October 15, 2019

The Coming Great American Aliyah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Coming Great American Aliyah."
If you just open your eyes and have faith, you will know that you will be going to Israel–the question isn’t if, but when! What G-d has decreed, no man can annul. There are three types of ways things will unfold for American Jews: Some will go to Israel on their own,”nicely.” Others will be going only when they absolutely have to–“not so nicely.” The third group will not be going–unfortunately, as difficult as it is to say, they won’t make it. While this is all about the fulfillment of messianic times, and we don’t know when precisely it will all transpire, I pray that people (including myself) will choose to plan intelligently for the future to make aliyah in good times, and that their shouldn’t be pain and suffering for the Jewish people in getting there, but rather that it is an amazing experience filled with endless blessings.

May G-d bring us in peace, prosperity, and health to fulfill His promise of the ingathering and to rebuild the Temple and bring Mashiach to the world.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

October 13, 2019

Filled With Love

Really liked this painting in Florida.

Hearts and flowers. 

Makes me feel filled with love!

Love, beautiful love.  ;-)

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

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 11, 2019

Rainbow Card Display

Thought this was a cool, even if rudimentary, museum display. 

Instead of postcards in the display holder, they put colored glass. 

Then just let the sun shine in and look at the awesome wall display. 

Might be fun to swap around to get different patterns and blends. 

As a kid, I always used to turn the display to see what just around the bend, in this case you get the disco effect. 

Color and light play nice together.  ;-)

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

October 10, 2019

Adding A Very Special Facebook Friend

So this was really strange what happened to me before Yom Kippur. 

My parents passed away 5-6 years ago already.

I always miss them so much!

Somehow, on Facebook, my dad's Facebook profile came up, which I was surprised to find. 

Looking at it, I saw under his friends was of course, my mom. 

I didn't even know my mom had a Facebook page (I don't think she ever really used it). 

But I was so curious, I clicked on her profile.  

I saw the prominent blue and white button to "Add Friend."

And I saw my hand reaching to press for that button. 

I so wanted to reach out and be able to be with, see, communicate with her again. 

Then I stopped myself realizing that the friend request, unfortunately, couldn't go to Heaven. 

If only it could...I would be so happy to press that button and have my mom hear from me again. ;-)

(Photo of my dear parents from Florida)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 8, 2019

Interplanetary Travel - Coming Soon


Awesome presentation on Interplanetary Travel by Charlie Kuehmann, VP Materials Engineering at SpaceX and Tesla. 

Interplanetary travel and colonization is one of the most exciting possibilities for mankind.  

It's all just beginning (we've only been in orbit for about 50 years). 

One of the keys Charlie mentioned at SpaceX and Telsa is how quickly we learn. 

It's okay to fail, as long as we learn quickly and progress from it.  

The progress with reusable rockets at SpaceX is impressive. 

Can't wait for more to come soon.  ;-)

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

Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 

To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 

The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 

It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.

I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 

In the end, believing that we don't have all the answers, but that we are in G-d's good hands. ;-)

(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

October 6, 2019

Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier’s Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Teshuva Through An IDF Soldier's Eyes."
He said, just think about it: “You have the chance to say I’m sorry, I regret what I did, and I won’t do it again, and be forgiven — what a tremendous opportunity that is!” I had never really thought of repentance in this particular way…as an opportunity. Usually, it’s more of something that is uncomfortable, difficult, and that we really don’t want to have to do.

So with a few more days to go before Yom Kippur, let us thank G-d for the chance to make amends and do better in life, because this is an incredible opportunity and a true blessing, and one that we do not know will ever come again.


(Credit Photo: Gil Kremer, Israel Defense Forces)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 4, 2019

Celebrating With Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Celebrating With Security."

Take a look around you at the new security measures and people risking their lives for yours and your family. Take a moment to thank them. But also, recognize that the security isn't there just for show, it's there because the hatred and threats have tangibly increased along with the ever present means to carry them out. It is critical that we continue our vigilance and the strengthening of our security measures, because those that hate us for who we are and for our faith are not going away, and unfortunately, they may even continue to grow in numbers and resolve. However, none of us should live in fear and be forced to stay away from our religious institutions, our Torah study, and prayer, but rather to the contrary, we need to stand up strongly--in defiance and in faith!

While I don't know what specific security measures we will see next Rosh Hashanah, I can say with almost absolute certainty that it will be more and not less and that you should definitely be taking notice.

(Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay)

Share/Save/Bookmark

October 2, 2019

Who's Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 

Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 

Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.

Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:
Gedaliah didn't fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.

I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 

Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur--fasting and atonement. ;-)

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

October 1, 2019

The Founding Of Zionism

Key Person Year Published Work Main Idea
Avraham Mapu 1853 The Love of Zion Longing of Jewish people for their ancestral homeland
Moses Hess 1862 Rome and Jerusalem Europe's welcome to Jews is tenuous, and Jews should seek return to homeland
Leon Pinsker 1882 Auto-Emancipation Jews are not accepted in European host countries, and are urged to seek national rebirth
Nathan Birnbaum 1890 Self-Emancipation Coined the term Zionism referring to a movement to re-create a national Jewish home in Israel
Chaim Nachman Bialik 1892
El Hatzipor      (To The Bird)
Poem on longing for return to Zion
Chaim Nachman Bialik 1898 Mikra'ei Zion (Assemblies of Zion) Poem of hope and expectation of return to Zion
Theodor Herzl 1896 The Jewish State Jewish State will usher an end to rabid anti-Semitism everywhere
Theodor Herzl 1897 Launched Zionism as political movement and convened first Zionist Congress
Theodor Herzl 1902 Altneuland Envisions idyllic future Jewish state
Ze'ev Jabotinsky 1923 Samson Nazorei Ideal of active, courageous, Jewish warrior

I am reading the book Israel: "A Concise History of a Nation Reborn" by Daniel Gordis.

I've prepared this summary of the founding of Zionism, which I have briefly summarized above.

Hope this is helpful to those interested in the origins of the founding of the modern State of Israel. 

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

September 29, 2019

Positively Jewish New Years

Coming into the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) tonight. 

Lets everyone stay positive folks--we all have so much to be grateful for and please G-d to look forward to!

Positive is greater than negative (as the shirt says). LOL

Shana Tova!

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

September 28, 2019

The Good Things In Life Are Challenging

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Good Things In Life Are Challenging."


"Everything truly pleasurable in life starts with considerable pain." More colloquially in working out, we usually say: “No pain, no gain!” And there really is a lot of truth to this. If you think about it, this concept really applies to everything meaningful and ultimately valuable in life.

As we reflect this time of year, before Rosh Hashanah, it is good to ask ourselves, what are we chasing and working so hard for in our lives? Are we chasing vanity–more riches, power, and honor or are we striving to do good and make a difference? The latter is a life worth living and where our efforts and pain can bring true reward in this world and ultimately in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

September 27, 2019

That Decisive Qualitative Edge

So I am reading this book called "Israel's Edge."

It's basically about their elite genius program, "Talpiot," in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  

Each year the program accepts only the top 50 out of 100,000 graduating high school students for a 9-year commitment. 

There are the mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists that help give the IDF the cutting edge in military R&D and other innovations. 

These are the brain trust behind Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system and Trophy tank active protection system and many more both military and industrial advances. 

This program was born after the almost disastrous 1973 Yom Kippur War where Israel misjudged the intelligence and the advances in their enemies capability and almost lost the war. 

I like the philosophy of General Yitzhak Ben-Israel who understands the importance of challenging the status quo and looking differently at critical situations and avoiding confirmation bias:
My method is not to look for supporting evidence. I look for refuting evidence...you see one white swan, then a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. You still can't conclude that all swans are white...nature builds us to be inductive, to make generalizations from past experience...this standard way of scientific thinking can be limiting and destructive."
Instead we must be continuously curious, think outside the box, be creative, and innovate. 

Especially, where we don't have a quantitative advantage like with Israel surrounded by many enemies, then we must rely on a very sharp qualitative edge. ;-)

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

September 26, 2019

Beautiful Measurements

This is a beautiful set of nested brass weights from France. 

It dates back to 1852!

The weights range from 1 gram to 500 grams. 

These are weights, but also a form of art. 

It is located at the NIST Museum.


There is something comforting about weights, measures, and standards.

It puts an organized construct unto our universe and creates some objective scientific reality to our world. 

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

September 25, 2019

The Magical Letters Of Tishrei

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Magical Letters of Tishrei."
It is ingenious how the letters of the Aleph and Bet and Tishrei (the dates when Rosh Hashanah occurs) is exactly equivalent to the letters in the Hebrew word for Genesis (Bereshit), which is the event of creation that we celebrate on the Jewish New Year. 

Truly, this magical genius evident in the Torah can only be from one source and that is the one Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Himself!

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a truly magical Rosh Hashanah and one that is filled G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful New Year!

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

September 24, 2019

Magnificent Room Divider

Wow, this is a completely amazing room divider. 

The brilliant colors and the vibrant circular swirls make this outstanding to take in. 

So simple in a way, yet it brings so much magnificence to any space. 

Staring into this has an almost heavenly effect of traveling through that final tunnel before reaching the heavenly essence of light at the end of it all. ;-)

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

September 23, 2019

Time To Mellow

Decided I needed a break from all the toxicity related to the 3rd major SAR Child Sex Abuse Scandal at this yeshiva,

This beautiful Japanese garden is way better to look at then the lies, denials, and cover-up that SAR and their public relations cronies are posting. 

Anyway, tired of their bullsh*t and you should be too. 

Enjoy the beautiful Japanese Garden. 

Compliments of one of the prior child victims of SAR Academy.

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

September 22, 2019

Rambo Is Back



I got my tickets for this today. 

Can't wait to see it!

Rambo says:
"You started this; I'll end it!"

Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.  ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 21, 2019

OFNR Communications Model


This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):

1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 
When I Observe...

2. Feelings:  Explain how the person's behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)
I feel...

3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)
Because I need...

4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you'd like them to do.
Would you be willing to... 
It's a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you'd like from others. 

This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 

When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 20, 2019

SAR -- Safe Haven For Sexual Abusers, Not For Kids


SAR ACADEMY: SAFE HAVEN FOR SEXUAL ABUSERS

SAR has had at least 5 alleged and/or convicted sexual abusers on their rolls or associated with them that we know about:

1. Stanley Rosenfeld (1970s-1980s)
2. Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz (1970s-2018)
3. Jane Doe, female staff member in High School (-2012)
4. Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick (2018-2019)
5. Plus the "Sauna Rabbi" from the Riverdale Jewish Center (~1986-2016)

In my opinion, SAR has become a safe haven for child sexual abusers as they have kept hiring the perverts. SAR is what they call an open school, and in their attempt to literally tear down the physical walls inside the school, they very likely have opened up the school to the child sexual abusers who use their openness physically, socially, and technically to enable and facilitate sexual abuse. Perhaps after all this, word is out on the street that SAR is the place for sexual abusers who go for easy access to students in an open school system with a history of lax enforcement. SAR has got to do a better job in its vetting process and in ongoing monitoring for inappropriate contact. 


SAR'S NARCISSISTIC "RESPONSE" HANDLING AND AVOIDANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY

SAR's reaction has been heavily focused on the public relations to buttress themselves and in essence their very strategic messaging has been over and over that "they've done everything right," including from a Rabbi working for them for ~20-years that said self-servingly just that the other day for the Jewish Link NJ. However, from my perspective, the truth of the matter is that they have done virtually everything wrong.

From what I've seen and read, it's more like 90% of SAR's response has been about their "response." rather than on expressing any contrition or regret for what has happened under their watch, rather than on introspection for where they keep going wrong, rather than on working to fundamentally understand how they keep on hiring pervs and getting fooled for so long, and rather than genuinely strategizing on what they can do better to protect the children before it happens again. Is their policy and training working if the latest Skolnick incident happened just a few years after the prior incident in the high school and while they were still investigating the Rosenfeld/Schwartz one in the middle school? SAR's response that they have done everything right in responding and of course, patting themselves on the back is like a mortician praising themselves for a great job cleaning up the dead bodies that they themselves facilitated.

Further, why is everyone talking about SAR's response rather than prevention? And why is no one talking about the victims? For example, why is no one talking about the poor 14-old boy from SAR that was allegedly exploited by Skolnick or the other 20-25 victims? SAR is conveniently bringing in their own self-serving investigators and "experts" (supposedly one of these is alleged to have asked for leniency for the child abuser in a prior child sexual abuse case). It certainly seems like they are doing everything but holding themselves accountable for their mistakes of judgement and process.  Further, 1) why are they not cleaning house of any additional abusers that are still hiding in their ranks, and 2) starting with their leadership holding Rabbi Krauss accountable for the errors that were made with Skolnick's hiring. 

Moreover, rather than SAR taking responsibility, I've heard plenty of blaming the child victims from gaslighting pundits who in my opinion should absolutely have their licenses revoked. These reprehensible, morally vacant "child victim advocates" aren't holding the abusers accountable, but rather blaming the child victims with insane causative conclusions that it is because the children weren't empowered, assertiveness or strong enough that's why they were sexually abused. Truly, this is the age-old fraud of telling the rape victim that it's her felt that she was brutally gang raped because she didn't yell loud enough or fight back. Make no mistake, a little child is not ever going to be assertiveness or strong enough to fight off a perverted grown adult who has been patiently planning and grooming their victims. In fact, that's why they call them children! It's highly unfortunate that these people don't see what it's like until perhaps G-d forbid they are the victims themselves. I hope G-d open's people eyes so that positive change can finally be made and children don't have to suffer anymore from this.


WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD

From their response, it is clear to many that for SAR this is about their image and reputation and not truly about Jewish education and a safe learning environment. Unfortunately, as long as SAR is more focused on protecting the institution of SAR and their jobs, rather than on protecting the kids in creating a safe learning and true Torah environment then nothing will really change for the better or safety of these children. 


Share/Save/Bookmark

September 19, 2019

Prepare to Survive!

Picture from active shooter training today. 

Saw a great (and scary) video on RUN, HIDE, FIGHT (from http://www.readyhoustontx.gov) -- link to video is here.

Other take-a-ways:
  • Always have a plan A, B, and C. 
  • If you can't run or hide, fight with everything at your disposal--engage and neutralize the shooter!
  • Survive, you're not done until your done!

Please G-d, we should never have to deal with the horror of this, but it's good to learn to be always ready. ;-)

(Credit Photo: U.S. Marshal Service)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 18, 2019

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we've got to cope with a different reality.

Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 

We can't do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 

There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 

When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:
Yes, we're getting older--what's the alternative?

Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 

We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.

And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it's like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:
You're not supposed to leave this world alive!

Putting these together: 

I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process--because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 17, 2019

SAR -- A THIRD Round of Child Sexual Abuse Scandals

What a NON-surprise from SAR in Riverdale.

The Judaic Studies principal (grades 6-8), Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick has been arrested for "production of child pornography."

This after numerous child sexual abuse scandals in the Jewish community in Riverdale, and at SAR in particular!
  • Now for a third time in 2019, SAR's 2018-2019 newly appointed Middle School Principal of Judaic Studies is arrested for production of child pornography and SAR's principal is stunned at how this could be happening: "It is shocking to know that someone who we have trusted with our children has been accused of harming them. Despite the practices in place to protect our children, we are not immune to breaches such as the one that seems to have taken place at SAR."

Clearly there is a PATTERN OF BAD BEHAVIOR AND NEGLIGENCE here (i.e. like a repeat offender) and at a certain point, the patience and excuses completely runs out!

This latest sexual abuse debacle with Rabbi Skolnick (where was the vetting process on hiring him?) occurring AT THE VERY SAME TIME that SAR was conducting and publishing the results of it's earlier sex scandal with convicted sexual offender Stanley Rosenfeld and SAR's statement in their October 5, 2018 message releasing their report that:

Continuing our conversations with our students and faculty on preventing and addressing sexual abuse. In 2014, SAR implemented an Anti-Harassment Policy:www.saracademy.org/antiharassmentpolicy. Training is done annually for all staff as well as appropriate training for high school and middle school students as part of their advisory program. Emphasis of the training is on awareness and reporting of any potential abuse as well as setting appropriate parameters for student-staff interactions. We are fully committed to the safety of our students and to continuing to implement best practices in these areas.  

As anyone can see that the words by SAR are nothing but cheap and empty as demonstrated by the facts of their now THREE TIMES REPEATED sexual scandals as reported!

How SAR could be "shocked" after three times the same types of sexual abuse occurring under their watch should be a complete mystery to any reasonable, thinking human being with a soul.  

Where is the outrage by the Riverdale community and by the current board of directors of SAR?  And where is the REAL action by them to correct their now half century HISTORY of abuse against the children in their completely negligent care?

Of course, let us also not forget the other sexual scandal allegations in the same community at the Riverdale Jewish Center and the chorus of denials and lack of accountability that went on with their prior "Sauna Rabbi" of thirty years who finally stepped down in 2016. 

Would the Riverdale community and SAR in particular like to offer up any new denials today and provide any more cheap words about their Anti-Harassment policy and phony "commitment to the safety of our students"? 

Less than two-weeks before the Jewish New Year 5780, will SAR finally take RESPONSIBILITY for the abuse to their past students and REALLY do what it takes to protect its current and future children.
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 16, 2019

Sometimes You Just Want To Say...

It funny, sometimes you just want to say...

Exactly what this ladies shirt says. 

My father used to say when certain people were nasty to him, he would just be nice to them.

And when they would still be really nasty to him then imperceptibly, quietly under his breath, he would say "F*** You."

Ah, maybe not always so imperceptibly. LOL

Sure, we can't always just come out and say it like this lady does boldly on her shirt.

Maybe it doesn't help to use expletives, but sometimes some people can be such jerks that just saying it quietly is cathartic and truth-telling. 

Perhaps more important, saying it let's you know that you still have  a moral compass and personal integrity, even if others around you have seriously compromised on theirs. :-)

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

September 15, 2019

Ghosting - How Rude!

So when I listen to the Kane Show in the morning on 99.5 FM, they frequently do this thing where they call someone to find out why they've ghosted their lover or friend. 

Invariably, it often turns out that there is someone else in that person's life. 

The person is usually either too scared to confront the other person or is just a cheater and doesn't want to tell the other person, instead wanting to "have their Kate and Edith too."  LOL

So "ghosting" is where the person just disappears, cuts off contact, or goes incommunicado. 

It's sort of an avoidance strategy. 

This leaves the other person not knowing what happened or why. 

It's like the line just goes dead between the two people.  

Sometimes, one person is clingy or forces themselves on another in which case, the other person may feel smothered, and therefore repels or wants to run in the other direction. 

Other times, how do you tell someone that you just don't like them anymore? 

Worse is if the person is cheating behind the other person's back, hiding it, and denying it--that's unforgivable!

When a person ghosts another, it's sort of like at work when someone get's marginalized. 

No one wants to give honest feedback to the other person, so instead for some people it's just easier to avoid them and the topic  altogether. 

I think the point is not to hurt other people. 

The question is how do you cut the strings with someone you don't like without getting into a huge, ugly confrontation?

Honesty is the best policy, and treating people the way you would want to be treated. 

But for some people who don't take no for an answer, it's understandable that you may just want to have the phone on busy signal or you attempt to break contact.

Relationships are tough, and when they go bad, ghosting without at least trying to end it nicely can not only be rude, but also it's chicken to break it off as a ghost, and not a person. ;-)

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

September 14, 2019

Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah."
In a sense, we all live at least two lives–represented by the two faces we wear: The first is the happy face, where we portray ourselves as if everything is going so well, almost near-perfect in our lives (our vacations, accomplishments, celebrations, and so on), and this is the face that we routinely show to the world. Then, there is the second face, which is essentially where everything is not (always) quite so rosy, where life’s challenges, troubles, and hardships take their tangible toll, and this is the face that we learn to keep private and regularly hide from the world. Usually, it comes down to a rationale that goes something like this: just imagine what would people think of us if they really knew us for who we are and what we were actually going through? Yet the funny thing is that everyone is going through something–that’s life!
In a couple of weeks, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we come knowing that there is no mask to be worn in front of our Maker, and truly, we are naked before Him in all our thoughts and deeds. We can’t pretend anymore that our lives or ourselves are perfect, but rather this is the time for true and earnest reflection, repentance, as well as judgment for the New Year based on what each of us is really all about. May each of us have the courage and conviction to face our real selves, to learn, grow, improve, and ultimately to self-actualize, and may we receive G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year!

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

September 12, 2019

What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What's Your Fantasy Synagogue."
We all go to synagogues that we like in some ways and don’t like in others, but have you ever thought about what your fantasy synagogue would be like if you could make one?Last Shabbat, we were invited for lunch by some wonderful friends who had been sports writers, and the topic of fantasy football came up, where people compete for coming up with the best team by picking their own players and forming their ideal team. I said, half jokingly, wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing with synagogues and pick the best aspects of each and make an ideal house of worship for ourselves where we could pray, learn, grow, and experience holiness and community. 
In the article, I detail "the best of the best" when it comes to synagogues and the ultimate ideal synagogue is of course, in the coming of the Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple. 

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

September 11, 2019

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.

I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.

Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 

At the same time, I always learned growing up that:
Blood is thicker than water.
Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 

Yet you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. 

There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 

Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even "black sheep" of the family. 

I guess in the end what's most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  

Whatever the designation--family or friends--we need each other.  ;-)

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

September 10, 2019

Cash Is King

This was a funny shirt this lady was wearing on the Metro. 

It mimics the Sweet 'N Low artificial sweetener logo and says:
Fund R' Low
Need a Sugar Daddy

This was one of those shirts that gets your attention. 

It's different.  It plays off a familiar brand.  It bright pink, red, and blue and stands out.  And it could certainly have a sexual connotation.  

Anyway, this was a pretty bold shirt to wear into conservative Washington, D.C. 

But I guess wherever you go, fashion, sexuality, and cash is king. ;-)

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

September 9, 2019

Pastrami Sandwich @Char Bar

Yesterday, at the museum (The Phillips Collection), we went to Char Bar Kosher Restaurant in downtown DC. 

I ordered the 5th Avenue Sandwich:

Pastrami with mushrooms and onions and deli mustard on a french roll. 

Comes with the salty fries and ketchup. 

Pretty good.  

I would grill the pastrami and caramelize the mushrooms and onions to improve on it. 

Also add a little mayo. 

But overall, it was a nice experience there.  

Wait time on Sunday was really nothing...in fact, I couldn't believe how quick the food was o the table. 

Wouldn't mind, at all, if they opened one of these in our neighborhood.  

I think I'd be a frequent customer there at the right sandwich price. ;-)

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

September 8, 2019

@The Phillips Collections














(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

September 6, 2019

What If Israel Lost?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What If Israel Lost?"
What if, G-d forbid, Israel was attacked by its Arab neighbors and lost? It’s an almost unthinkable thought, yet it is actually a complete miracle that Israel, surrounded and vastly outnumbered by its enemies, actually wins and survives in a very tough neighborhood.

Despite these miracles that we have been blessed to witness, we can’t let down our guard militarily or spiritually. We must do good deeds, act with kindness and charity to our fellow man, and worship Hashem to continue to merit the success over our enemies and our settlement of the land of Israel.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark