Showing posts with label Andy Blumenthal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andy Blumenthal. Show all posts

May 21, 2022

Measuring Success Like G-d

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Measuring Success Like G-d."
Never more than today are we living lives of total excess. This week, we saw a Mercedes-Benz 1995 car sell for a record-breaking $142 million. Last month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authorities seized a Russian oligarch’s $793 million mega yacht. And this last year, Morgan Stanley predicted that Elon Musk may eventually become the world’s first trillionaire.
In a world where marketing, sales, advertising, branding, and the media all seek to convince us that life is essentially about “things,” self-satisfaction, the next high, and happiness, we can easily forget how transient and valueless all that really is. Inside each of us though there is a deeper, true voice that seeks a life of real meaning, purpose and immortality, where faith, compassion, giving, and self-sacrifice is the true measure of our character and the ultimate gauge of life success.

(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/smiley-emoticon-greed-822993/)

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May 15, 2022

The Tragic Comedy of the “Anti-Zionist Synagogue”

 
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "The Tragic Comedy of the 'Anti-Zionist Synagogue'."

Recently in the Forward, I read about this “synagogue,” Tzedek Chicago, that has the tragic distinction of being the first anti-Zionist synagogue in America. They claim that they are all about justice, as their name “Tzedek” supposedly implies, and as their website values states:

"…the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against the Palestinian people, an injustice that continues to this day."

However, the facts do not match the rhetoric. Anti-Zionism, regardless of the source is ultimately about Jew hatred.

(Screenshot from @margoexplainsitall on Instagram reel at https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcBMN1bFfpU/)
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May 7, 2022

Playing The Odds

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Playing The Odds."

The stranger told me: Precisely fifty years ago, the doctor told me the exact same thing about having a one in a hundred chance of paralysis if they operated. So, what did I do? I went to see the Rabbi (Avigdor Miller) and ask his advice, and the Rabbi says to me: "A Jew doesn’t take odds like that!"

I thought to myself while Jews don’t take those wild odds (1 in a 100 of paralysis), why do they play the odds with their souls by pretending to be religious on the outside, but on the inside and away from human eyes doing evil? Surely, we all know that G-d sees everything and that a faithful judgment awaits us all. And it all made sense not to play the odds not only with our physical health, but also with our spiritual wellbeing.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2022

The Real Unthinkable Option

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "The Real Unthinkable Option."

Listen, we are forever in a battle of good and evil in this world. We have to rise to the occasion to stand by our faith in G-d and ensure that good prevails. Easier said than done, because of course, fighting to defeat wrongdoing and evil is not only a battle that takes places within our own souls, but with those that have already sold their souls to the devil for money, power, honor, and every worldly gratification. So, the battles and wars ahead are scary indeed, but we have to choose the right side, silence our own inner conflict and turmoil, and put our fears aide.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)



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April 23, 2022

Jude in America

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Jude in America."
What was shocking was that despite the professional environment, this was a climate where they actually felt “safe” expressing their Antisemitism and hate. In this case, these high-level, powerful, “educated” people working in the heart of our nation’s capital should know better, much better than to harass someone because she is a Jew, an Israeli, a woman or all three.
It is unfortunate that there still are individuals that hate out there: that lash out questioning our faith, our people, and our intentions. Good people see the common humanity and good in others, and bad people are infatuated with imaginary intolerable differences, especially of minorities, and enjoy scapegoating them, goading others to join their hate, and even violently preying on them.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 17, 2022

Making Off With The Passover Buffet

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Making Off With The Passover Buffet."

I see Chabad not only performing genuine good deeds, but also always b’simcha (in happiness) with a big smile, even generously letting others take the Passover buffet home with them. To me, this is truly a taste not just of a festive and kosher Passover, but of the times of Mashiach where rather than fighting over the scraps of food, there is so much plenty and caring that we can’t even give it all away.

(Credit Photo: Dossy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2022

Terror In Israel: Time To Take Out The Trash

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Terror in Israel: Time To Take Out The Trash."

Passover, which is the holiday of liberation and freedom, is also when we must acknowledge that hate and terror is inconsistent with faith and holiness. The terrorists impinge on our freedom to live as a free people in our own land. On Passover, we must renew ourselves with the strength, determination, and perseverance to rid ourselves of the chametz, not only as represented by food but metaphysically by those filled with haughtiness, intolerance, hate, and violence towards us.

(Source Photo: Zoriah; https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoriah/3170393154/)
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April 2, 2022

Teaching Our Children To Be Good Jews

 
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Teaching Our Children To Be Good Jews."

What happened to genuine faith in G-d, belief in the holy Torah, our duty to abide by the 613 commandments, and generally doing right in this world by our fellow man and before G-d Almighty? Maybe I’m being too literal here but being a “good Jew” has got to mean something important. We are keeping alive the tradition of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, spanning back thousands of years to our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to G-d delivering us from Egyptian servitude, and His giving to us the Torah on Mount Sinai, and to His bringing us to Israel, the Land of Milk and Honey, and keeping us from being wiped away by one great empire after another. Being a Jew means being part of an important important and yes, “chosen” for a special mission of being a “light unto the nations” and that means action on our part: thinking, saying, and doing what’s right all the time!
We are tested daily to do what’s right, even when it’s not convenient, easy, enjoyable, or popular. What is a Jew? We need to really ask ourselves that question. It’s not trivial and neither should the answer be. Our lives in this world and the next are depending on how we live up to the high bar that is set for us each and every day of our lives that Hashem mercifully grants to us.

(Photo: My dear parents Fred and Gerda Blumenthal at my Bar Mitzvah)

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March 26, 2022

Putin’s Ukrainian Hogwash

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Putin's Ukrainian Hogwash."

“Talk less and do more.” Unfortunately, Putin apparently didn’t learn this lesson as a child and is now, as they say, having to learn it the hard way later in life. He and his henchmen signaled to the world how they would bring Ukraine to its knees, surround and capture the capital, Kyiv, overthrow the leadership and install a pro-Kremlin puppet, and demilitarize the country. However, Putin spoke very big, but after a whole month of fighting now, things haven’t turned out the way Putin had counted on. With Russian casualties, wounded, captured, and missing now estimated at up to 40,000, and with the Russian forces on the retreat, no one in their right minds could’ve imagined such a modern David and Goliath scenario playing out with Ukraine as the David. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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March 20, 2022

Russia’s Aggression Proves Iran Must Be Stopped

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Russia's Aggression Proves Iran Must Be Stopped."
 
As countries, responsible and rogue, pursue ever increasing and deadlier nuclear weapons (as well as deadly biological and chemical weapons), the chances grow for a unilateral bilateral, or multilateral exchange to take place. Whether from a brutal tyrant wanting to grow their base of corrupt power to a rampaging megalomaniac bent of world domination, a paranoid schizophrenic leader who feels that his “back is up against the wall,” or a radical theocratic crackhead convinced that G-d is on their side and wants them to kill all the infidels, we are inching ever closer to the day when nukes or other weapons of mass destruction will be out of the silo, port container, or suitcase. 

It is time to finally and fully acknowledge the growing threat especially from Iran and take the necessary preemptive action to stop them before they follow Russia’s dangerous playbook to even greater global malice and consequence. 

(Credit Photo: blueforce4116, https://www.flickr.com/photos/blueforce4116/1393622639/in/photolist-389)
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March 12, 2022

Is This The Coming of Gog and Magog?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Is This The Coming of Gog and Magog?"

When it comes to Russia's real world military fighting doctrine, no one and nothing is safe until their objectives are met, even if that means World War III, as Russia's foreign minister has stated. Russia is already formidable and the largest country in the world with 11% of the world's landmass, and that is almost double that of the next largest country. Further, with a solidifying partnership of superpower countries Russia-China, coupled with alliances with authoritarian regimes of Iran and North Korea, an extremely dangerous Axis of Evil is developing that may soon threaten global stability and peace. Many are starting to question whether we are now entering the times of Gog and Magog, the devastating "end of times" war as prophesied in Ezekiel (38-39) before the coming of the Messiah and the Third Temple. Indeed, the term "Rosh" as in Gog's Chief Prince has been compared to "Rus" for Russia or I would say to "Rasha" (wicked, evil one). Further, Russia is coming directly from "the far north" of Israel, and Iran is compared to "Persia" in the war of Gog and Magog. Strangely enough, the timing is coming now, the week of Purim, with the U.S. desiring to finalize the end of sanctions on Iran and rejoin the grossly ineffective Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) paving the way for Iran and their radical mullahs to go nuclear in the future.

(Source Photo: MFA of Ukraine, https://twitter.com/MFA_Ukraine/status/1501810212755451905/photo/2)
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March 5, 2022

A Dream and An Honor

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "A Dream And An Honor."

The soldiers of the IDF are so motivated and effective, because they are generally at peace with themselves as a moral Jewish Democracy who stand for what’s right in the region and in the world. Especially after the extermination of 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust, the IDF are truly holy warriors that defend the Promised Land of Israel and the Jewish people globally. I think FIDF is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the soldiers as they dutifully serve to protect all of us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2022

Calling On The Vatican

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Calling On The Vatican."

Historically, the holy city of Jerusalem was captured, and the second Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman Army led by Titus and his father Emperor Vespasian. Later, in the year 81 CE, the Arch of Titus (pictured above) was erected to commemorate Titus’s victory over the Jews and depicts the plunder the Roman Army carried back in their ceremonial march. Clearly carved in the arch are the Temple menorah, trumpets, and the table for the showbread—a sampling of the Temple spoils that the Romans carried off back to their home.

I want to beseech the Pope and the Vatican to return the items that they have from the Jewish Temple that rightfully belong to the Jewish people. These items sitting idly in the Vatican vaults and archives hold enormous sanctity to the Jewish people who crafted and worshipped with them over the duration of 1,400 years from the Tabernacle to the First and Second Temples. In the spirit of love and brotherhood between Christians and Jews, and in the name of G-d who commands all mankind not to steal from one another, and to return lost items to their rightful owner, I say to the Pope, it is high time to do the right thing and return our holy Temple vessels to Israel.

(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/forum-romanum-arch-titus-relief-883849/)
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February 20, 2022

Lessons From Israel In Stopping Ransomware

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Lessons From Israel In Stopping Ransomware."
Israel is a small, but powerful nation that wants to stop attacks before they get to their door, and indeed, their lives depend on that. We can learn from Israel's military doctrine of deterrence through overwhelming strength, unity, and disincentivizing the attackers to inform other security issues, such as ransomware attacks. I believe that the answer lies in a public-private security partnership financially backed by the government.
First, companies voluntarily join a public-private security partnership in which they adhere to higher security standards and oversight as well as pledge not to pay ransomware. Additionally, these companies are placed on a public list and given a badge or seal of approval/logo like Brink's Home Security or ADT to display that indicates they are "fortified," and in this case, that they won't pay any ransom, and are backed by the government.

Second, the government provides an incentive for companies to participate in the public-private partnership and not to pay ransomware. The incentive provided is that the companies are backstopped (insured) by the government in the event of a ransomware attack to them. This is similar to ransomware insurance, but the difference is that the cost to companies would be a fraction of what they would otherwise have to pay. The benefit to the taxpayer is that the market for ransomware dries up with companies that have pledged not to pay. As the program become universal, there is no one left for the ransomware attackers to target.

(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/ransomware-cyber-crime-malware-2321110/)


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February 12, 2022

Overcoming The Inquisitor

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Overcoming The Inquisitor."
While anti-Semitism and persecution for being Jews is horrible and should never happen, in a sort of obscene and ironic way, it ends up making us stronger as Jews. In short, testing our faith, ends up solidifying our faith!
No one likes adversity, suffering, or persecution, and G-d only knows that we as Jews have known our deeply painful share. Yet whether from Egyptian slavery to the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and more, it’s our test as Jews to survive, and to learn and grow from it our faith in Hashem.

Yes, these things are far easier said than done, but when we face these terrible events, we must try with all our might to overcome them, heroically and faithfully.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2022

Synagogue Politics

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Synagogue Politics."

Clearly, the mobile sanctuary and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and now our synagogues are “Houses of G-d,” where we go to pray, learn Torah, and worship Him, and where He resides among us.  Sure, G-d is everywhere, but the synagogue/Temple is a unique, special, and spiritual place where we as community dedicate ourselves to G-d and worship Him. It should go without saying that the synagogue is not a place for petty politics, protests, or other antics.

As Jews, we are supposed to make a “Kiddush Hashem” (sanctification of G-d’s name) and not Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d), and so my hope and prayer is that people in this synagogue and in every synagogue, can “let go” and instead “let G-d.”

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Image for Illustration Only)


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January 29, 2022

Goading The Bull In Ukraine

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Goading The Bull In Ukraine."

A few years ago, Israel’s former Foreign Minister, Avigdor Liberman (Soviet-born) cautioned about Israel’s indecision on handling the existential Iranian nuclear threat:
We need decisiveness, determination, not whining…no agreement will stop them. If you want to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.

These days, there is a similar situation with Russia and the U.S.’s threats over Ukraine: too much senseless political bantering and ultimatums that is only ratcheting up tension in the world. The result is that Russia’s ominous military machine including 100,000 troops have surrounded Ukraine (the 2nd largest country in Europe) on three sides and are poised to attack, yet there is a ridiculous song and dance being played out on the world stage In the end, the question is whose strategy will prove to be the winning one: Russia’s daunting finger on the trigger or even an actual devastating invasion of resource-rich Ukraine to try and safeguard their flank on Eastern Europe or the U.S. gambling that Russia will get mired in a no-win Afghan-like military foray that will bankrupt them financially and morally. As we await the answer to this, the world is learning to disregard and disrespect those that talk bull and goad the bull rather than decisively confronting the threat. We can’t afford the consequences to world peace and stability.

(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/trimmers-torero-bullfighters-sales-2314770/)
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January 23, 2022

Not Terror But Hugs

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Not Terror But Hugs."

While standing up for the Torah to be brought back to the ark, a little boy comes up to me and just gives me a big hug. I learned afterwards that the boy “makes the rounds” in shul giving everyone a beautiful Shabbat embrace. This simple symbolic act of caring and loving others, mainly many older people in synagogue, by this innocent child gave people an uncommon sense of happiness and even hope in our future despite the anti-Semitism and hate of too many others outside.
The love of G-d is our secret for life and for our perseverance throughout history. G-d loves us as His children, but also punishes us as His children. As children, we are always learning and growing, but as adults we have to act in a way of righteousness and holiness, so that we will merit the former, and not the latter. With G-d's mercy and blessings, hopefully, we will have peace in our synagogues and our lives, wherever we reside in the world, to worship and live as Jewish people free of bigotry, hate, and terror, once and for all.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal, Adapted from L. Krestin)
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January 16, 2022

A Trust Beyond Faith

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "A Trust Beyond Faith."

When we have faith in G-d, it generally means that we believe that He created us and that He is the Master of the Universe. However, faith does not necessarily imply trust. Trust in G-d means that we believe that He not only created us, but that He sustains us and that there is Divine Providence in this world. When we trust in G-d, we believe that G-d is close to us and has a personal relationship with each and every one of us, and actually to everything in the world.
We all need to leave our egos at the door! No matter how strong or smart that we think we are, even the little grass above us (or above our graves) is greater than us. Certainly, G-d Almighty who is our creator and our sustainer, all-knowing and all-powerful, He is over us and watches over us in better times as well as those that are perhaps more challenging, but always we trust, for the good!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2022

Discerning The Truth Amid Iran’s Lies

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Discerning The Truth Amid Iran's Lies."
While people can easily utter falsehoods, like Iran saying that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, the documents and computer drives that Israel captured in 2016 when they courageously raided Iran’s nuclear archive shows that Iran has been pursuing a dangerous nuclear weapons program for decades.

The world has tried to contain Iran for decades: From monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities through the IAEA, to sanctions and covert actions to deter and set back Iran’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and the JCPOA deal to try to contain Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, nothing has worked, and Iran is intent on getting the bomb.

Moreover, while the costs of a preemptive attack on Iran could be great, the doctrine from former Prime Minister, Menachem Begin that Israel cannot and will not allow countries that threaten Israel’s existence to get the means to carry it out is as true today as in 1981 when Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak.
The Jewish people learned from 2,000 years in exile and persecution ending in the Holocaust that killed six million Jews that we must take verbal threats of annihilation supported by facts on the ground against us most seriously. As children of the Holocaust survivors, we must be true to our words of “Never again” and act with courage and determination to confront the enemy covertly and if necessary, with overt action to stop their genocidal pursuit from ever getting off the ground.

(Credit Photo: via https://www.flickr.com/photos/aeneastudio/3657735814 by aeneastudio and adapted by Andy Blumenthal)

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