Showing posts with label Brotherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brotherhood. Show all posts

April 28, 2019

Rocking Mimouna @Magen David Synagogue




I learnt last night that Mimouna comes from the word "Emunah" which means faith. 

The Mimouna is the celebration at the end of Passover. 

It is a custom from the Jews who lived in Morocco who celebrated hand-in-hand with their Arab neighbors in peace and harmony

This celebration of faith, friendship, and peace has now become standard in Jewish communities far and wide. 

In the light of the anti-Semitic instances yesterday with the vilr caricature in the garbage New York Times and the Shooting at the Chabad synagogue in San Diego (exactly 6 months after the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue), I say:

Let us have faith in the one true G-d that he will redeem his loving people of all religions and utterly punish the haters and anti-Semites for the evil they are. 

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

February 24, 2019

Interfaith Movie Today

This afternoon, we attended the interfaith movie screening of “The Judge.

The movie is about a Palestinian woman who becomes “the first woman judge in a Shari’a ‘family law’ court.” 

Let's just say it wasn't easy for her to break into this male-dominated profession within institutionalized religion in the Middle East.  

Thinking in an interfaith way, I guess it's maybe not so dissimilar to women breaking into the profession of the Rabbinate. 

Another similarity between the religions was that there were many Islamic religious leaders that were very conservative and dead set against women in the Shari'a courts, while others stood up against the tide and inspired change--I think we have similar disagreements in Judaism between the ultra-orthodox who want to stick with the "old" historical ways of doing things, and the more liberal Jews that seek the freedom to alter those ways. 

During the movie, there were some interesting take-aways like under Shariah law, men are allowed up to 4 wives!  

Another funny line in the movie was when one of the men said that the men never make trouble for the women (i.e. it's all the women's fault). 

In the court cases filmed, there seemed to be a lot of cases of domestic violence and of divorce, and in one case in particular the wife was actually stabbed to death in the court house by her husband who she was trying to get a divorce from. 

Overall, it felt good to attend the event and try to be a part of the healing process between people. 

The event was sponsored by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) of Washington, D.C. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

January 21, 2019

@MLK Celebration



(Source Videos: Andy Blumenthal
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 16, 2018

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn't any one religion.  

When I asked more about this, she said:
The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).

Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 

The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 

Here are some of the take-a-ways:

- We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 



- Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.

- Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity--"I hate your stupid face!"



- But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 



- Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 

- We all have our own "facts":  My facts vs. Your Facts. 

- We attribute good that happens to us as being because of "us," but bad that happens to us because of "them."

- Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate--and:

- We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

- Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts


- Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 



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

November 12, 2018

Beautiful, Peaceful Picture For Veterans Day

Today, it's Veterans Day. 

So I just wanted to share this beautiful, peaceful picture.

Let there be no war anymore!  ;-)

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

September 23, 2018

And On That Day...

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, All Will Know G-d

In the true story that I recount, a little Ethiopian girl tells me:
There is no reason to fight because we all believe in G-d and that He created us.

Similar to what Zechariah prophesized (14:9)
The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.

I hope you enjoy this piece on faith, unity, and hope for the future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

July 13, 2018

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 

Some may associate the "Love Truck" with human trafficking or something horrible. 

But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:
Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don't make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.

I almost got to wonder what's on the other side of this truck???

Anyway, I know it's more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 

Happy Friday folks!  ;-)

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

July 6, 2018

The Diversity Tapestry

I really liked this sign with the saying by civil rights leader, Maya Angelou:
"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color [or race, or origin, or religion, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability]."

Ok, I added the "or" statements at the end. 

But the point is the same and important.

Discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, and bias are stupid. 

They are a function of ignorance. 

- We learn from diversity. 

- Life is richer with diversity. 

If everything was in monocolor...if life was homogeneous...if there was only one type of everything, then what type of humdrum, monotonous, and boring place would this be?

Value the variety.  Value the diversity.  Value the differences. 

They make us better and stronger than we could ever otherwise be. ;-)

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

September 1, 2017

From My Cats To Yours

Diversity is a very beautiful thing.

Whether you're an orange, red, or green cat.

It doesn't matter--you are a cat!

All cats gotta get along. 

Might does not make a right in any catfight.

But brotherhood of cats does us all good. 

Does every cat need to stand up for it's daily food?

Sure, but there is more than enough catfood and nip to go around. 

I like to be in a great cat sea purring and frolicking all day long.

Live and let live--and love--all cats and dogs and people and others!

And from the great Martin Luther King Jr. 
"We must learn to live together as brothers 
or 
perish together as fools."

Shabbat shalom and happy Labor Day holiday weekend!

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

August 2, 2017

Greatest Museum of Them All

So the greatest museum of them all is scheduled to open in just 3 months!

The Museum of the Bible.

Right here in Washington, D.C.--a few blocks from the Capitol. 

There is a wonderful video on their website

It's 430,000 square feet and 8 stories floors. 

With two 40-feet-high bronze doors that look like the Ten Commandments. 

And an overall tall and narrow shape with a curved roof that reminds me of Noah's Ark.

It encompasses: 

Religion.

History.

Art. 

It all comes together here. 

There is an interesting display of all the different versions of the Bible.

But what it all points to is how similar we all really are. 

The emergence of faith in The One G-d who created us all--his children--and the foundation in the words of His book. 

Yes, we share in common much more than what separates us. 

If we can just see ourselves in His eyes and be the people we can be and were meant to be. 

The museum should be an inspiration to be better, to be brothers, to have peace, to partner and progress to the future.

With our faith sustaining us, and the Bible and our conscience as our guides, we can overcome. ;-)

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

April 2, 2017

Why We Fight?

Well first of all, let me say that I really liked this image on Google the other day. 

Beautiful to see the diversity and brotherhood (and including those with disabilities)!

I had a an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about why people often don't get along. 

She said something that I thought was really astute:

"If there were unlimited resources, then no one would have a reason to fight!"

Think about that a moment...

Everyone feels they don't have enough or someone else has more then them or they are afraid they won't get their share, and so what happens?

Like jealous little children, we fight for the pail and shovel in the sandbox. 

Only as adults, our sandbox is a lot bigger and it involves hate, bigotry, racism and deadly weapons including guns, knives, and even nukes!

So this isn't the Garden of Eden where everyone prances around free and with plenty and nothing to worry about. 

Instead, everyone has to work "by the sweat of your brow," and there are limits to what we have, and there is fighting over who has what.

Yes, truly "greed is the root of all evil."

What we need to learn and internalize is that it's more important how we act towards each other than what we have and that the real gold in life is the good we do and not the plenty we amass. 

Sure we each need enough to be able to survive and excel as human beings, but it's fool's gold that prevents us from seeing each other as the real brothers and sisters we all are. 

If only we had enough--in both perception and reality--then peace could reign among mankind. ;-)

(Source Photo: Google)
Share/Save/Bookmark

March 11, 2017

Purim Prayer

Tonight is Purim and it's a holiday of joy and celebration. 

It commemorates when the Jews where saved from Destruction by the Persian Empire and the evil Haman as told in the Megillah Esther.

So on Purim, we dress up and make fun and it this vein of humor that I post this sign about religions of the world. 

- Taoism:  Sh*t happens.

- Buddhism: If sh*t happens, it really isn't sh*t.

- Hinduism: This sh*t has happened before.

- Islam: If sh*t happens, it is the will of Allah. 

- Catholicism: Sh*t happens because you deserve it.

- Protestantism: Work harder or sh*t will happen.

- Judaism: Why does this sh*t always happen to us?

It's funny how each religion of the world has a perspective on life. 

Are we all so really different?  

Maybe we have more in common than not.

The hope and prayer is that the true evil Hamans out there utterly perish, and that for all good and decent people--whatever your religion and perspective in this world--may we all get along as loving brothers and sisters, and let there be true peace for all of us! ;-)

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

March 5, 2017

Polarized and Not Going To Take It Anymore

So they say about Washington politics, "if you're not on offense, then you're on defense."

In the polarized mood of the nation, this has never been more true. 

The alt-left and alt-right are stronger than ever and pointing fingers and fists at one another. 

Each side, the ultra -liberals and -conservatives are duking it out over who is is going on the offensive today.

Only to be outmaneuvered the very next day and be placed back on the defensive. 

Who communicated with the Russians today?

Who used their private email today?

Who committed perjury and lied under oath today?

Who was offensive and even violent at rallies and protests today? 

And on and on...

You're either on offense or your stuck on defense!

And the more polarized and hateful of each other this nation has become, including in the media, the more the outrageous the accusations and the more alternate facts and fake news. 

But what I learned today is that this doesn't just apply to politics.

Religion is another prime source for discrimination and hate of your fellow man. 

I remember learning that over history, more people have died in wars in the name of religion than for any other reason.

So too today, the "crazy-hard line" ultra religious and the "throw-it-all away" irreligious are just as polarized. 

The religious mock the irreligious as self-haters and atheists and the irreligious make fun of the rightwing religious as abusive and robotic.

Moreover, any disagreement results in insults and loathing over who is morally superior.

Of course, everyone cites sources and authorities to show why their position is the correct one and everyone else is wrong about religion and G-d. 

Attack, defend, attack, defend. 

No wonder nothing is getting constructively done.

No wonder children are confused. 

No wonder those around us laugh at our seeming inability to come together, all as G-d's wonderful creatures. 

Who will be on the attack today and who will be on defense. 

If only we could have a panini instead of all this anger, hate, extremism, and rejectionist bias toward our fellow man. ;-)

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

February 15, 2017

Compromise Preferred


Sometimes we may feel that we are right and that's it.

Our inclination is perhaps to just do what we think and hold the line. 

But if we can take a step back and listen to the concerns of others then we can be the bigger for it. 

That sweet spot of compromise is where we keep both our integrity intact and still find a middle ground that's acceptable to the many. 

Compromise is better than just giving someone the proverbial finger and telling them where to go and how to get there. 

Strength is peace...and peace is strength.

When that doesn't work, then there still always the alternative for good to overcome evil in this world. ;-)

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

February 5, 2017

Kiss One Another Day

So with all the divisiveness and hate in this country (and the world) lately...

I thought we need a day to celebrate, accept, and love each other.

Let's call it: 
National Kiss Day!

Liberals and Democrats - give each other a kiss.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims - give each other a kiss. 

Men and women - give each other a kiss. 

Straight and LGBTQ - give each other a kiss.

Old, middle age, and young - give each other a kiss. 

White, black, yellow, and brown - give each other a kiss. 

Races and nationalities of all kinds - give each other a kiss.

Those with and without illnesses and disabilities - give each other a kiss. 

We are all G-d's children, so it's time to stop the crazy hate and fighting.

Love each other, work together to advance the world for everyone, and give each other a big, fat, heartfelt kiss - and maybe we can make the day into a lifetime!

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

December 24, 2016

Let's Ask The Messiah

Tomorrow is a special day indeed. 

It is both Chanukah and Christmas.

Rabbi Michael Gottlieb mentions a really interesting point in the Wall Street Journal about the connection between Jews and Christians as brothers and sisters. 

Reflecting on the thoughts of philosopher, Martin Buber:

The key difference between Jews and Christians is whether Jesus was the messiah. 


"Christians believe he was here and they are awaiting his return.  
Jews believe that the messiah hasn't yet come.  
His suggestion: let's all pray for the messiah--Christians and Jews alike.   
When he arrives, we'll ask if he's been here before."
With the messiah's arrival, we can all hope to achieve "personal and universal redemption"--to be kinder, humbler, and more human[e]"

We all have an underlying need to believe in a "superhero"--with G-dly powers that can save us from ourselves and from each other, as well as from disease, disaster, and destruction. 

If G-d can speedily send us the messiah to help us with all of this, together Jews and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and everyone can band together to celebrate and welcome G-d's love and redemption of all his children. ;-)

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

August 13, 2016

Shut Up In Shul

So today, I went to synagogue for Shabbat. 

I sat by one of my friends and in between some prayers was catching up with him from the week. 

Okay, I know that I shouldn't be talking (so much) in shule, but it is an important way for me to connect with other Jewish people and community. 

Then all of a sudden, another person says to me without any warning, "Shut up!"

At first, I thought it was a joke, then he says it again with a serious face, and I was so embarrassed. 

And only partially for me, but maybe even more for him.

What type of person uses that type of language to someone and in synagogue. 

He didn't say, can you keep it down or let's focus on our prayers or something human and kind. 

Instead, he talked to me like an animal and I couldn't believe it and tonight is Tisha B'Av, when Hashem twice destroyed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (in part it is said because of hatred of Jew against Jew). 

It reminded me of how I saw some horrible videos on Facebook this week of Chasidim from Neturei Karta and Satmar protesting against Israel and their fellow Jewish people...what a complete sickness to wish evil and destruction against your own brothers and sisters, rather than helping them to build and grow a beautiful state in service to G-d and a light unto nations. 

In synagogue today, while I was silent before this person's horrible words of rebuke, my friend said to him, "This is how you talk?  You say shut up [and in shul]!"

I appreciated that he said something, and the other guy actually apologized then.

I hope Hashem can forgive me for talking in shule and the people who treat each other badly. 

I am sad at how twisted religion has gotten to some, and know this is not the way it is supposed to be. ;-)

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

January 2, 2016

Blessing Each Other

Today in synagogue, we did not have any Kohanim (members of the priestly class) to do the ritual blessing of the people. 

So Rabbi Haim Ovadia did something really creative and beautiful.

He had each of us turn to our neighbor and put our hands over each other's heads and recite the blessing from the Torah:

"May G-d bless and guide you.
May G-d shine his countenance on you and be gracious to you.
May G-d turn his countenance toward you and grant you peace."

The gesture of brotherhood and caring for each other was very, very nice, and I got to meet someone new in synagogue today.

People need people...and we need G-d. 

Somehow it makes everything better. ;-)

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

October 16, 2015

I'm That Jew Too


I'm a Jew, you're a Jew, we're all (pretty) good Jews, and we're proud! ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 13, 2015

Customers Gone Stinkin' Wild

I took this photo yesterday in a Home Goods store. 

This is the aisle for rugs and mats. 

And it is a disaster zone!

I asked the clerk (with the orange apron on) knelling on the floor at the end of the aisle if the customers did this.

And he said, "Oh yes!" and he had to clean it all up. 

My G-d, what gets into people? 

It's one thing to shop--pick things up and put them down--but throwing everything all over and trashing the place--stuff on the floors and literally left dangling off the shelves. 

And forgetting for a moment what this does to other people's shopping experience and the potential loss of sales for the store...

How about we think for a moment about the poor guy working in the store to earn a few bucks for his family who now has to go on and his knees to clean up this pigfest? 

Is this really shopping or for some people perhaps it's is a way of venting their anger by choosing to sh*t on the innocent next guy.

Gee whiz folks--can you have a heart? ;-)

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