some of this AND some of that. 

But still, G-d created everything and its opposite.

- Again, there is heaven and hell. 

And yes, there are some people that are perhaps truly good and others that are very bad.

The really good ones--they are holy, they give, they love, they inspire. 

The really bad ones--they are vicious devil wolves. 

That doesn't mean anyone is completely perfect or imperfect, but as with everything, there are people as there are inanimate objects that function at the extremes. 

Most of us don't live in the extreme, yet we do see those that we know are examples of each:

We recognize the best and these are people with a heart of gold and a soul that shines light, love, and gives to others.

Similarly, the worst ones are with a heart that is selfish and greedy and a soul that is dark, hateful. and violent.

We don't like to think of the extremes.

They either are too perfect or too frighteningly evil, but yet they do exist and we know it just as we know life and death, light and dark, cold and hot, land and water, male and female, pleasure and pain, work and rest, holy and profane, and even the destinations of heaven and hell. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 2, 2018

The Hunted Becomes Hunters

I was on the treadmill and on the TV was the movie Rambo First Blood with Sylvester Stallone--he's incredible. 

There is an amazing scene where he is running, outnumbered, outgunned, and being literally hunted in the woods. 

But as he is a special forces trained warrior, he turns the tables on the bad guys. 

- The hunted become the hunter!

Life is not Hollywood.

Yet, miracles do happen, and good can overcome evil. 

Like the more than 150 brave women of the USA Olympics Gymnastics Team who testified and put the creep Larry Nassar away for the rest of his disgusting life. 

The hunted can be empowered through the justice system and do what is right and put the bad guys away--where they should stay and rot out their miserable days. 

The innocent women who suffered at his dirty hands prevail!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 1, 2018

Happiness Is Serving G-d


Times may be tough.

But I have faith in G-d.

I turn to Him in whatever challenge or enemy arises. 

My heart is singing to Him. 
Hashem Melech.
Hashem Malach.
Hashem Yimloch L'Olam VaEd

In English:
G-d is king.
G-d was king.
G-d will be king forever. 

What other reassurance in life could we ever want or need. 

My heart is singing. 
Hashem is G-d.  
Hashem is One. 

Yes, it is singing. 

I have faith that all will be well. 

- Peace, Health, Happiness, Prosperity. 

Because it is G-d who rules now and forever and ever! ;-)
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January 31, 2018

Birthday of Trees




Today is the holiday of Tu Bishvat.

That is the Birthday for (fruit) Trees!

It's when Jewish people celebrate and plant trees around the world and especially in the Holy Land. 

Last night, we celebrated with Chabad Israeli Center of Rockville where they had not only of the "7 Fruits" of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates), but they also had some very nice wine and cheese, delicious bourekas, and pastries. 

We learned about the biblical meaning of the "7 Species of Fruits" and the flourishing of the land of Israel, celebrated with music and song, and played a trivia game with our smartphones using a cool new gaming and learning application, called Kahoot

A special thank you to Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Beitsh and to Samy Ymar for sponsoring the event.

Overall, a beautiful evening to meet new people and celebrate a very happy birthday to the beautiful trees and mother nature that G-d has so benevolently bestowed on us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2018

Take Off The Halo and Horn

Thought this was a learning moment. 

The halo and horn effects. 

This has to do with generalizing about people, things, places, or events. 

With the halo effect, if we like (are positive) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial halo on it and treat or rate everything about it as great.

Similarly, with the horn effect, if we dislike (are negative) about one or a few things about it, we may put a proverbial horn on it and treat or rate everything about it as horrible. 

This means we're not really being objective or balanced in our assessment. 

Usually, it's not all just good or bad, black or white--but good AND bad, black AND white.  

And obviously, this can cause us to make bad decisions based on poor analysis and judgment. 

Therefore, the importance of taking a step back, looking holistically at all the facts, and evaluating things for what they really are, rather than making snap calls to judgment--and poor ones at that! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to darksouls1)
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January 28, 2018

The Devil Wolf Attack

So I had one of the scariest dreams that I've ever experienced--and it is a true story from just last evening. 

It was so completely real, I can't even tell you.

There was a devil wolf that attacked me from the the back and literally jumped on me. 

It's claws were wrapped around my neck and I could tell that with any movement whatsoever, they would immediately slice and sever my arteries completely.

His huge jaws were at the backside of my head, it's hot breath searing my flesh, and his sharp gnawing teeth were ready at any moment to snap into my neck. 

His full weight, incredible strength, and evil presence were heavy on me and ripping into my back and shoulders. 

It was clear how close I was to the very end of it all. 

The pure evil of this devil wolf being and the ferociousness of the attack was the most fearsome that I could ever imagine. 

What happened next I will never tell anyone, except that I am alive to tell the story.

But this experience of undeniable and terrible evil so close and foreboding has left me a different person forever. 

There are forces of true evil out there--for sure--and we must never let our guard down for a second. 

But as Rabbi Nachman says, it is a narrow bridge, but with the good of G-d, we must never fear at all. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Efraim Stochter)
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January 27, 2018

The Most Precious and Beautiful Song

Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Earth.

Sing throughout all the Heavens.

Sing from the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the People.

Sing throughout all the Angelic Host.

Sing from the Animals, the Fish, and the Fowl.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Begining of Time.

Sing throughout the End of Time.

Sing in the Morning, the Noon, and the Night.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.



Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Mountains.

Sing throughout the rolling Valleys.

Sing in the Forests, the Cities, and the Seas.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from every Tree.

Sing throughout the sprawling blades of grass.

Sing from every drop of dew, pouring of rain, and howling of wind.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from each Word.

Sing throughout all your Deeds.

Sing in the Thinking, the Doing, and the Speaking.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from every beating Heartbeat.

Sing throughout all your Breaths.

Sing in your Comings, your Goings, and Wherever you are.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing with your Material wealth.

Sing throughout all your Spiritual awakenings.

Sing during your Journey, at your Milestones, and when you arrive at your Destination.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from your successes.

Sing throughout all your failures.

Sing during your tryings, your learnings, and your growing.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.

(Note 1: Incredibly, this is my first song and it came to me early on the Shabbat where we read the portion of the Torah when G-d miraculously led the Israelites through the split sea and they sang the "Shirah" (song) of thanksgiving to G-d for saving and redeeming them from slavery to freedom, and I didn't even know it was this Shabbat!)

(Note 2: I would love if someone can put this to music and make this into an amazing song to G-d.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 25, 2018

Messed Up By Norton Clean

So I got this message on my computer that it's time to run Norton Clean.

Oy, what a mistake. 

This tool is not ready for prime time. 

It's supposed to optimize memory and clean up duplicate and residual files.

But in my experience, it swept up more good files than junk files. 

And I ended up having to pull my files back from the trash and manually restore them to their file structure. 

What a pain in the you know what!

Artificial intelligence--not way the I see this utility/tool. 

If you don't pay attention, you can lose a lot of important information. 

Yes, it gives you a chance to review the files, but then what do you really need this cleaning tool to begin with. 

Maybe you have a different experience, I can only speak for myself. 

But a little human intelligence goes a long way to sift through the wheat from the chaff--that's what your files really need anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2018

If G-d Is With Me

I love this photo and caption that I saw on Facebook. 

Basically it translates from Hebrew as:
"If G-d is with me
Who can stand against me."

And it's a picture of someone walking through the split sea like in the exodus from Egypt. 

G-d can truly make miracles. 

What G-d decrees no man can stand against it. 

We need to merit G-d's standing with us. 

You have to do right, speak right, and have the right intentions. 

Only G-d can judge whether we are there!

But how amazing things can be for us if we look to the Heavens and merit G-d being with us.

Then no man can stand against us! ;-)

(Source photo: Tali-Cohen Saban)
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January 23, 2018

Until My Last Breath

The Shema Yisrael.
Hear O' Israel. The L-rd our G-d. The L-rd is one.

The most sacred and fundamental of prayers in Judaism. 

Declaring our monotheistic belief and faith in the One Above who has created and sustains us daily. 

These are words we call out from the depths of our heart and soul--in joy, in suffering, in life, and ultimately as we leave this world.

No one can take this from us. 

Only G-d decrees who shall live and who shall die...who shall be exalted and who shall be made low. 
Hear O' Israel.
The L-rd our G-d.
The L-rd is one. 
Everything is life is given true perspective by this.

People may rise against us and situations may look dire.

But in the realm of G-d, these are all fleeting like the dust that blows in the wind. 

So too shall G-d remove our troubles and bring us comfort. 

It is a test; it is all a test--remember, Hear O' Israel--and pass it with flying colors. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 22, 2018

Worth The Squeeze

I like this saying that I heard.
"The juice has to be worth the squeeze."

It's a little like the corollary to "If something is worth doing, then it's worth doing right."

Spending time and effort has to show commensurate meaningful results or why the heck are you doing it?

Probably always good to reevaluate where you're getting the "most bang for the buck," so you're not "just spinning your wheels."

With all the sayings about what we do and whether it's really worth it, there is probably some good reason to be concerned about whether or not you spending your time productively or just acting insane, because: 
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Results matter--so make sure your achieving them or go do something else you enjoy and that's ultimately worth the squeeze! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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January 21, 2018

1-2-3-4 Open Up The Government's Doors

1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

     5-6-7-8 Let our nation operate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

     5-6-7-8 Fix our broken directorate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's Doors

    5-6-7-8 Better for us to negotiate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Get things done for Goodness sake


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 We have no more time to cogitate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Get the employees back to progress the state


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Blaming each other only exasperate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors


    5-6-7-8 Democracy means we must work it out


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Polarized politics destroys our clout


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors
   
    5-6-7-8 The people are sick and tired of this useless way


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Terms limits are needed to sway


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Dysfunctional government can't continue unabate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

   5-6-7-8 We're sick and tired of ignoring realpolitik


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

   5-6-7-8 Grow up and show some unifying leadership


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Finally put people's needs first


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Stop playing with our country's fate


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 National security and our economy depend on it


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 It's time to get things done and not wait


1-2-3-4 Open up the government's doors

    5-6-7-8 Serve the people and cut out the hate

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2018

Fulfilling Dying Children's Wishes



I am just so impressed with this charity...the Make A Wish Foundation

They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness--and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!

What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 

Whether it's letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)--who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation--to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 

Seeing the joy on the faces of these children--despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations--seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 

I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back--and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 

Again, there are truly good people out there--who don't just live for themselves--but who think about and give generously to others. 

Life is not just about "I" but about all the people we can reach and uplift.

Cena isn't just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 

And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 19, 2018

The View From Upfront and Behind

Thought this was a smart saying from a colleague:
"If you ain't the lead dog, the view doesn't change."

What the dogs upfront and those behind them see are quite a different view. 

It's important for the lead dogs to guide the other dogs in a good direction and stay clear from obstacles. 

We may not all see the same thing, but whatever our viewpoints are, we all have to work together and pull our hardest towards progress. 

It's a race to the finish--and finish strong and together we all must. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Natalia Kollegova)

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January 18, 2018

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.

Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.

And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.

So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 

After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 

And so I went back and did just that. 

I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.

They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 

I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 

In this case, listening better and empathizing more--it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it's right! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2018

Nothing Personal

There's this funny line that some managers use with their employees.

It's when they harshly criticize, pick on, or even bully their hard working and good people.  

What do they say when they do it:
"It's nothing personal."

Ha, that's sort of funny, but really it's sad. 

I asked an executive colleague about this and this is what they profoundly said:
"It's my favorite line when the boss says it's nothing personal. Of course it's personal. Is there anyone else in the room!"

When people misuse/abuse their power to hurt others whether at work or even in other situations like with small children or anyone else in a subordinate position:

- That's not business.

- That's not professional.

- That's not being a good human being.

People are not punching bags because someone else is having a bad day. 

We need to rise above the occasion and be better than that. 

It's better to be humane, compassionate, and emotionally intelligent. 

And not just because someday, we are all in that position where someone bigger is facing off against us.

But rather we need to behave kindly to others, because they too are G-d's children and our brothers and sisters, and it is the absolutely the right way to behave--whether it's business or personal. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 16, 2018

Miami Blue Porsche

Wow, I fell in love with this Porsche 718 Cayman. 

Blue like the sky and ocean in Miami.

I got my eye on this one!

Now if only my wife would see the wisdom in why I absolutely need this!

Anyway, I can enjoy the photo and dream for now. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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January 15, 2018

Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.

This is what they told me:

"When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness."

Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!

So while I really don't know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 

Yes, there is no light--there is only darkness. 

Yes, there is no Heaven.

But I don't believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 

Instead, what I believe is that you "Go back to GO and you do not collect $200."

In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 

Since you didn't complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission...you go back to the beginning. 

You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 

Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 

Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 

So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 

I don't know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I've already done. 

It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 

How is that for frustrating--working just to redo what you already did. 

Perhaps that is quite the measured "punishment" for those who end their life prematurely--before G-d says it's time. 

While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again--I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 

I assume it's nice to live again, but it's got to be a value-add life--not just a do-over!

So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life--it's probably not a purely rational moment in time--I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 

Because, suicide isn't game over, but rather the game begins all over--from the beginning again. ;-)

(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go--I am sure that is perfectly okay). 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 14, 2018

Beyond Money

Okay, I don't impress easily, but I got to tell you somebody really did.

Tring to keep their confidentiality, let me just say this...

A couple returned some money to us, but they went truly above and beyond. 

They returned some money that technically they were entitled to, and I never would've imagined that they should give it back to us. 

When I saw the check and what they did, I really couldn't stop myself saying how amazing this couple is. 

They are a religious Jewish couple, and I just feel that what they did was such a "Kiddush Hashem" (their behavior is a sanctification of G-d's name in the world). 

Some people pretend to be religious on the outside, but inside their behaviors don't reflect it. 

In this case, the people were generally religious not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Their doing righteous literally was uplifting for my soul to see that there really are such incredible people in this world. 

Yes, some people are bad--do bad--and we can get not only disappointed but depressed that they seem to thrive anyway. 

So to see the good in people--extra good--it renews my hope in mankind and in G-d Above who shows us the way and can inspire us to behave morally and ethically amazingly.  ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 13, 2018

Honey Chicken Delicious

Just wanted to share this amazing honey chicken. 

Yes, I know you can't eat it, but you can imagine what it tastes like.

Had this at L'Chaim Asian Cuisine and Steak House in Hollywood, Florida. 

Absolutely to die for!

That was a lot of honey over the dark crispy chicken. 

It's been a few months and I still haven't been able to get it out of my mind. 

That is quite a recommendation I would say. 

See you there! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2018

Washington Democracy

Nice photo of the Capitol, the Reflecting Pool, and the Botanical Gardens.

Even in cold January in Washington, DC, it is a mighty impressive sight. 

Some of the most important lessons for me:

Democracy never ceases as long as the people rule, freedom is protected, and human rights is respected.

Those in power have an even greater responsibility to ensure they do the right thing and maintain the utmost integrity.  

We have a lot to live up to!

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and MLK holiday.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2018

Bringing Down The House

I love this silver sculpture of Samson.

And one of my favorite stories and Biblical characters. 

Samson was dedicated to G-d from birth and was an enormous warrior. 

Even when he was betrayed, blinded, and bound, he maintained his ultimate faith in G-d.

He prayed that he be given the strength one more time to bring justice to G-d's enemies. 

And that's when he pushed against the pillars and brought the house down on them.

On one hand, a tragic figure that trusted and was fooled by the beautiful Delilah, but a completely heroic man of great integrity, who believed in G-d and in vanquishing his enemies.

Look to the Heavens for your strength and G-d can grant you the ultimate strength to achieve your mission in life and even in death. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 10, 2018

Part 3 - One More Of The Abusers Caught

Above is excerpt from email (forwarded to me) sent out by SAR Academy (now with high school, but previously elementary and middle school only when I was growing up). 

It is incredibly horrible what this pedophile Rosenfeld did to the innocent children there and elsewhere. 

Now one more of the abusers has been caught and the truth has come out--even if after almost 40 years!

Here is a quote from blog of Luke Ford (2009) that sheds light on this evil creep:
"Stanely Rosenfeld is a former cantor and spiritual leader at Temple Am David who received a 10-year suspended sentence after pleading no contest to molesting a 12-year-old boy he was tutoring. He grew up in New York City and worked in the New York public school system for about 20 years, and worked about 10 years at a private Jewish academy in New York. In a recent lawsuit it was alleged that other Jewish synagogues had problems with Rosenfeld, but he was allowed to move from one to another and offend again. In previous probation reports Rosenfeld acknowleged constantly having to ‘fight his desire for boys.’ He said he often looks at children when driving and had ‘considered what it would be like to pursue a child’ but that he has never acted on this desire." The report also says that, "When asked if he had molested both male and female children, [Rosenfeld] responded that his ‘preferred prey’ is adolescent boys." Rosenfeld has acknowledged other victims within Rhode Islands well as victims in different states, demonstrating his clear propensity to commit these crimes against minors. Rosenfeld also told stated in past probation reports that he had molested boys when he was in New York, but he was never charged. Hopefully, this is the end of the line for pedophile Rosenfeld who will now rot in jail."

How was this allowed to continue for so long and no one did anything?

Victims in those days were questioned like they were crazy or told they just imagined it or "had a bad dream"!

But to the contrary, it was very real nightmare.  

#MeToo.

Fortunately, I wasn't harmed as bad as others--as thank G-d, I woke up in time!

Yes there were others who definitely seemed to facilitate it--was it knowingly or unknowingly? Not really sure how they couldn't have known.

People are beasts, although some have and exercise a moral conscience--others apparently don't have the integrity or inner strength to do the right thing--or they just don't care or dare to. 

For the victims--it's painful to see it again so real like it was just yesterday, but it's good to know that on some level truth and justice do come out, even if too little to late. 

There is much more work to do in our society to acknowledge what has gone on and been given a blind eye or even a wink and a nod instead of a resounding outcry and complete moral outrage.

It is long past time to demand the end of this ongoing evil in our communities, workplaces, and to our dear children. ;-)

(Source Email: SAR Academy)

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January 9, 2018

Cat Nap

What a great place to take a cat nap!

So many gorgeous cats in Israel. 

They don't run away either. 

So friendly and happy. 

Sort of got a feeling like they were old souls inhabiting these cats. 

Old souls are very often wise souls.

Cute and wise cats.  

Enjoy!

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2018

Yearning For Redemption


Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 

There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 

It's on every street corner and light post.  

Whether it's eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe--as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:
"We want Mashiach now!"

Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption--it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 

While we strive to earn our daily bread, it's nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 

Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam ("fixing the world"), it's purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 7, 2018

Power of Speech

I loved this magnet on this wonderful old Jewish ladies refrigerator who lives in our community.
"If you have nothing good to say...
Say nothing."
I remember we used to talk about this saying in my house growing up too. 

It is a famous teaching from the holy Chofetz Chaim.

I remember as a bar-mitzvah boy, someone in our community in Riverdale, NY gave me a set of the Chofetz Chaim's books.

And I enjoyed reading from them daily about always being careful with how you use your words:

- Not to hurt anyone.

- Not to speak bad about anyone (i.e. Lashon Hara)

- But rather to use words pointedly and always for the good. 

Kind words.

Gentle words.

Complimentary words.

Words of love and caring. 

Holy words. 

The Chofetz Chaim seemed to have an endless number of wonderful stories to demonstrate the power of speech and the importance of using it for the good. 

The old saying of "The pen is mightier than the sword," can be used replacing the pen with the tongue and power of speech in general. 

Words can cut someone like a knife and even kill or words can create a tremendous healing when it's full of love and caring for others. 

Actions speak louder than words, but words can speak and perform volumes in the eternal fight of good over evil. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 6, 2018

The Traveling Chassidim


We went to Havdalah with the Traveling Chassidim at Aish HaTorah in Rockville. 

It was so wonderful and spiritually uplifting. 

At around mark 11:00, I get to wear the shtreimel hat and I get to drop the shtreimel hat (that was funny)!

These Chassidim from Monsey and Brooklyn were so wonderful. 

They leave their communities and homes to come out for Shabbat to other Jewish communities around the country and do beautiful outreach. 

So giving, loving, and caring with their whole families. 

The music, song, and joy they bring are beyond words. 

The Traveling Chassidim are wonderful and they make a terrific Havdalah at the end of the Shabbat. ;-)


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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Two Lightning Strikes

One week apart, two freak accidents, both families nearly wiped out. 

Both touched me. 

Exactly one week ago, I learned and wished condolences to the man in synagogue who lost his wife, youngest son, and mother-in-law in the Mexico tourist bus accident. 

Today--7 days later, a neighbor comes up to me and tells me she's going to the funeral for her daughter, son-in-law and three children killed in the Costa Rica plane crash this week, and I wished her that G-d have mercy. 

Like two lightning strikes--not a coincidence (I don't believe in that).

I believe more that it is a warning, and it is really frightening.

I pray that G-d should have mercy on all of us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Life truly hangs by a thin thread.

The time period between my meeting the man and women from these two families--7 days--represents both life and death--it is both the number of days of "Sheva Brachot" (days of celebration for a bride and groom) and the number of says of "Shiva: (mourning when someone dies)

We need to be committed to doing good in this world and in His name.

-- Repentance, charity, and prayer.

All of us must do our best to serve G-d and always do right with integrity.

G-d should defeat evil, and He should have mercy on his faithful children, so that He turns mourning into celebration and blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to kristendawn, and interesting that it is from Costa Rica)
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January 5, 2018

My Contribution To Love

So I saw a casual work friend the other day doting around what looked like his girlfriend. 

They looked really cute together.

And this guy is in his 60's and lost his wife a number of years ago to cancer, so I was really happy to see him happy, and playful in love again. 

After a while, I took the opportunity to play cupid best I could. 

I told her how nice this guy was and how well he takes care of his customers. 

I ended by saying how we really love having him around and how it wouldn't be the same without him. 

I could see him behind her smiling ear-to-ear--this lady really meant something to him.

When I saw him again today, I asked innocently, "so was that your girlfriend?" and like a young teenager in love, he smirked and nodded. 

It was obvious how much it meant to him that I spoke well of him to her. 

What can I say, I am really happy to make a little contribution to love--and I am really happy for them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2018

Life Cycles for Carnivores

I thought this was interesting-funny in terms of the the food life cycles for us carnivores:

For meat, it's:
"From farm to fork."

And for seafood, it's:
"From boat to throat."

Either way, we end up eating it. 

Just plain hungry or only the strong survive. 

Vegetarians and vegans can ignore this post. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 2, 2018

Something Better In Store For You

So I recently had what I thought was a big opportunity slip by me.

My first reaction was to be disappointed, upset, angry, and question why.

But then I remembered something I heard the other day:
"If something doesn't work out then it's because something even better is coming."

Wow, that's powerful!

Think about it...

What do we mortal human beings really know?

We think something is right for us--but only G-d really knows what the future will bring.

Perhaps with this or that thing that we think we so want, instead of joy and fulfillment, it's really just heartache or disaster in the waiting.

My father used to say and was so right about it:
"Better to cry now then to cry later." 

G-d loves us and has our best interests at heart--He saves us and has something better in store for us. 

My father also taught me:
"What can any man do to us when we have faith in G-d."

And he really lived that way!

He never worried about what any person or event could do to him--faith always protected him and even when he was sick and was dying, and I asked how he was, he told me:
"I have no pain." 

And I could see truly with his deep faith in the Almighty, he really did not feel any pain--it was amazing and miraculous!

Like my dear father, when I remember that G-d has the whole world in Hands, and He watches over us then my heart is uplifted and all I want to do is sing His praises, and that is what I will do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 1, 2018

G-d Protects Us - Happy 2018!

So I took this photo in a Jewelry store in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem. 

All these beautiful hamsas!

Hamsas are traditional symbols of G-d's protection and to ward off the evil. 

These were some very beautiful ones. 

Some say that it is symbolic of the hand of Miriam, Moses' sister, raised in a protective stance over the people. 

Five fingers are like the five books of the Torah and a reminder to use all five of our senses in worshipping and praising G-d. 

Talking to someone yesterday about surviving in the face of some very difficult challenges, she said to me:

"Remember, just because the adversary is powerful, you are the David to the Goliath!"


With G-d's help and blessings, even a little David can slay the giant evil Goliath. 

For the New Year of 2018 and forward, G-d should bless us and protect us, shine his face upon us and be gracious unto us, lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace!  

The L-rd is the ultimate strength and justice and in front of Him no evil will stand. 

Our faith may be tested, but from it, we will come out smarter, stronger, and better souls, as G-d teaches us to look always to the Heavens where all good emanates. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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