Showing posts with label Do Good. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Do Good. Show all posts

June 16, 2019

Never Alone Or Meaningless

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Never Alone or Meaningless."
  • We are never alone, because G-d is always right there with us, and in us!
  • And what we do is never meaningless, because everything we do affects the G-dliness of everything else--everything and everyone are wholly intertwined and connected.
Instead of feeling alone, aimless, and sad, we can delight in our oneness with G-d and the cosmos and in knowing the everything we do can have a positive impact on everything else.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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June 10, 2019

Why Only Two, Daddy?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Why Only Two Daddy?"
The father goes on to explain that these are the commandments that G-d gave to the Jews (when they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt). He enumerates just two examples: keeping the Shabbat and honoring your mother and father. The son asks, 'What are the other commandments?' The father hesitates either not knowing any of the other commandments or simply unable to remember any more of them on the spot. And all of a sudden, the little boy starts wailing to his father: 'Daddy, why do you know only two, why?'

Knowing the Torah and commandments is not only for ourselves to do what's rights, but also to pass on the torch to the next generation. It's not always easy to be good examples, but it's the challenge we all face. ;-)



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 17, 2019

Great Spider-Man

Love this painting of Spider-Man.

Like so many things, this superhero is better in colors (and not just red)!

He's also got two spiders on his chest, and as we know, two are better than one. 

I also appreciate how he stares down evil with the tilt of the head and those over-sized eyes. 

There is still plenty of evil in this world, and we need every superhero we can find to vanquish it!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2019

Solving Computer Problems

Funny T-Shirt on solving computer problems:

Does it work?

Did you screw with it?

Does anyone know?

Can you blame anyone else?

This little flowchart seems to capture so many issues in the office like:

- Accountability

- Problem-solving

- Doing the right thing

Oh, maybe that's a different flowchart. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 27, 2018

Happy Holidays!

I just had to share this photo. 

Took this in South Florida this week. 

These two guys from Sweden sitting at the pool wearing these Christmas tree hats. 

This was just too great to pass up. 

As I took the photo, one guy gave me the thumbs up and this was just perfect. 

I don't know about you, but they cheered me up even when it seems that the world is otherwise going crazy--in so many ways.

- Politics
- Divisiveness
- Hate
- Fighting
- Injustices
- Suffering

But at the end of the day, it's about the people--and G-d gives us the power to do good and make happy (or vice versa). 

This one made me happy!  ;-)

(Source Photo: 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 20, 2018

How Does It feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.

He said:
The 360 degree view is good, but it get's windy at times!

I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 

Yes, it's great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 

But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 

At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 

Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 

My father used to tell me his philosophy:
Better a little less, but you know what you have. 

There is definitely wisdom in those words. 

Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 

It is great to have the opportunity to lead.

It's also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 

What's important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 

So how does it feel at the top--sure, it's a nice view, but it can get very windy too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2018

Striving To Be Good Enough (This Time Around)

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, "When Are We Good Enough?"
I too believe strongly in reincarnation. I think that is partially what G-d means by doing justice in this world. If you bomb out in life and don't fulfill your true potential than G-d sends you back for another try.  And this can happen as many times as it takes to get it right!

I hope I am getting it right in my life this time around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2018

Shooting At You

As I heard recently in a movie:

"When someone is shooting at you, you know their intentions."

Sounds simple right?

But often the person throwing shots your way may be couching their real intentions and telling you:

"Ah, it's nothing."

Some may try and rip you off, and tell you: 

"It's just business!"

Others punching you like a punching bag tell you:

"You need to get a thicker skin!"

People f*cking with your head ask you:

"Aren't you being a little paranoid?"

Yet others blame the victim calling you out for any sign of weakness"

"Why are you so pathetic? Crybaby!"

The truth of the matter is when people shoot you, take potshots at you, or otherwise physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse you, there is usually some evil sleight of hand and tongue at play.

People that are good people--don't abuse you!

There is no guise or beguiling when people are being truthful and when they truly care about other people. 

When they shoot at you, yes you know their intentions.

Stop pretending they didn't mean it. Stop accepting empty promises that they won't do it again. Stop listening to hollow refrains of sorry. 

People can be selfish and evil beasts that rip others apart because they will benefit from it or simply because they can or want to.

- Pain and suffering of other human beings is what they relish and feed on like blood is to a vampire. 

Good people--do good to others. 

- They want to give to others and see others flourish--they know G-d and understand the real purpose of life. 

When they shoot you, you know their intentions. 

Sure you can shoot back and sometimes you have no choice, but the best way to win is to be that good person.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2018

Reflections B4 Yom Kippur


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Reflections Before Yom Kippur."

"I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror..."

Hope you enjoy this true story and the parable for living our spiritual lives and not just reach for the ego image in the mirror.

May you be sealed for another year in the book of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2018

Living Life Vicariously

So the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.  Go DC!

This little figurine made a debut on the counter of the concierge late last week for us to cheer them on!

You can ring the bell for help and while your waiting, get excited about the game. 

While these types of sports are not my thing per se, I do like watching a good Rocky movie or action flick where the good guys beat the sh*t out of the bad guys.

Whether you'watching your favorite sports team, your Hollywood dream stars, or even an occasional do (something) good politician, we are living vicariously through them. 

It's not our success we are seeing, but somehow we temporarily suspend our own selves and live through others (their eyes, their actions) and we partake just for a second of what it's like to be them winning or doing something really significant in life. 

We all can't be superstars in the center ring duking it out (all the time) and so we take a step back to see others that we relate to face up to the challenge, fight and hopefully win big. 

We don't walk away with the trophy, prize money, or fame, but we congratulate ourselves somehow for being on the winning team. 

Heck, I didn't do anything but have faith, go along for the ride, and then take pleasure in seeing my guy(s) win. 

Yet, from the humdrumness of perhaps some of our own everyday lives, we fantasize and garner the courage and strength to do our own great things. 

We can't be the strongest, smartest, most good-looking, personable, and talented in the world, but we can see parts of ourselves in others and we can try to model the best of them in ourselves and leverage what we got going on!

I don't really like spending a lot of precious time living like this through others--I don't mind getting inspiration when I see something amazing, but really I just want to try my hardest to be the best that I can be. ;-)

(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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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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April 2, 2018

The Heart and Soul Of The Matter

So I had a beautiful conversation with an older gentleman who works in a menial job for minimum wage for most of his life. 

But this person was shinning and smiling ear-to-ear. 

What happened, he got offered a job to work in a lovely school as their cook. 

He's been doing this as a special treat for the students once a year, and they decided to bring him on to do this full time. 

He pulled out his phone and proudly showed me a picture of himself in the classroom surrounded by all the children.  He was in an orange sweater and stood out in the middle of all of them and with a smile that lit up the entire room. 

He told me how the children thought of him as a celebrity chef and the teacher even organized autographs by him for the children.

His whole life, he questioned his worth, and now he felt recognized, appreciated, and loved. 

I told him that I thought he was indeed quite a special person. 

He said to me, you may have a talent or be special, but you have to recognize it--and he repeated aloud again at least three times emphasizing more and more on RECOGNIZE it. 

Surely, after so many years, only now was he being recognized and more so, recognizing it himself. 

Apparently, someone who worked in the school was also a renown food critic, and she had nothing but praises to sing of him. 

Talking with him, I felt my eyes being opened. 

Everyone can do good with their lives and have worth. 

We have to recognize it in ourselves. 

We need to just be given an opportunity to show it and share it. 

It doesn't matter what you are or earn.

It matters where your heart is.

For many, they earn gazillions, but their heart is a heart of stone. 

For others, they may earn minimum wage, but their heart is a heart of gold. 

It's not the money, it's not the power, it's not the prestige...it's the heart and soul of the matter. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 29, 2018

Light Drives Out Darkness

In the words of the great Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"Darkness can't drive out darkness.
Only Light can do that."
There is so much darkness in certain people. 

So full of hate, violence, and corruption. 

They use and abuse others for their selfish aims. 

Only faith and giving can drive out selfishness!

The other day at work, I briefly stopped over to help a colleague with something (I thought it was pretty minor, honestly). 

The next thing I know, another colleague who observed me, leaves--literally--a gold star on my desk. 

I had to laugh to myself--isn't this what we do with kids. 

And then I thought to myself--Wow! People at any age can be recognized for just being decent human beings with one another.

Rather than just recognize the latest work accomplishments, isn't it truly something to recognize helping others. 

Being good people is the essence of what life is all about. 

I'm glad that there are still people in the world that know this. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2018

If G-d Is With Me

I love this photo and caption that I saw on Facebook. 

Basically it translates from Hebrew as:
"If G-d is with me
Who can stand against me."

And it's a picture of someone walking through the split sea like in the exodus from Egypt. 

G-d can truly make miracles. 

What G-d decrees no man can stand against it. 

We need to merit G-d's standing with us. 

You have to do right, speak right, and have the right intentions. 

Only G-d can judge whether we are there!

But how amazing things can be for us if we look to the Heavens and merit G-d being with us.

Then no man can stand against us! ;-)

(Source photo: Tali-Cohen Saban)
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January 20, 2018

Fulfilling Dying Children's Wishes



I am just so impressed with this charity...the Make A Wish Foundation

They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness--and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!

What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 

Whether it's letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)--who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation--to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 

Seeing the joy on the faces of these children--despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations--seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 

I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back--and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 

Again, there are truly good people out there--who don't just live for themselves--but who think about and give generously to others. 

Life is not just about "I" but about all the people we can reach and uplift.

Cena isn't just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 

And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2018

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.

Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.

And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.

So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 

After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 

And so I went back and did just that. 

I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.

They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 

I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 

In this case, listening better and empathizing more--it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it's right! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 25, 2017

I Drive The Tractor

Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.

He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land--he drove a tractor!

Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.

Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe--and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life--will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.

Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:
"You will be a tractor driver"

The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.

Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.

Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:
"You will drive a tractor!"

Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.

But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.

The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.

The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.

But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.

I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family--be a good husband, father, and prior a good son--and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.

It's okay that I'm not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach--that's not me--although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.

I am me--and I am okay with me.

I don't have to be someone else--anyone else.

I can do good being me--and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.

Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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