Showing posts with label Children of G-d. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children of G-d. Show all posts

January 31, 2019

Respecting Native Americans

So I don't know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.

People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened--usually the truth is somewhere in between. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 

These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let's just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 

We are all G-d's children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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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)
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June 22, 2018

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness

So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!

They don't want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that's the way it is. 

On top of it, they don't even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 

One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 

Finally, finally, finally--the employer gave in--for just a single day!

The person was so happy--one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 

I was so happy for them!

Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 

Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.

There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 

People need a day to rejuvenate.

Everything is nature does.

Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 

There is a natural cycle to things--peaks and valleys--and we need to have some rest and relaxation--to work for something and not for nothing. 

The joy on this person to just have a day off--it was so incredible and touching. 

It spoke light years to me about treating people right--just--humanly--with compassion--and doing good over evil in this world.

What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  

Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 

Care for people--they are people. 

Love people--they are G-d's beautiful children. 

Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to--to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  
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June 3, 2018

The Blessings and The Curses

L-rd, Bless your loving children. 

And do swift justice to the wicked that seek their destruction. 

Bless those that stand guard at your heavenly and earthly gates. 

Curse those evil ones that make a mockery of your lofty kingship. 

Bless the humble and faithful to you and your laws.

Curse those that stand in arrogance and spread hate and vileness before you. 

Bless those that bless you and seek to do good. 

Curse those that curse you and do harm to your creations. 

Bless the righteous people with all that is good. 

Curse the wicked and tear them asunder so that they are utterly destroyed. 

L-rd, please hear your lowly servant and bring the ultimate redemption to your people. 

And verily discomfort, smite and throw to the depths of punishment and exile the cursed wicked. 

None can stand before you in their shame and disgrace. 

Do it for your name's sake; do it for your children's sake, do it for your justice's sake, do it to make things right in your beautiful and perfect world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2018

The 3 P's Do NOT Matter

So I heard Joel Osteen give a great speech. 

He said that it's not any of these things that make a person worthwhile:

1. Possessions
2. Performance
3. Popularity

But rather, it is a person's inner self and soul that determine their value. 

Each person is a son or daughter of G-d.

I agree that our personal worth is a matter of how we act as human beings in choosing right over wrong and good over evil; and it is not based on how much we have, how successful we have become, or how much we are liked. 

In the end, a person must return to their maker alone to answer for their actions.  

You can't take anything with you.

Materialism and vanity all fade away and only your spiritual inner self will pass over and live on.  

So how will you spend your time and attention--chasing vanity of vanities or doing good in all your words and deeds? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 29, 2018

The Evil That Is Child Trafficking



Please, please watch this short 4-minute video. 

It is very impactful!

EVEN...

- If you don't know what's going on with child sex abuse.

- If you are afraid to know.

- If you don't want to believe it.

- If you busy and generally haven't cared in the past. 

Here are some basic statistics:

💥There are at least 2 to 4 million cases of human trafficking annually!

💥It is estimated that 50% are children!

💥It's a $32 billion dollar industry and growing! 

Maybe (hopefully) you believe in G-d

We are G-d's children. 

Children are our children. 

We have a duty to protect children. 

How will you answer the call?

Here's where you can place a call:

- National Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 4-A-CHILD (422-4453)

- National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)

Finally, may Almighty G-d do justice to all the pedophiles and abusers out there. 

May the Earth and Heavens swallow them up and spit them out. 

So that the children, the pure children, may grow up in a better world, a much better world. ;-)
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April 15, 2018

Purpose Is To Help People

I don't get impressed by others easily. 

But one thing that does immediately get my respect and admiration are people who sincerely believe in and are there to help others. 

Of course, there are some professions like soldiers and first responders who put their lives on the line to safeguard others that come to mind. 

But then there are the people we sometimes meet in everyday real life--people that live for doing good for others. 

Yes, not many people are so unselfish and giving, and that is why it is an incredible person who lives this. 

One person that I have had the honor to meet recently is such a person. 

Months ago, in a stressful situation, I watched them get up and get someone a bottle of water who was choked up and just needed a sip of relief. 

Then again, I saw that whenever they were asked a question or for some assistance, they almost immediately dropped whatever they were doing--and without any resentment--to do whatever they can to help, anytime, anyplace. 

When I heard them talk recently about their philosophy on what life is all about--they confirmed exactly as I had been seeing, they said:

"I want to help people!"

And they went on to explain how that is the greatest job we can do--whatever our role is--simply, to help others.

Someone doesn't have to be wounded or dying on the battlefield or in urban warfare to merit that help. 

Just being another human being with a heart and soul--that itself is enough to jump to their aid and help, help, help. 

To me, this person really encapsulates the essence of what life is all about. 

It's not I, I, I.

It's about what I can do for others.

We were created by the Almighty to learn to live beyond our meager selves and serve the greater good, our Creator and his children.

All I can say is that these people who live and breath this loving, caring, and giving lifestyle are totally awesome to me and my personal role model and heroes. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 16, 2018

Homeless DC

So aside from all the Washington, D.C. weighty monuments to our esteemed values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.

And aside from all the prestigious institutions and people of great power that formulate the policies and rules and keep us abiding by them. 

This is what I see in D.C. 

The plight of the poor, homeless, and downtrodden. 

Those that have fallen by the wayside.

People who are down on their luck.

Human beings--that's right human beings--that need and deserve help or even just a chance.

Why does anyone have to live--if you can even call this living--like this a couple of blocks from the White House. 

I know there are people all over the world who are hungry, homeless, sick, and abused.

Yet, nowhere is this more stark an example than in the U.S.A where there is such an enormous divergence between "the haves" and "the have nots" and where our values are supposedly bound up with equality, human rights, charity, and kindness.

Yes, we are supposed to be equal in treatment and in opportunity, but we all know that is not really the case. 

Sure, some work hard and others are perhaps lucky/blessed, but then are those that are born with a "silver spoon in their mouths" and excel through a tight weave of corruption, narcissism, nepotism, and abuse.

Yet a real chance for everyone, a living wage, and basic dignity and respect should be afforded to all.

Money and power is ephemeral.  

Those with it, that abuse it, shall see it pass between their fingers ever trying to clutch unto it with dear life. 

Only the way we treat others will last in this world and in the world after. 

Everything goes around and comes around. 

This is the cycle of life and the lot of those who abuse their good fortune as well as those that harness it. 

G-d will judge with His mighty hand and bring to bear the deeds and intentions of those that mock His holy will. 

Because His children lay in rags and heaps, while others dance their folly jig. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2018

Nothing Personal

There's this funny line that some managers use with their employees.

It's when they harshly criticize, pick on, or even bully their hard working and good people.  

What do they say when they do it:
"It's nothing personal."

Ha, that's sort of funny, but really it's sad. 

I asked an executive colleague about this and this is what they profoundly said:
"It's my favorite line when the boss says it's nothing personal. Of course it's personal. Is there anyone else in the room!"

When people misuse/abuse their power to hurt others whether at work or even in other situations like with small children or anyone else in a subordinate position:

- That's not business.

- That's not professional.

- That's not being a good human being.

People are not punching bags because someone else is having a bad day. 

We need to rise above the occasion and be better than that. 

It's better to be humane, compassionate, and emotionally intelligent. 

And not just because someday, we are all in that position where someone bigger is facing off against us.

But rather we need to behave kindly to others, because they too are G-d's children and our brothers and sisters, and it is the absolutely the right way to behave--whether it's business or personal. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 26, 2017

@The Great Kotel in Jerusalem


So we made it to the Kotel in Jerusalem yesterday.

What an amazing experience.

It's been too many years.

Definitely, one of the top moments of my life.

As we entered the old city and walked through the narrow ways toward the Western Wall of the Temple, my heart and breathing was racing and I could feel the spiritualness getting closer and closer. 

When we finally arrived at the Holy Wall, I was just completely overwhelmed and saying over and over, OMG!

We took some photos, and then immediately when to pray at the wall. 

I think I got lost in prayer and didn't realize how long I had been standing and clutching the Holy Wall of G-d's ancient Temple. 

I truly believe that our prayers ascend to Heaven at this special spot of G-d's earthly abode. 

I wanted to fall to my knees, but stopped myself repeatedly as this is not generally the Jewish custom. 

But in my mind, my body, and soul was prostrated completely before G-d Almighty.

I put myself in His hands.

We can only do our best, and the rest is all in His control.

We can try to make the best decisions we can, but the real guidance in life comes from Him and His will for us. 

We learned in Yeshiva, not to ask in prayer for specific things in life to happen for us, but rather to ask G-d to do what is right in His eternal mind for us. 

This is right...submit to the King of Kings and let Him show us the way for us.

What are the right words to say to G-d?

At the end, thank you and please continue to help us, your children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2017

Pennies From Heaven

So I ran into this lady in downtown Washington, D.C.

She posed for the picture and made sure to line up the top and the bottom posters to get it just right

It says:
"Not One Penny In Tax Cuts For The Rich"

Makes intuitive sense doesn't it: the rich already are blessed with...riches!

Any more pennies in their war chest is sort of a drop in the billionaire bucket. 

With tax reform is on the table now...we need tax relief for the middle class and to grow the economy. 

The rich really do not need to get any richer.

Especially with a national debt over $20 trillion already--and not including future entitlement obligations that exceed projected revenue for social security and medicare, which bring the debt in excess of $70 trillion!). 

The gamble with this whole tax reform plan is that the $1.5 trillion or so in proposed tax cuts over 10 years translates into a much bigger economic expansion that makes up for that revenue loss to the government and more. 

If not, well then Uncle Sam bet wrong and our annual deficit gets bigger and bigger (already $666 billion in FY 2017).

Tax cuts for the rich today and estate tax cuts to pass wealth between generations--when they impact the top 1% are ridiculously targeted to those who really don't need it, and many of the decent ones, like Warren Buffet, don't even want it

Let's have a heart and help the people that really need the help--let's narrow the growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and move to eliminate the class system that elevates one child of G-d over another. 

- While some live in McMansions, others are homeless.

- While some eat steak and drink expensive bottles of wine every night, others go hungry and thirsty.

- While some wear fancy designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and different outfits every day, others don't have a clean shirt on their back. 

It's nice to think that some "deserve it" more than others, but we also have to think who really needs it more. 

And if the pennies do ultimately come from Heaven (as all blessings do), then let us distribute these with compassion and lovingkindness as we know our Creator would want us to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2017

Treating The Homeless With Dignity

I love this organization, Think Dignity.

They do hands-on advocacy and activism to help the homeless. 

From providing them storage lockers, bathrooms, showers, haircuts/shaves, clothing boutique, hygiene products (e.g. tampons etc.), drinking water, legal services, and more.
While others looks away, they jump in to actually do something real. 

They actually bring mobile showers to them!

The video show on the left, one person living a regular life with a home, job, and everything they need, and on the right, another person down on their luck, homeless and needy.

Both are G-d's creatures--one just needs a fresh start!

At the end of the video, it says:

Don't Look Away.
Think Love.
Think Hope.
Think Strength.
Think Worth.
Think Dignity. 
I hope you are truly moved in the same way that I am by this organization and their beautiful mission and meaningful outreach activities. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 7, 2017

The CEO and The Janitor

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague's father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:
"Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!"

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:
"The CEO's job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn't have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn't have a job and salary.

Then he'd turn to the CEO and  explain:
The Janitor's job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn't have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn't be able to come to work ever day."

It's really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings--in the image of G-d--and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 21, 2017

Naked Sitting

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

This "Big Man" is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.

Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.

In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 

What are we to do when we give in to weakness?

We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.

But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 
"Liebe Gott sieht alles" 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don't really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won't be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 10, 2016

Hate, Discrimination, and Violence...But We're One

As we live day-to-day in near endless and escalating cycles of hate, discrimination and violence along national, religious, racial, gender and other divides...

It is nice and refreshing to see someone wearing a t-shirt this morning that says:

"One World, One Dream"

I don't know what the Asian characters above it say...but hopefully, it's more hopefullness!

Unfortunately, without a common enemy--whether disasters, plague or alien invasion--what divides us normally seems stronger than what holds us together.

Hence, routine murders, maimings, abductions, rapes, enslavement, and harrassment of one neighbor against the other. 

We behave like little children fighting for the toys in the sandbox except with consequences that can elevate all the way to genocide or WMD. 

As we squabble with each other, perhaps there are moments when we can have the self-awareness and strength of character to actually look in the mirror with some shame for how low we'll stoop to get our share in a world of divine comedy. 

Wouldn't it be nice for humanity to change ways and instead have compassion on each other (children of G-d), share the toys, and end the miserable hate. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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