Showing posts with label Holy Land. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holy Land. Show all posts

February 10, 2020

Israel 2020: Day 1

So great today to be back in the Holy Land of Israel. 

Every time we come, we can literally see how the country has matured and built up even more since just the short time before. 

Of course, we arrived with a little jet lag but still managed to take a nice walk around the bustling streets of Tel Aviv. 

The restaurants, cafes, shops, theaters, and culture here is awesome. 

I guess the toughest thing is deciding what we want to do each day, but that is all part of the adventure. 

See you tomorrow! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2019

MERKAVA IV TANK


Short and sweet...

I l-o-v-e this incredible tank.

The Merkava IV!

It blows all the others away.  ;-)
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April 11, 2019

Israel 4th Nation To Reach the Moon Surface - Mazel Tov!


What an unbelievable achievement for Israel. 

Even without a soft landing, Israel is the 4th country in the world to reach the moon surface.

The Moon Club of Just Four:
USA - The Most Powerful
Russia - The Largest by Landmass
China - The Largest by Number of People
Israel - The Holy Land!

Mazel Tov on this truly great accomplishment.

We are all so proud of you!  ;-)
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April 10, 2019

Cats of Israel





Just wanted to share these photos of some lovely cats from Israel.

There are so many cats just roaming the streets, shops, gardens, and alleyways.

These don't run from people, but are part of the landscape itself.

Almost like a soul in each one that is living a peaceful life anew in the Holy Land. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 14, 2018

Dreaming of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Dream of Zion."
To flourish in the land of milk and honey.
To celebrate the Shabbat and holidays as in the days of old.
To revere the bravery and heroism of the defenders of Israel.
To live and worship as a Jew without discrimination, racism, and hatred.
To fulfill the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Hope you enjoy and we can all one day live the dream! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 12, 2018

Aliyah: To Go Up

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, The Aliyah Connection.
"As Jewish people yet around the globe plan for their futures, they need to consider carefully “the place that G-d has chosen” and where they and their families will be at the fateful conclusion of the Redemption and the arrival of Mashiach. Perhaps, while the road to Jerusalem requires our dedication and hard work, the choice is not that difficult as the Land of Israel flourishes and the people of Israel yet lives–Eretz and Am Israel Chai!"

Hope you enjoy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Ochayon) 
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July 22, 2018

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 

The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 

The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 

I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 

I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city--the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart--and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, and introspection for the Jewish people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 21, 2018

Happy 70th Birthday to Israel

What a beautiful Shabbat today at Magen David Synagogue celebrating the 70th Birthday of the State of Israel. 

Prayers, blessings, song, waving flags, and a lovely Kiddish feast following services. 

Immediately after the genocidal Holocaust that exterminated six million Jews - 1 out of every 3 in the entire world - the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948. 

With thriving cities, arts and culture, flourishing farming, science and innovation, Holy religious sites, a rich history everywhere, and a formidable military. 

There is so much to be proud of and to thank G-d for.

Oh G-d, we praise you in that you have returned your children to Zion as you promised from Biblical times and breathed fresh life into their dry bones. 

Only you can revive an entire people and a land.

Only you can create a blooming Garden of Eden from barren desert. 

Only you can make a strong and just a nation from one that once was carted away of crowded train cars to the death camps and crematoria 

Throughout 2,000 years of exile, we remembered your promise and we prayed for redemption, and you showered your gracious mercy on us and brought us back on wings of eagles. 

For 70 years now, nations have risen up against Israel to try to destroy it, but only you have saved it through the brave arms of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 

Praise to G-d Almighty.  Praise be to G-d in Heaven and on Earth. Praise be the creator and sustainer.  

We honor you through keeping your Holy Torah commandments and remembering that you Hashem, are our G-d and you are One. 

It is our job to live a life of integrity, to do good whatever we do and wherever we go, as your children and as a light along with America unto the other nations. 

As we sang in the Holocaust, "I believe with a full faith in the coming of the Messiah, and thou he tarries, I will never-the-less wait."

The waiting was over 70-years ago, and we are living in the age of redemption. 

Miracles abound and the world progresses scientifically and technologically and with a spirit of doing good and justice. 

The nation of Israel lives!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 18, 2018

Beautiful Israel Dance Festival DC 2018







 (Source Videos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2018

Birthday of Trees




Today is the holiday of Tu Bishvat.

That is the Birthday for (fruit) Trees!

It's when Jewish people celebrate and plant trees around the world and especially in the Holy Land. 

Last night, we celebrated with Chabad Israeli Center of Rockville where they had not only of the "7 Fruits" of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates), but they also had some very nice wine and cheese, delicious bourekas, and pastries. 

We learned about the biblical meaning of the "7 Species of Fruits" and the flourishing of the land of Israel, celebrated with music and song, and played a trivia game with our smartphones using a cool new gaming and learning application, called Kahoot

A special thank you to Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Beitsh and to Samy Ymar for sponsoring the event.

Overall, a beautiful evening to meet new people and celebrate a very happy birthday to the beautiful trees and mother nature that G-d has so benevolently bestowed on us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 9, 2018

Cat Nap

What a great place to take a cat nap!

So many gorgeous cats in Israel. 

They don't run away either. 

So friendly and happy. 

Sort of got a feeling like they were old souls inhabiting these cats. 

Old souls are very often wise souls.

Cute and wise cats.  

Enjoy!

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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January 8, 2018

Yearning For Redemption


Just an impression from my recent trip to Israel. 

There is such a yearning for people to do good and to merit the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) towards the ultimate redemption for mankind. 

It's on every street corner and light post.  

Whether it's eyes gazed on the righteousness of Rabbi Nachman or The Rebbe--as we used to sing as kids in NCSY:
"We want Mashiach now!"

Whether Mashiach is an actual person or a spiritual revelation in the world leading to redemption--it represents an unprecedented enlightenment, holiness and a spiritual healing, and love and peace for mankind. 

While we strive to earn our daily bread, it's nice to have a part of us that also seeks a greater good and achieving betterment for the world. 

Any small or big things we can do in our lives to contribute to Tikkun Olam ("fixing the world"), it's purposeful, hopeful, and uplifting to try. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 21, 2017

Welcome To Israel Henna Party

So we arrived in Israel for our daughter's wedding. 

It was amazing to me to see how the Holy Land has so developed from when I was here last over 25-years ago.

It is a thriving nation in every sense of the word. 

Just as G-d has promised, the land and it's people have blossomed under His blessings.

I am grateful to G-d for helping me to reach this wonderful and happy time. 

Tonight, we had a wonderful dinner with the in-laws and there was a henna ceremony as well--for good luck (Mazel Tov)!



Little did I know, I thought this bowl of henna was chocolate fudge and part of dessert--good thing that I didn't take a staining bite out of that

How would that have looked in the wedding pictures? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 19, 2017

Between A Liberal Rock and A Conservative Hard Place

On the alt-liberal left--a "radical Islamist" leaning and violent Antifa. 

On the ultra-conservative right--Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists.

And in the middle (regardless of political beliefs)--good people of faith and integrity with seemingly nowhere to turn.
________

{And I don't know what this is, but this is what I am hearing...}

Behold and fear a great fear.

Evil and violence will soon be upon you.

The forces of crushing hate will collide and spread throughout the face of the earth.

And the people will suffer a very great suffering.

And they will call out to the L-rd, and they will repent from their misguided wayward ways.

And the L-rd will see their judgement and he will cause a great stirring in man.

Great weapons will be released and a very great cleansing of man's hearts will occur.

I say to you redemption is upon you.

Redemption first by great pain and suffering, and then by great joy and exaltation.

And peace and morality will be restored on Earth.

Here this and hear it well, the time is short and good people must ready.

Gather yourselves together and prepare for the end of days and the beginning of days.

Those that are good and gathered will see peace and survive the onslaught before my mercy while many others will perish.

{Then the streaming tapers off...}
________

I don't understand the call for a gathering--aren't we safer perhaps spread out?  

Perhaps the gathering refers to G-d's promise to gather His people from the four corners of the Earth.

- And they will walk the sacred middle ground through the Red Sea to the promised Holy Land. 

The liberal left and conservative right have been overtaken by violent nutty extremists and radicals.

They have "split" from normal thinking and doing the correct thing--they have gone over the top!

A new righteous center--driven by faith and a moral compass --desperately needs to emerge now.

Hopefully, this will bring us to a new peace and prosperity--because the current isn't working. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2017

And It Will Come To Pass

I was walking today and this is what was in my mind...

And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 

So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 

None shall stand against you. 

The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 

The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 

Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 

The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 

Be of faith and good courage. 

And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 

The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.

He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 

Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.

Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 

Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.

Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 

Amen, Amen, Amen.   

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2017

Jerusalem - Happy 50 Years!

Just wanted to wish a very happy anniversary to Jerusalem.

It is the 50th year since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, the beautiful and eternal capital of the State of Israel. 

Today in synagogue we celebrated with a special kiddush. 

72 years since the holocaust, and Israel doth live!

In song and dance, in prayer and devotion, in doing good deeds and charity, we celebrate our survival and G-d's redemption and return of the Jewish people to his promised Holy Land. 

With still so much evil in the world--from brutal dictators, terrorists, human rights abusers, and bullies--it is always time to celebrate the freedom and democracy of America and Israel--who serve as a light unto the nations.

Surely as light can drive out darkness, those good people of faith and integrity can overcome the remnants of evil in this world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 30, 2017

Jewish In Florida



These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.
"Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values."
The second were about 20 cans ("pushkas") for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  

Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 

The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.
"Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One."
There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here...

There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 13, 2017

Love For Every Reason

So in synagogue, there was a bat-mitzvah today.

And the 12-year old girl spoke to the congregation. 

She quoted from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and said:


"If you can hate for no reason, 
then why not love for no reason."

This seemed like a very smart idea to me--we have a choice between hate and love, so why not choose love!

Later at the luncheon after services, I sat and made a new friend with this very nice person who happened to be an Evangelical Christian preacher. 

I asked about his faith and learned more about the Evangelical belief in the strict words of the Old Testament/Torah. 

This wonderful man had taught in a Jewish school in South America, been to the Holy Land, was friends with our Rabbi, and spoke so highly of the Jewish People, Israel, and his faith in G-d. 

I asked about the differences from his perspective between the different sects of Christianity, and he told me a bit of the history of the movements.

But what was also really interesting was that in contrast to the Evangelical's strong support for Israel, he explained that there still to this day was some anti-Semitic remnants in the Catholic Church, even though the Pope, himself, has called it "wrong and unjust"

I asked why some still then blame the Jews for the murder of Jesus (who was Jewish himself), when it was the Romans that actually tortured and killed him and also, why the historical animus to the Jews if Jesus died for the sins of all mankind and this was his divine mission?

He explained that it was wrong and unfair, and that it was misguided scapegoat thinking that "someone had to take the blame."

He then went on to tell me about this great shirt that he liked that had a chart of all the various nation empires of the world that had risen against the Jewish people (from the Egyptians to the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Nazi's) and next to each one it said, GONE!  And then it said, Iran with a TBD--Yep! 

And even Venezuela's, hateful Hugo Chavez, who in 2009 said, "I want to condemn from the bottom of my soul, from the bottom of my guts, damn you State of Israel," and then by 2013 he was dead from stomach (gut) cancer!

So from their day until ours, the One G-d of Hosts continues to looks after Israel and manages the destiny of man--and this is evident throughout the Bible and the prophecies. 

I was so impressed how he was emphatic about the strong Judeo-Christian shared values, beliefs, and faith and that this was the true future for Christianity.

It was understood from the conversation that in all religions, we share more in love of G-d and of each other, and in doing good then in hate, bias, bigotry, and discrimination...and together, we can make it a better world. 

Together, love can conquer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Twitter)
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May 11, 2017

A Curse That Is Really A Blessing

So here is an amazing true story from this week.

My wife was in Israel. 

She went to the Kotel (Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem) to pray. 

On the way, an old, poor man stopped her and asked for food. 

My wife gave him her sandwich. 

Then after walking another block, he stopped her again and gestured for assistance. 

This time, my wife gave him some money too.

After this, she asked him if he would bless our family.

And he did and also gave a special blessing to my elder daughter who had just recently gotten engaged. 

My wife also went to the Kotel and prayed for us and her. 

That same evening back in the States here, my daughter and her fiancee ended their engagement. 

At first, the breakup seemed like a big disappointment and that a terrible thing had happened--almost like a curse--but G-d works in mysterious ways. 

When we saw the reasons for the breakup, we realized fully that G-d had indeed heard the blessings of the old, poor man (maybe an angel) and the prayers of my wife.

We wish the young man all the best in his future, but we just saw clearly that this was not the right match. 

So what at first can seem like a curse is really a blessing in disguise. 

Truly, when you give charity, you're not only helping others, but it's really a blessing for you too. 

Thank you to the old, poor man in Jerusalem and to Hashem who heard my wife's prayers at the Kotel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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April 10, 2017

Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

On Passover, we celebrate G-d's redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 

His mercy and kindness endures forever!

While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert...

Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 

It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.

In G-d's world, there is no limitations of time and space...and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel--from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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