Showing posts with label Blessing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blessing. Show all posts

May 8, 2019

Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 

Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 

May their memory be a blessing!

Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2018

THE MIGHTY MERKAVA IV

What an amazing birthday gift from my beautiful kids. 

A model of the awesome Merkava IV battle tank from Israel. 

They know how much I love this tank which the brave soldiers of the IDF use to protect the Holy Land of Israel. 

As a son of Holocaust survivors, this gift left me so emotional and literally brought tears to my eyes. 

One of the real tributes of the Merkava is that unlike almost every other tank in the entire world which has its engine in the rear to protect it from enemy fire...

The Merkava IV has the engine in the front to protect the lives of the Israeli soldiers who man it. 

To the Jewish people, it's not the tank that is important in and of itself, but it is its ability to protect each and every sacred life behind it. 

That is the noble creed of the Israelite people--nothing is more valuable than human life. 

70-years after the founding of the State of Israel--established from the very ashes of the 6,000,000 murdered in the Holocaust--I am so proud to say that IDF, despite being under almost constant threat from enemies near and far, protects the people and country with the utmost bravery, human dignity, and as a true light unto the nations. 

They are true heroes! May G-d Almighty bless each and every defender who stands watch over the Holy Land, and may He speedily bring a true and lasting peace to us all. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 26, 2018

What's Free And What's Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:
"The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately."

Yes, this is the home of the free. 

And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.

However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 

So dream big--imagine the very best.

Reach for the stars...

And then work your butt off to make it happen.

Choose carefully. 

No one can have it all.

You have to prioritize.

Also, you need to balance. 

In the end:
Dreams + Hard Work + Blessing From G-d

That's success by whatever standards you measure. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2017

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel--Mazel tov!

- 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.

- 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.

- 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.

Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.

As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and "it is the right thing to do!"

Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 

And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 

We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d's promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.

Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 

But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 

The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.

We must never forget that it is only with G-d's blessing and under his watchful eye.

May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WhiteHouse.gov)
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February 26, 2017

Thank You Chaplain Berning

I read about this amazing "Spiritual Communications Board" that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 

The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can't talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 

The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 

The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 

And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help... from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 

While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d's help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 

To heal, people don't just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 

The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)
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June 7, 2016

Now You See It and Now You Don't


Took a little hike on Sunday through Sligo Creek. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 

Walking along the creek, we saw a mother and child wading in the water. 

(Not sure that I would do that based on how clean or not it is, but they seemed to be cooling off and having fun). 

Then crossing a little footbridge, we came across someone tossing this pretty big bolder over the side and into the same creek. 

There was another guy at the bottom who seemed to be looking out for the big splash (or perhaps anyone happening by who would get clobbered by this thing). 

Anyway, this was just a stark juxtaposition of people (including children) having fun in the water and the potential hazards from above.

This is life, one minute everything can be sunshine and roses, and the next bing bong!

Got to be grateful for every minute of peace, health, and prosperity-they are truly gifts and nothing is owed to anyone from the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 4, 2016

613 Buses

Here's my next encounter today with mystical number 613 (the number of Commandments in the Torah).

This is the sign on the bus shelter by the Foggy Bottom Metro.

Two buses are on the way--the M36 and M31.

Both coming to the same bus stop.

One immediately right after the other. 

Read top right to lower left...613.

Within ten minutes I saw yet another 2 signs on the metro train in 2 different locations...both 6 car trains coming right after each other in 1 and 3 minute intervals.

(Note: Metro also has 8 car trains that it usually alternates with the 6's, but today none were in sight at either station). 
I am not making this stuff up...this is freaky, but if you believe, maybe also very cool. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 10, 2016

Success Is Not A Silver Spoon

So there is a disappointing editorial in the Sunday New York Times Review Section today. 

It is by Christopher Chabris and Joshua Hart in "How Not To Explain Success."

They attempt to dispel the explanation of 2 Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld that various ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. Cubans, Jews, Indians, etc.) "had achieved disproportionate success in America" because of three things:

1) "A belief that their group was inherently superior to others"

2) "A sense of personal insecurity"

3) "A high degree of impulse control"

But Chabris and Hart claim this is falsehood and instead attribute the success to the people's innate higher intelligence and superior socioeconomic background.

In other words, Chabris and Hart would have us believe that the ethnic and religious minorities they speak of were somehow "born with a silver spoon in their mouths"-- which is complete NONSENSE.

While Chabris and Hart (of Union College) themselves claim vastly superior empirical evidence from their survey of a whopping 1,258 adults, they dismiss others' arguments such as Yale University professors, Chua and Rubenfeld, as mere "circumstantial evidence."

Well I and many of my family and friends that I grew up with must be part of that silly circumstantial evidence, called PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

You see, we are part of the generation of Holocaust Survivors and Children Of Holocaust Survivors, who came to America, as my grandmother said "without a chair to sit on" or a dime in their pockets. 

My father worked long, hard hours in a factory eventually becoming its manager and he and my mom provided for our family. Both my parents lost most of their education due to the War and the need to "go out and earn a living."

Similarly, one of my best friends grew up also the child of survivors. His father came from the Holocaust and ended up working blue collar work as an electrician, eventually owning his business.  

Neither family started with much--I ended up managing technology in some awesome agencies for the Federal government and my friend as an executive in the cruise industry.  

Virtually, the entire generation of Jews who fled to America as refugees from the Holocaust came with nothing...yet the people and their children worked hard, very hard, and they were blessed, and become successful. 

So, I have no surveys to back me up, but I do have my life and that of almost an entire generation of real life facts from people's lives--not made up of speculative survey questions and their interpretation of results.

So from my perspective, it is Chabris and Hart that are 100% WRONG!

You see they don't know from where we came and under what horrible conditions and how we arrived here as immigrants with nothing but our faith in G-d Almighty and the love of our families and community. 

And for the record, Chua and Rubenfeld are right:

Point #1, we were clearly taught a sense of superiority--but not what people mistakenly think--it is not based on intelligence, looks, or on physical strength, but rather based on that we were Biblically expected to behave differently as Jews and live more stringently. 

And that goes clearly to point #3, which is impulse control...the Jewish religion is based on 613 commandments--we are expected to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, keep Shabbat and holidays a certain way, raise a family a certain way...there is a huge amount of impulse control involved and in fact, not all of us are successful meeting all those stringent requirements--but it is a precondition upon which many of us grow up. 

Finally, in terms of point #2--personal insecurity, I am not sure how much more insecure you can be when your people just got slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world's worst genocide ever known, and you are one of the survivors who has to rebuild--Yes, that is an incredible motivator!

If Chabris and Hart believe that we made it here based on pure intellect or positive socioeconomic factors--they are either complete idiots or sickly delusional.

While people's personal success is highly subjective for them, as a whole group though, I most certainly believe that G-d blessed the Jewish people after the horrors and unbelievable suffering of the Holocaust. 

No level of intelligence or falsely perceived socioeconomics can explain what only G-d's infinite mercy can endow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2016

What does 600613 Spell?

As per my previous blogs on the mystical number 613 (corresponding to the G-d's commandments in the Torah), today we have a technological twist.

Recently, Google paid an award to a former employee of $6,006.13.

The amount is special in two ways as you can see:

First of all, Google saw that, if you look closely, this number spells Google. 

Secondly, it has the number mystical number 613 in it. 

613 is a winner and so is Google, which is now the the most valuable company in the U.S. (worth more than Apple) at $554 billion!

If you use simple Gematria, where each letter is a number (A=1, B=2, C=3...Z=26), then Guess what other successful technology companies has the mystical 613 in their names:















(Also, see which amazing technology company has 613 twice in their name!)

In contrast, some ailing technology companies that do not have 613:

- Yahoo

- Twitter

- LinkedIn

613 is a reminder of G-d's benevolence to mankind in that he G-d us the commandments as a roadmap to live by.  613 is a symbol of faith in G-d almighty and in his holy Torah (Bible). 

For those that keep His charge, we believe that Hashem will bless them and keep them. 

Indeed, technology used for the good of mankind is a blessing to us all.  ;-)

(Source Graphics: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)
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January 6, 2016

Happy Hamsa

I took this photo in the local Judaica store.

It is a Hamsa--a palm-shaped amulet symbolizing the hand of G-d--and it is supposed to bring good luck, blessing, and protection. 

This particular hamsa was decorated in a more homey flower theme, which made it different and interesting from the others that I have seen which are traditionally either deep blue with a single watchful eye or others that are multi-colored and jeweled. 

This hamsa should bring us all good fortune and much happiness. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 21, 2014

Graduation Day

So proud of Minna graduating from University of Maryland today. 

And in only 3 1/2 years...record time, while she worked an internship too.

With a major in communication, please G-d she will go out as the keynote speaker said, "the glue that mends broken dialogue" in society.  

Communications comes from community...from marketing and branding to public relations and diplomacy, communications is key in everything we do from vetting ideas, innovating, decision making, teamwork, and even social media. 

Lots of luck in your future and may Hashem bless you in all that you do.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 7, 2014

Lighting The Shabbat Candles

Wanted to share this beautiful picture

The mother is ushering in Shabbat.

The children are gathered around.

The father is in synagogue.

The mother lights the holy candles.

She covers her eyes, and makes the blessing.

"Blessed are you, G-d, King of the Universe, who made us holy with his commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat light."

She then blesses her loved ones. 

Shabbat is here, and it is time to stop all the routine, mundane things from the regular weekdays. 

There is no work on the 7th day--it is the day for Hashem!

Rest, peace, and spirituality are upon us. 

Let us celebrate together and rejoice. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 29, 2014

From Hymietown To Chickenshit

In 8 years of blogging, I don't think I have ever written twice about the same topic in a single day--but today, I am appalled. 

In 1984, Rev. Jesse Jackson (later the democratic Presidential candidate) referred to the Jewish people and New York as Hymietown

Roll forward to 2014, and we have "senior administration officials" who have called Israel's heroic Prime Minister Netanyahu a "Chickensh*t."


In 1624, Rembrandt painted this beautiful work from the Bible of Balaam riding on the way to curse the Israelites.


The problem for him was that an Angel of G-d stood in his path--his donkey saw it, but not Balaam!  (Numbers 22:21-39)


In Genesis 12:3, God says to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse."


Of course, the Israelites have to be deserving of this and act according to G-d's word and by a strict moral code. 


For those who act shamefully, with arrogance before G-d, and unapologetically, and use their political platform to name-call, curse, and degrade Israel, no man ultimately needs to answer this, G-d provides the answer himself. 


Kudos to House Speaker John Boehner for speaking up against this grotesque, "disrespectful rhetoric" unbecoming the leadership of the United States of America. 


Congress should take up a vote unanimously condemning these disgusting, derogatory, Anti-semitic remarks--for those who bless Israel shall be blessed! ;-)


(Source Photo here via Wikipedia)

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October 28, 2014

^^^To The Six Million^^^

I am dedicating my 2001st blog post to my 6 million! Jewish brothers and sisters who were murdered in the Holocaust. 

May G-d have mercy on their souls and in their name bless us, the survivors, to do his holy bidding and good deeds. 


Thank you G-d for bringing me to this time and for all your enduring kindness. 


May you give me the strength and inspiration to carry on as a hopefully positive influence in this world. 


(Source Photo of Miami Holocaust Memorial: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 12, 2014

Going With Happiness

We went to synagogue yesterday and the Sukkot celebration today at Chabad in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Such lovely warm and welcoming people--thank you Rabbi and Rebbetzin Schneur for your very gracious hospitality.

My wife and I both cried at the services and in getting in touch with our inner Torah spirituality.

Somehow, Chabad brings out the best in others, and they did it with us as well.

Here I stood next to the picture of the Rebbe and I looked into his eyes and was strengthened.

I remember many years ago, Dossy and I went to visit at Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights, New York and we received a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

He told my wife to always go with happiness ("B'sever panim yafot").

Today was a little fulfillment of that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dossy Blumenthal)

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January 15, 2014

Eulogy For My Beloved Mother, Gerda Blumenthal

We are here today to remember and honor my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, who passed away on Monday.  

My mother was my personal heroine, even as just two days earlier, a great hero of the Jewish people died as well--Ariel Sharon, a former Prime Minister of the State of Israel and a hero general who fought militarily to defend his people, but who also disengaged the State of Israel unilaterally from Gaza to make peace. 

Sharon’s role in history to secure the Jewish people came on the heels of the Holocaust where 6 million Jews were murdered – one of every three in the entire world!

To my mother, the holocaust was one of the defining moments in her life. She was just 5 years old, when the murderous Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, came up behind my mother and her father on the street in Germany, grabbed him and dragged him off to the concentration camps. My mother, a child, was left alone crying on the streets, until some neighbors found her and brought her home to her mother. Miraculously, her father was one of the few to actually be let out a number of weeks later, as he had already received visas for the family to come to America. He had lost 20-30 pounds in just those few weeks of brutal slave labor and beatings, but he and the family were free to come to this country and start anew. 

Like many of the immigrant families who were forced to flee persecution, my mother and her family arrived here penniless, and her father who didn't even know the language, worked as a tailor to try and support the family. My mother had wanted to pursue her education—and to be a nurse—but when she graduated high school, she was asked to immediately go to work to help the family earn a living in those difficult days. She did this dutifully and worked—mostly doing secretarial work, which was popular in those days—while raising my sister and I and taking care of my dad. My mom would put me on the school bus, rush off to work, and be home in time to make dinner for all of us. Mom was unwavering in her commitment to taking care of us. Mom taught me what family was, what it was to put family first, and what it was to work hard, very hard, always being there to take care of us, even when at times, it seemed like too much for any human being. 

My older sister and I are eight years apart. But there was another sibling, Susie, born between us. However, she died as a baby leaving my mother and father bereaved of their 2nd child still in the early years of their marriage. Despite this new challenge in their lives—and what seemed like another personal test—my mother carried on with my father to build the family, and I came along four years later.  I have always tried to make my mother and father proud of me, especially in light of the loss of their other child. 

My mother and father—were best friends, but like all loving couples, they also argued—but they always came back together again to make up and bond. And I learned well from them that in relationships, we can argue, but we can work things out—even though it’s not always easy to say I’m sorry or I was wrong, but we come back together because we are a family--we love each other and have that commitment. The loss of my mom is magnified, because of that deep love, but also because we are a small family that has always lived a hop, skip, and jump from each other—like one extended family. 

My mother and father put my sister and I through private Jewish school, all the years, and then through college and graduate school—so that I was able to get my MBA and my sister her PhD. Even in later years, she helped babysit for my children and was like a second mother to them, so that my wife, Dossy could get her PhD as well. She loved my daughters—Minna and Rebecca, and my niece, Yaffa, so much.  My mother and my father even moved here to Silver Spring in 2000—soon after we relocated here to work for the government—so they could be with us and the grandchildren—even though my mother really loved living in Riverdale, NY and the community and friends there, and would otherwise never have left there. 

I will never forget the endless sacrifices made for us, which contrasts to many other families in modern times, when people seem more focused on career, their own interests and happiness, and mired in the world of the Internet and social media. But my mom taught me that while we may want a lot of different things, we need to put our priorities in order and focus on what is really important—family, friends, and faith. 

Like Ariel Sharon who suffered a stroke eight years ago, my mother was diagnosed with the horrible disease of Parkinson’s—also eight years ago. My mother went from being the one who took care of everyone to where my father, in his own old age, and his own illness, had to take care of her. He did this with unbelievable courage and tirelessly, he did everything for her—everything! Even when we all thought she needed to go to the nursing home, he brought her home and cared for her himself for two years under extremely trying circumstances. Until this last April, when my mother was hospitalized again and was too ill to go home again. She went to the Hebrew Home In Rockville, and later because of her severe pain was put under hospice care. My mom unfortunately suffered horribly—more than we have ever seen anyone suffer. When she passed this week, I was horrified to lose my mother, as anyone would be, and at the same time, I was grateful to G-d that perhaps she now had some rest from the all the terrible illness and suffering and was finally at peace. 

She died on Monday almost immediately after the Rabbi said the final prayers with her, and so I hope that the prayers and good wishes of the Rabbi and all of us—her family and friends—are heard in heaven and usher her in as a righteous soul, loving wife, mother, and grandmother—and grant her everlasting peace and reward from the Almighty. 

Mom, we will always remember everything you have done for us. You taught us what a good traditional Jewish home and values are. Thank you for the love, care, and endless sacrifices. You will live on in the children and grandchildren and hopefully, our lives will be a merit for you. We love you always, and miss you. May G-d welcome you back, grant you peace, and bless you.

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November 22, 2013

Listening and Blessings

Two reflections from this week:

1. Listen to understand:
I heard a colleague talk about the importance of listening. There wasn't really anything new about that, except he went on to say, "Listen to understand, not to refute or resolve." The more, I thought about this, the more brilliant I realized this was. How often do we either not really listen to the other person? And when we do listen at all, aren't we most of the time jumping to either refute what they are saying or resolve their issue? The key though is to listen to understand. Ask questions. Get clarifications. Only once you really listen to the other person and understand what they are saying, can you begin to address the thoughts and feeling they are expressing to you.

2. G-d Blessed You:
Usually when I see people asking for help/money on the streets, they have signs--handwritten, often on cardboard or the like--that says something about their plight. Perhaps, they are homeless, lost their job, ill or disabled, have kids to support...and they are asking for your help and mercy. At the end of the sign or if you give them some change or a few dollars, they say thanks, but also "G-d bless you" in the future tense. And this is really nice to get a blessing in return for some basic charity and kindness. However, there is one poor person begging in downtown D.C., and he says it differently. His sign asks for help and says, "G-d blessed you" in the past-present tense. First, I thought maybe this was just a grammatical mistake, but then I realized what he was saying. G-d blessed you, so please give back to others. This wasn't a thank you wish to the other person, but rather a reason that you should give to begin with. Recognize how fortunate you are (and maybe you don't even necessarily deserve it), but G-d blessed you, so have mercy and give to others. 

Hope these reflections mean something to you the way they do to me, and have a good weekend everyone!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 4, 2013

Hold The Pickles, Hold The Lettuce--BABIES!


Remember, the catchy old Burger King commercial about "Have it your way"(where you can order the burger any way you want, no problem!)?

Now, we are reaching the point with DNA testing, where we can have it your way and order up babies the way you want them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, by getting genetic profiles of egg or sperm donors, you can search for a match with the genetic profile of the would-be parent to have a higher likelihood of desired traits (e.g. blue eyes) or lower likelihood of undesirable ones (e.g. heart disease). 

23andMe, a DNA company (Note: humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes) that sells home testing kits for $99, has patented a process for analyzing DNA and providing information on health and ancestry, and this could be used for system screening of egg or sperm donors through a tool called a "Family Traits Inheritance calculator."

Calculating better babies by choosing desired matches at fertility clinics is only steps away from actually making marriage decisions based on genetic make-up--in that scenario love is only one factor in choosing a mate and maybe not the primary any longer. 

The idea being to screen potential couples before marriage to yield "the best" potential children--smartest, athletic, good-looking, etc. 

There are already genetic banks for screening and capturing genetic information on potential couples to avoid genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and others. 

While bioengineering children for better health is one thing, creating a blue-eye and blond-haired race was the Nazi's concept of an Aryan nation as a superior race that would dominate the world. 

The ethical questions of how to screen out illness without creating a situation like in China under a one-child policy, where male offspring are considered superior and so we proverbially tilt the odds in favor of what we think is best even if it may not really be. 

Neither a homogeneous superior race, nor a customized bioengineered baby is the answer--rather, we need to value healthy diversity in children, where each is a miracle and a blessing in their own right. ;-)
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June 24, 2013

My Beautiful Mom

This is a picture of my beautiful mother. 

My daughter Minna found this picture in one of our old albums and made it new again with her wonderful photography skills. 

Although my mom has aged and is not in the best of health anymore, she retains a glowing inner and outer beauty that radiates throughout the whole room--wherever she is. 

I love my mom and am so grateful for everything she has done to raise me and help raise the grandchildren too. 

She has always been there for us and we love her dearly. 

Thank you mom for everything--you've done a great job by Dad and all of us who have depended on you, and we will never forget your kindness, generosity, and love.

May G-d bless you, always. 
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March 19, 2013

Get Your Newspaper With Style

Some people give out the newspapers in the morning with a loud and resonant, "Get your daily newspaper!"

Others with a call to duty, "Look alive people--it's a workday!"

A more tame and spiritual approach is the man who wishes everyone with, "Have a blessed day!"

And finally this cheerful young lady who greets everyone coming out of the Metro with a warm smile and a great happy hat!

Thanks to all the hardworking folks providing the news at Metro in the mornings, in all weather, and also at no cost. ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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