Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts

March 6, 2019

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 

This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 

The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 

As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 

While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 

When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor--and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold--shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  

Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population--we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 

Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2019

Not Caring or Worse

It's interesting...

There are a lot of good people out there, but there are probably more in your orbit that simply don't care or worse. 

You can have this problem or that. 

If they even "give you the time of day," people will nod, tell you how sorry they are, and probably relate some of their own misery.

The good people try to see if and how they may be able to help. 

The others really don't want to know, certainly don't care, and just see you as baggage in the way. 

But everyone has their problems!  

If only people could look with compassion on each other. 

We all struggle with our demons in this world.  

Of course, we can't let troubles get in the way of our doing what we need to do. 

But people can make all the difference in just providing a compassionate ear and being willing to open themselves up to understanding others and helping each other or making reasonable accommodations so people can help themselves. 

Listen, we all have our day--wouldn't it be nice to be that person who is kind and generous to others and have others treat us that way too. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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November 23, 2018

Carlos Ghosn - Success and Failure


My thoughts on Carlos Ghosn--the head of Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault.

What can we learn from his rise to power and his fall from grace?

Basically...be a real leader and not a schmuck!

Be modest.  Be humble.  Give to others.  Do Good!  ;-)
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November 3, 2018

Appreciate The Good

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Seeing the Good in Life."
After synagogue services today, we sat at the Kiddish with a lovely couple, and the lady took the opportunity to go around the table and ask each person: “What good thing happened to you this week?” I really appreciated the idea of focusing on the good and the miracles we live through every day rather than the bad things. It was interesting though that people seemed to have trouble saying something really positive from their week. In truth, they seemed more enveloped in the problems of the times rather than the opportunities that each day brings.
But truly, there are so many good things that we can appreciate each and every day, and that inspires faith and hope for many more good things to come. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2018

At The Border: Immigration Or War

So it's interesting how this whole immigration crisis is playing out in real life and simultaneously on TV. 

In real life, we have a caravan of thousands of people marching from Central America (Honduras and Guatemala) to the U.S. border seeking asylum, mostly for economic reasons. 

On TV, we have the Last Ship Season 5, where South and Central America are at war with the U.S., "no longer willing to sit at the children's table of international politics," and they are coming to the U.S. to fight.

In the U.S. today, there are over 40 million people that were born in another country.  Of these, there are over 12 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. (55% from Mexico), and we know that we need immigration reform.  

In the truest sense, we are almost all of us immigrants to this country, with ourselves or our families coming over at one time or another, and we are grateful for the generosity and open doors that allowed us to come here and make a good life.

Of course, we want to pay it forward and give others the same asylum and opportunity that we had and which they as human beings deserve. 

Yet, the country continues to debate the mix of compassion and giving to the oppressed and needy versus the merit principles for bringing in needed skills, talents, and investment, and how many is the "right" number to allow in at any one time.

In real life, we are beefing up border agents, building a wall, and calling in the military to halt the illegal flow of immigrants, so that we can channel immigrates through a process and vetting that leads to legal and safe immigration to this country

On TV, we are fighting in the air, on land, and at sea an alliance of countries from the south and central that want to take over the U.S., and we are also holding our own and holding them back.

In both cases, we need to have and maintain borders to be a sovereign country, to protect our country, and to ensure that caravans of illegal immigrants or foreign troops are not crossing the border and doing harm. 

It's high time for true immigration reform that is compassionate yet principled, but overrunning the border isn't an option that is practical or fair.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2018

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 

I hate going to the hospital--who doesn't?

But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 

I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 

This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 

Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:
This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  

Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we'll saw your leg off!

I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor--I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.

He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn't want to get caught under their knife. 

So that's certainly some apprehension going in to this. 

The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 

But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn't have any, so the lady asks for "proof of homelessness."

I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.

They wouldn't do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  

I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 

While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don't get that need it, and pray that we as a "caring society" will do better. 

Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 26, 2018

A Window and A Mirror

Thought this was a wonderful story on our perspectives in life. 

And how money can corrupt our vision of what is truly important. 

This is the story:

A rich man became ill. 

He looked out the window and saw his old friend who was a poor man. 

The rich, sick man invited the poor man, his friend into his house.

After talking awhile, the rich man asked the poor man to tell him what he sees. 

The poor man told the rich man to go over to the window and asked:
What do you see?

The rich man said:
I see men, women and children in the street. 

Then the poor man took the rich man over the mirror and asked him:
Now what do you see?

The rich man taken aback for a moment, said:
I see myself.

The poor man says:
Ah, that is the difference. Both the window and the mirror are both made out of glass. But when you look into them, you see different things. The window is just plain glass.  But the mirror is glass covered in silver. When we look through just the glass, we see others!  But when we look through the glass tainted with a coating of silver (i.e. money), we only see ourselves.

Wow! Think about it a moment. Shabbat Shalom!  ;-)

(Story adapted from Bishvil Ha-Ivrit)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 25, 2018

It's Not Really Yours

You can't live without money, but you can't just live for money. 

Didn't someone say, "Money is the root of all evil."

Of course, it's not money itself that is bad, but the greed for it, and the use and hoarding of it for selfish purposes. 

On this topic, my daughter sent me this interesting story:
One business tycoon in China passed away. 
His widow, was left with $1.9 billion in the bank, and married his chauffeur.
His chauffeur said: "All the while, I thought I was working for my boss... it is only now, that I realize that my boss was all the time, working for me!"
We can have all the money in the world, but it's never really ours. 

It all belongs to G-d, as does our entire life. 

He decides what we have or don't have (any longer). 

We need to realize that life is ephemeral and all material things are given to us just for the time being. 

We should be generous with whatever bounty that G-d has given to us, because in the end that is all that is truly lasting. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 26, 2018

What's It's Like To Be A Bag

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

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

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

Bag's life

This is what a crying creased up bag looks like. 

Maybe even inanimate objects have feelings too. 

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

Bye bye baggy. ;-)

(Source Drawing: Itzchak Ochayon)
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August 17, 2018

What Is Life?

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

A man died.

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

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

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

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

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

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

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

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

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

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

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

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

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

Man: I never owned anything?

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

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

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d's will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.


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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 2, 2018

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 

Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 

She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 

So once a month she treats them for breakfast!

As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 

She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 

I thought to myself, WOW!--what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  

It's not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 

I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 20, 2018

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 

Hence, the term anger management!

The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person's real character: 

- Koso, Kiso, and Ka'aso.

From Aramaic to English it translates as:

- Cup, Purse, and Anger. 

In other words...

Cup--When a person "drinks," this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, "When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!" Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 

Purse--This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  

Anger--When a person is angry, this is often when their "true colors" show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent--do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when "under the gun."  

Focusing on the anger piece...

It's easy to get angry, and it's also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you're really angry. 

Maybe people can't always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don't even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.

In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 

Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 

Thoughts on this...

Take a breath, slow down. 

Evaluate what's really going on

Think about whether it's truly the end of the world or not. 

Assess the options for coping with it. 

Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 

If necessary, seek help from others.

Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 

And where not, cope, cope, cope--and survive another day!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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)
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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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May 9, 2018

Two Beautiful Hearts

So a very nice elderly lady we know from synagogue took a bad fall and broke her leg really badly...like in half.

She put up on Facebook that she had undergone surgery, had a metal rod and plate inserted in her leg, and was recovering in the hospital--and she wanted visitors. 

My wife saw the message on Facebook, and we ran over to the hospital to see how she was and spend some time with her to try and cheer her up. 

Considering how badly she had been hurt, she was actually in amazingly good spirits. 

A couple of her neighbors were there in the hospital visiting her as well. 

One of them had actually heard her screams from the backyard where she had fallen by her pond and had helped keep her from going into shock, cradled her head in her lap, and called for rescue services.

When I commented how amazing she was and that she was a real hero pointing to the heart--she said it was really nothing, and went on to say"
I have two hearts!

And she pointed to one on the left and one on the right. 

I thought to myself that really we should all have two hearts like that to care and to give to others. 

One heart is us alone. 

Two hearts are when we join with others. 

"Two hearts that beat as one"--one for caring and one for giving. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 4, 2018

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 

It's all about:
Leadership With Heart

That means understanding that workers are human beings. 

Yes, they should act as professionals.

But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.

Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 

Life happens.

And it's not always pleasant. 

Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 

Therefore, good leaders, real leaders...lead with heart. 

They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 

Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 

Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 

Who do you want to follow into the future?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 28, 2018

Breaking The Cycle Of Trauma

Thought these are some beautiful sentiments about breaking the cycle of trauma in our lives: 
"Hurt people hurt people. 
That's how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation after generation. 
Break the chain today. 
Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. 
Greet grimaces with smiles. 
Forgive and forget about finding fault. 
Love is the weapon of the future."
- Yehuda Berg, The Kabbalah Center

This is powerful--it should only be that we can have a complete healing, betterment, and a renewal of peace for all. 

One other thing that I heard that was so plain and simple, yet so smart was that:
Our job in this world is to do the most good that we can do!

Thank you to Minna Blumenthal for sharing all this.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 3, 2017

Crumbs Are For The Birds, Not The Workers

Since the days of slavery, workers have had very little in terms of rights or protections. 

The rich and powerful capitalist employers hold all the cards.

Like this poster says:
"Which Shall It Be?
Duke: 'If you demand your rights, no more crumbs from my table.'
Working Man: 'Give me my rights and keep your crumbs.'"
The capitalist owners enjoy being able to give "trickle-down economics" to the average working man. 

Basically, it's just crumbs from the rich man's table. 

And if you don't like it, and you want rights, protections, and more...tough luck, and no more crumbs for you!

But the little guy who breaks his back to earn his daily bread, wants his dignity and respect more than the crumbs from the "capitalist pig" taking advantage of him.

Trickle-down is bullshit!

Crumbs aren't going to raise the standard of living for the working class. 

We need living wages, social and income equality, and workers rights and protections to keep the little guy from being bulldozed by the rich and powerful. 

Certainly, there are many rich and powerful people that are good and generous, but not everyone is that that way. 

And we can't have mistreatment of people by those wielding a whip over them.

Yes, workers need to perform and conduct themselves professionally--that is their job.

But workers shouldn't be taken advantage of with poor wages, little to no benefits, and miserable working conditions (including bullying, harassment, and hostile work environments). 

Remember that in life tables can get turned and the rich and powerful can become the poor and the weak.  

Therefore, pay and treat your workers as you would want to be paid and treated. 

No one is so big as to be untouchable by G-d. 

Money and power will not save anyone from illness, accidents, disasters, and misfortune.

The only thing that does save people is good deeds, kind words, compassion, faith, and prayer. 

Crumbs are for the birds, dignity and respect are for the people!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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