September 18, 2018

Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation...

Woman:  "Never say never and never say always."

Man: "Well then what should I say?"

Woman: "Just keep your mouth shut!"

Yeah, that's one for the books.

Anyway, thinking about this a little more--there is an exception to every rule. 

Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 

Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! :-)

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

September 17, 2018

Great Comic Characters

Just loved these adorable comic book characters.

They are originals put together by the comic creator. 

The characters are made from colored Perler Beads.

Once the beads are laid out into these awesome characters, they are iron-melted together.

Each of these was advertised for $20 (not the $15 listed at the top of the picture), but we got a deal. 

Together as a set, they are very cool, colorful, and fun to liven up any environment. 

I have them on a display at home and it's nice to not be so serious all the time, and instead let loose with some creative juice.  ;-)

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

September 16, 2018

Terrorist Murders Ari Fuld in Israel

I am completely shocked and saddened by the murder of an American citizen, Ari Fuld, by a radical Islamist terrorist in the Holy Land of Israel. 

Ari is the father of four and the brother of my friend and classmate Moshe Fuld.

He is also the son of Rabbi Yonah Fuld, the former Vice Principal of Hebrew Studies at SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York. 

Ari had served in the IDF and was an outspoken defender of Israel's right to exist and for a Jewish homeland in the Promised Land of Israel. 

Even after he was stabbed from behind by the cowardly terrorist, Ari managed to chase and shoot the terrorist. 

Ari is a true hero!

He died of his wounds just a few days before Yom Kippur, and he will be remembered for his deep love of the land of Israel and the Jewish people. 

I am honored to know the Fuld family and call them my friends. 

I wish them my deepest condolences on this tragic loss. 

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet!

May Hashem protect Israel, it's defenders, and the Jewish people and let us live finally in peace and security. 
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 15, 2018

Reflections B4 Yom Kippur


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

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

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

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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

September 14, 2018

Actual From Abstract

A colleague's daughter drew this. 

At first glance, I wasn't sure what I was looking at. 

Do you see what it is?

At first, I was thinking something a little alien perhaps. 

But there it is right in front of you.

It's the head, ears, nose, and tusks of an elephant. 

I really like the abstractness of this art. 

All from simple circles, and voila you have an elephant. 

Look carefully at what you think you see, and let your mind put the whole picture together. 

That's how you come to the actual from the abstract! ;-)

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

September 13, 2018

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:
We succeed or fail as a team.

It's not me. 

It's not you. 

It's not him.

It's not her. 
It's us!

No one can do it alone. 

- If we fail, we fail as a team. 

- If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 

So let's come together and be a team and give it our best shot! ;-)

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

September 12, 2018

What's The Big Fascination?




From Victoria's Secret to colorful art renditions, medieval metal, and cross-dressing on the neighborhood corner...

This does not seem to be about being angels, unchaste, or even "sexy-wexy "(as I think my mother-in-law calls it). 

So I really have to ask what is all the fascination about here?

Culturally, we seem to be a little OCD. 

If Martians visited us, I don't think they would understand us at all.

Frankly, I'm not sure that I do either!  ;-)

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

September 11, 2018

17 Years Since 9/11

Today is the 17th anniversary since that fateful day of 9/11 when the terrorists brought down both World Trade Centers and ploughed another plane into the Pentagon.

One of the greatest acts of terrorism in history. 

With almost 3,000 dead and the center of our financial and military strength hit in a flash attack, we as a nation stood naked. 

We've gone after the terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and more, but still, there is the endless drone of world-wide terrorism. 

Yes, we are lucky that nothing major has happened in the U.S. since 2001.

At the same time, we know that anything could happen at any time--from another terror attack to a catastrophic cyber attack that takes out our critical infrastructure, bioterrorism that wipes out hundreds of millions with genetically engineered viruses, or even nuclear warheads wiping out entire cities or regions of the world. 

Forget natural disasters for the moment, man-made disasters are always just around the corner when it comes to planning and execution.

The FBI and our other dedicated law enforcement personnel try to stop them all, but no one and nothing human is perfect. 

So while we try to maintain an elevated security posture to protect this country and even maybe someday build a wall that doesn't leave us with porous borders for everyone and anyone to get in willy-nilly, many don't or barely remember 9/11 and what it meant. 

We said it changed everything forever, but did we mean it?

17 years and we've been fortunate--very fortunate--but are we ready for the next fateful blow to land in the ongoing war on terror. ;-)

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

September 9, 2018

Lessons In Teshuvah - Near-Death Experience


Great Video on the incredible Near Death Experience (NDE) of Rabbi Alon Anava. 

What he experiences, sees, and is told can change lives forever. 

What a perfect learning right before Rosh Hashanah. 

Teshuvah, Tefillah, U'Tzedekah.

Shannah Tova! ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 8, 2018

Prayer For Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new Times of Israel post with a heartfelt:

Prayer for Rosh Hashanah.

May it be truly a year of blessings. 

Wishing everyone a sweet and happy New Year!

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

September 7, 2018

Nimbyism By All

So I learned a new word this week:

Nimby, which stands for:

Not 
I
M
Back
Yard

It refers to people who object to and don't want something unpleasant or dangerous in their neighborhood. 

Prisons
Homeless Shelters
Garbage Dumps
Radioactive Waste Sites
Oil and Gas Pipelines
Noisy Railroads
Polluting Factories
Adult Entertainment
etc. 

Yes, society as a whole apparently wants or needs these things, but the individuals just want to see it someplace (anyplace) else. 

People want the benefits, but don't want the costs and risks associated with these things near them. 

The problem is when everyone feels this way then you are left either choosing somewhere despite the nimbyism protests or you have to locate them in remote places that are not always functional, fair or efficient for society. 

Perhaps this is where incentives or compensation comes in for people to get in order to "put up" with the placement of things in their backyard that they rather not have there. 

Is that what it means that nimbyism aside, "everyone has their price"?

(Source Photo: here with attribution to creative2/usa)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 6, 2018

All Aboard!

So when the train is pulling out it's a loud call by the conductor of:
"All Aboard that's going abroard."

With project management, it can be the same too. 

Once an organization has decided to move out on a project and make the investment of time, resources, and reputation:

- Either you get on the train and help feed the engine of progress

OR

- You get left behind.

- You get thrown off the train.

- You get run over by the train.

There really are no other alternatives. 

My advice is get with the program. 

The train is moving out.

The organization is going to deliver on its promise. 

Get the h*ll on!  ;-)

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

September 5, 2018

Cracking Heads--In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.

The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.

Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I've heard this term in the past used in the office setting:
"Cracking heads" to get things done. 

While war is war, I don't think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone's head--let along with a battle hammer. 

Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.

You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. ;-)

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

September 4, 2018

Does Color Make The Man?

Thought these were some mighty bold and colorful Men's shoes. 

I personally like color and making a little bit of a a statement.

In a sense, color makes the man happy, exciting, alive, and uplifting. 

With these shoes, I suppose if your going dancing or a splendid night out on the town these may work.

So there is a time and place for everything. 

Day-to-day, these shoes are a little out there, and more than a little scary, and too much for my sense of tasteful design.  ;-)

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

September 3, 2018

Labor Day @ Maryland Renaissance Festival













(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 2, 2018

One G-d, Many Stories

So we went to the mall and there was a new Indian gift store.

We went in to take a look, and they had all sorts of things, but one section had a lot of colorful statues. 

We didn't even really know what we were looking at when one of the young lady salespeople came over to explain. 

And she's pointing to different statues and saying that this is the "G-d of love," this is the "G-d of prosperity," this is the "G-d for removing obstacles," etc. 

I said to her questioningly (non-judgmental), "So we are Jews, and we believe in monotheism. How do you understand this concept of different 'G-ds'?"

She said, "Well, I learned about these growing up in India, but the way I've come to terms with this is that these "G-ds" are really different 'faces' of one G-d" and then she started to tell us the "stories" of them. 

So in her explanation, when they are confronting challenges in life, they pray to the "face of G-d" that focuses on removing those obstacles, and when they are seeking prosperity then they pray to that "face of G-d" so on and so forth. 

It was interesting to me how this young lady came to find a monotheistic interpretation and path for herself and perhaps others who have similar beliefs.  

I wondered to myself whether this understanding can be in a way be similar to the Jewish concept of G-d having different attributes like midat Rachamin, din, etc. 

Of course, I know that G-d loves all of us, and I respect everyone's personal beliefs.

For me and my traditional Jewish belief system, I wholeheartedly affirm as my namesake Abraham:
Sh'ma Yis'rael, Hashem Elo'kenu, Hashem Echad.
Hear O' Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one.  
 ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Moshe Shalom)
Share/Save/Bookmark

September 1, 2018

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

So one of my colleagues told me an interesting saying:
If you give a moose a muffin, they will never go away. 

What a funny image and thing to say. 

But I get the idea that if you keep giving freebies and treats to people, they will just keep coming back for more. 

Everyone needs to be taught self-sufficiency to the extent possible. 

These days where everyone is some sort of specialists and "subject matter expert," there are very few people who are really self-sufficient and can survive on their own. 

Instead, we have a society of people that are mutually dependent (codependent)--and most would starve or freeze to death if they didn't have someone else supplying the "muffins."

This all reminds me of a funny story when I was a kid, where a crazy lady friend of my parents came over to their house when my parents were sitting shiva (in mourning after the loss of one of my grandparents).  

This crazy lady actually laid down on their living room couch so the other people coming to pay their respects couldn't, and then she wouldn't leave--hint after hint, she just laid there sprawled on their couch. 

Finally, my dad got up from his mourning, fed her some food, and actually gave her some money--literally to leave--which she finally did and not to be mean, but really as a relief to everyone. 

In this case, my dad gave the moose a muffin to go away and it worked, thank G-d. 

But as is with moose's, I am pretty sure she came back another day for more muffins. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to OpenClipart-Vectors)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 31, 2018

Bugsy says Shabbat Shalom!

Bugsy the bug says Shabbat Shalom.

A weekend of rest and peace to everyone. 

And Happy Labor Day weekend!

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

August 30, 2018

Don't Take Away The Breadcrumbs

So today it was announced that they want to cancel the meager cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase that federal workers were slated to get for 2019. 

A mere 2.1% increase in federal pay (compared with a more than 4% projected increase in private sector pay for 2018) is basically just enough to cover inflation for 2018 forecast at 1.9%.

In effect, without the cost of living adjustment, about 2 million federal employees end up with a net decrease of 2% in their standard of living because of inflation and no pay increase to offset. 

This is on top of the fiscal year 2011 and 2012 federal pay freeze that President Obama prior enacted. 

Why are we picking on the federal workforce when:

1) The U.S. economy is booming at an annual 4.1% increase
2) Of the $10 trillion tax cuts, 20% is being showered on the wealthiest 1%.

Le's just call a spade a spade--the pay freeze (i.e. cut after inflation) is really being driven to downsize government by driving employees out

Many of these are good people, hardworking people, and those that not only serve their nation but also sacrifice for it. 

With midterms around the corner and another Presidental election coming in a couple of years, why would you want to alienate 2 million workers instead of getting respect and even greater dedication?

As was written on this simple pair of blue jeans:
"Don't beat your croutons, you'll get breadcrumbs."  
In this case, don't beat up your federal workforce by taking their meager breadcrumbs, to begin with. 

Instead, let's show our appreciation for federal employees service to their country. ;-)

(Full disclosure: I am a federal employee and am proud to serve.)

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

August 29, 2018

Just One Mistake

So all it takes is one mistake. 

And your whole life can be completely altered. 

The consequences for a slip up in a split second in time. 

I'm talking to someone today and he tells me his story and it goes like this:

He came here from overseas in early 2000 after winning the lottery for a green card.  

split second and his life is changed miraculously for the better. 

He moves here and finds work as an electrician. 

He saves money, gets married, and is living a decent life. 

All is well and then...

One day, another split second and he is on the scaffolding doing his work as an electrician and suddenly it collapses, and he falls severely breaking his leg and knee.  

He is taken to the hospital where the doctor tells him his injuries are too severe and he is transported to another major metropolitan hospital. 

After three surgeries, his leg is put back together with metal plates, rods, and bolts. 

He is unable to work, loses his job, and eats through his savings living off it while his leg slowly heals. 

Next, the hospital comes after him for $60,000 in medical bills. 

He says he has no choice but to leave the country to escape the debt, which he cannot pay. 

After 7 years and with the debt forgotten, he is able to return to this country.

His wife who he married here claims he abandoned her and divorces him.

He has lost everything he had in this country.

He shows me that his leg has huge scars up and down the sides and he bangs on his leg multiple times to show me the metal plates holding it together. 

He also demonstrates to me also that even after all these years, he still can't run and as he tries in slow motion, his knee collapses and he visibly starts to lose his balance. 

I asked if he still has pain these 10 years later, and he says, "Yes!" 

Then he comes closer, turns to me, and with a very serious look, he shakes his head.

He says, "It only takes one mistake...just one mistake."  ;-)

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

August 28, 2018

Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 

It's an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 

And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 

The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.

Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 

We are alive, but life can be hard. 

We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.

The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.

Breath, beat, live...good health is unbelievably precious.

Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 

Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. ;-)

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

August 27, 2018

How Do You Lock A Tree


So this is one of the craziest things in Washington, D.C. 

There is a tree with a lock on it. 

Yes, with a Master Lock on it. 

Hidden in plain sight. 

It has letters and numbers or symbols on each button. 

Have you ever seen anything like that before?

Uh, what do you think that is:

- A lock to prevent the tree from being stolen?

- A Maxwell Smart (shoe) phone?

- A surveillance device in the tree bark or along the limbs?

- A secret compartment?

Hmm, is there something locked in the tree?

What could it be?  ;-)

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

August 26, 2018

What's It's Like To Be A Bag

It's funny, like most of us, my daughter stuffs the shopping bags in the draw or into another "bag of bags" to reuse. 

My son-in-law joked about feeling bad for the bags all crinkled up and thrown in with all the others like that. 

He drew this little sign on a paper towel, and put it on the fridge:

Bag's life

This is what a crying creased up bag looks like. 

Maybe even inanimate objects have feelings too. 

As human beings, we can learn to treat everything in the world kindly and with appreciation. 

Bye bye baggy. ;-)

(Source Drawing: Itzchak Ochayon)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 25, 2018

Israel vs. The Enemies of G-d



This is such a fantastic video. 

The amazing story of David vs. Goliath.

Where faith in G-d overcomes the enemies of G-d.

Today, Israel is once again fulfilling the prophecy.

We are living in miraculous times.

Where the final redemption is upon us.

All will recognize G-d Almighty. 

Good will prevail over evil. 

And peace will reign on Earth. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

An 80-Year-Old's Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 

And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. :)

1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:
A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.  With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, "You see it just clicks!"

2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:
When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!

3) BURIED TOGETHER:
"When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven."

4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE
He pointed to his belly and said, "I'm 80 here." And then pointed to his groin area, and said, "But I'm 20 here!"

5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:
While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and "will never be with a woman over 40...not a day over!"  He said, "It's like an old Cadillac!" Moreover, he said, if a woman is "not perfect" and has a scar like from having her appendix out, "forget it!"

6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:
He said, "I like to write, play guitar and dance." And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time. 

7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:
People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 

8) INFINITELY STUPID:
He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:  "You know what that means?  This means that there is no limit to how stupid some people can be!"  

8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:
I asked what he did for a living, and he said "Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons."  I said, "Wow, you're very fortunate!"  He said, "No, in life, you make your own luck!"

10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:
"You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don't care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!" I said, "Ok, see you next week and we'll talk again."  He said, "Maybe I will or maybe I won't talk to you ever again."

Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that's like. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 24, 2018

"Shock And Awe" Project Management

So this is a new type of project management and it can be very effective. 

It's called (my name): 
Shock and Awe Project Management

This technique is similar to the military doctrine of shock and awe that uses speed and overwhelming power to dominate the battlefield and vanquish the enemy.

In project management too, there are often naysayers, Debbie Downers, resisters, excuse makers, and people that lay down obstacle after obstacle to progress. 

This invariably derails projects and causes them to fall behind schedule, go over budget, experience scope creep, not meet the genuine user requirements, and ultimately fail!

However, if you manage the project with "shock and awe" and set aggressive timelines, assign substantial and very good resources, and move the project full speed ahead, then you can similarly create a momentum to the project that enables it to overcome the "enemies of the progress" (i.e. those that don't really want it to succeed or are too busying covering their own a*ses).

This approach is not advocating speed at the expense of quality nor is it calling for cutting corners or riding roughshod over people, but rather to the contrary, it calls for techniques similar to the military of moving with absolute focus, determination, efficiency, collaboration, synchronization, and overwhelming "project power" to ensure it's success. 


Projects, like battles, can be "won" by putting the right resources on the field and moving them to get quick wins in rapid succession (where the enemies of progress don't stand a real fight) so that the projects get not only completed on time and within budget, but most importantly to real stakeholder satisfaction and the organization's success. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to AlexVan)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 23, 2018

A Cherry Tomato B4 Your Pie

So this was funny at our work social hour today. 

The person organizing it brought in snack foods--pretzels, cookies, chocolates, and apple pie. 

Of course, there were also some token vegetables and dip. 

So as you'd expect with all the junk food on the table, no one was eating the vegetables.

So one colleague goes:
Eat a cherry tomato and then you can have some pie.

The response from you know who was:
Ah, if you want us to eat a tomato then you better just put it inside the pie!

By the end, there was no more pie, but there sure were a lot of leftover cherry tomatoes. ;-)

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

Shakshuka Feast

Just wanted to thank my daughter and son-in-law for a wonderful Shakshuka dinner last night. 

This was topped off with Israeli salad, hot bread, and fresh tihini sauce.

To drink was some rich and foamy Israeli beer, wine, and soft drinks. 

A Moroccan feast fit for a king!

It was lovely to see how the kids have grown and are able to frankly outdo their parents (-in-laws) on cooking up a real "delicious" storm. ;-)

(Source Photo--which doesn't even do it justice--Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 22, 2018

Watch Out For That Gopher Hole

So this was funny this week. 

I hurt my back and leg and am going around with a (little) limp. 

So one of my colleagues at work sees me struggling-limping down the long hall here, and they say to me this funny thing:
Did you fall in a gopher hole?

I had to take an aback because I never heard that phrase before. 

Working outside the city here though, where a lot of people live in the burbs, and we regularly see all sorts of animals around campus, perhaps it wasn't so outlandish a question.  

Anyway, as I'm limping, I can't get that funny image out of my head.

I wonder if other people have fallen in a gopher hole and that's why back problems are so common after all. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to annolyn)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 21, 2018

Be Strong!


Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

My New Sneaks

These were my new sneaks for like two hours. 

I loved them in the store. 

My stylish and lovely daughter helped me pick them out. 

Nike bright orange--cool, fashionable. 

"Just do it!"

But when I tried them on, I didn't have socks, and had to use the ridiculous thin ones in the store.  

The sneakers were snug and I asked for a larger size, which they were out of. 

I took the sneakers anyway, hoping they would be okay when I got home, but disappointingly, they were way too tight. 

And "the give" that the saleslady said would happen with the sneakers, absolutely didn't. 

My foot was being crushed in there. 

I think Nike's run small. 

Like the look, but not the sizing. 

Anyway, saw three people playing soccer in these (or something close to it) the same day. 

Orange is the new black. ;-)

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

August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

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

August 19, 2018

Fav Ice Cream

So this is one of my absolute favorite ice creams. 

Soft chocolate swirl ice cream topped in a hard chocolate shell that literally melts in your mouth. 

OMG, this is to die for.

This is not something you get every day...it's a special treat. 

They have this ice cream locally in the mall, and sometimes I just go there, literally, just a taste of this. 

Usually, I get the small and then share this, but even that is too much really. 

It is like a meal in and of itself. 

So rich, creamy, cold, and chocolatey flavorful. 

Who needs caramel (sitting next to it) when you have chocolate!

Love it, love it, love it.  

Yum, yum, yum.  ;-)

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

East Meets West In The Holy Land

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Israel, Where East Meets West
The modern State of Israel is truly the embodiment of this oneness and this diversity. The Jewish Nation-State Law embodies this concept where Israel is defined as the national homeland for the Jewish People, yet it is democratic, open and welcoming to everyone. For Jewish people, there are Ashkenazi Jews and there are Sephardi Jews. And at the same time, there are people of faith, Christians, Muslims, Druze, and others from all over the globe.
Hope you enjoy.   

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

August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

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

A man died.

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

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

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

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

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

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

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

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

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

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

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

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

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

Man: I never owned anything?

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

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

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

August 16, 2018

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:

"But we've always done it that way."

They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.

One day, her daughter asked, "Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?"

The mother answers and says because "My mother always made it that way!"

So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.

Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, "Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?"

And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, "Because, we didn't have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!"

Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on "asking why."

Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. ;-)

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

August 15, 2018

It's Fight or Surrender!



This is why President Reagan was able to "tear down that wall" and win the Cold War. 

He was a true role model for leadership and what a President is. 

- Faith in G-d.

- A strength of convictions.

- The Integrity that touches hearts. 

- Courage to carry forward. 

- Pride in our nation.

- Judicious use of our might.

Go USA! ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

Floppy Disk Earrings

So this was an interesting technology fashion statement.

This lady in Washington, D.C. has earrings that are floppy disks. 

One full diskette on each ear!

I guess not only can she wear them, but she can plug them into her computer at work and save or transfer files (that is if you can still find a computer that actually uses these). 

It makes you think though, from a cybersecurity perspective, what other devices can people "wear" to work and use for good or malicious purposes. 

Another scary thought came to mind, how suicide/homicide bombers strap vests with explosives to their bodies too--do terrorists also adhere to a certain "style" even for murdering people? 

Anyway, fashion can be almost anything apparently...if you can find a way to put it on you body. ;-)

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

August 14, 2018

Taking Pride In Your Work

I thought this was a nice necklace. 

The lady in the hair salon had a necklace in the shape of a scissors.

I asked her about it because it seemed sort of unusual and neat. 

She said, "It's a scissors!"

And then she proceeded to squeeze the miniature two handles, and said, "You see, it actually opens and closes too!"

I could see and hear how proud she was of what she does for a living. 

Yes, maybe it doesn't earn as much as some other professions, but it was her job and she loved it. 

I think we should all try to take such pride in our work and in doing a great job!

Everyone has something important to contribute and every contribution truly counts. ;-)

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

August 13, 2018

Flower Petals In Water

Just wanted to share these absolutely beautiful flower petals floating on the water. 

G-d's creations are so wondrous and marvelous.

Frankly, I find it hard to comprehend how He made everything so gorgeous. 

There are plenty of challenges for us in this world to keep us learning and growing. 

But truly, I love that there is some Garden of Eden paradise in this world too. ;-)

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

August 12, 2018

Aliyah: To Go Up

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, The Aliyah Connection.
"As Jewish people yet around the globe plan for their futures, they need to consider carefully “the place that G-d has chosen” and where they and their families will be at the fateful conclusion of the Redemption and the arrival of Mashiach. Perhaps, while the road to Jerusalem requires our dedication and hard work, the choice is not that difficult as the Land of Israel flourishes and the people of Israel yet lives–Eretz and Am Israel Chai!"

Hope you enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Ochayon) 
Share/Save/Bookmark