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)


The Makings Of Cold Stone

Gotta hand it to Cold Stone Ice Cream. 

They know how it make it cold, sweet, and rich tasting. 

Here they are making the signature Cookie Doughn’t You Want Some. 

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Chips

Cookie Dough



OMG, it is super premium!

And they make it right there in front of you. 

As you mouth waters for it, you almost want to just stick you finger in and snatch a bite.

Oh, the simple, sweet pleasures of life. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Vampire Slayer

So can you believe they actually have this?

It’s a vampire killing kit that was really for sale in the 19th century. 

These kits were developed and sold by entrepreneur, Professor Ernst Blomberg.

People were afraid of the blood-sucking beasts, especially in Eastern Europe. 

And so when they traveled, they came prepared.

– Dagger with a ghoulish-looking skeleton for a handle

– Pistol along with several silver bullets

– Wooden stake to thrust into its evil heart

– Cross and Holy Water (or perhaps a Star of David for the Jewish version of the kit) to repel them

Of course, we don’t have any evil bloodsucking creatures these days, do we? 

I have a feeling that a lot of people would like to have a kit like this for self-defense to keep the 21st-century version of these bad actors away. 

You think the NRA would be interested in making something like this. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Outnumbered Yes

I liked this saying that I heard:

“Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted.”

I think there is a lot of truth to this. 

Might does not make right. 

Right makes right. 

There is a G-d above who watches over us. 

Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tongue-Tied Silence

Sometimes in life, people are left tongue-tied. 

Too shocked, shamed, confused, or abused to speak or perhaps to even know what to say anymore. 

Maybe in the face of some horrible things that happen in life, there really are no words.

Instead, the vacant or crazed look in the eyes says it all.

People go through a lot–some of it is inhumane.

Sometimes, only tears can even begin to express what they are feeling. 

I think one thing that is important to do, even when we’re not sure what to say, is to acknowledge that it is okay. 

Silence is often golden. 

Listen more, watch more, feel more, learn more, reflect more. 

Ask more questions. 

Usually, I’m told to ask at least 5 times (i’d say at least 3) to decompose to what is really going on underneath the superficial covers. 

“Tell me more.”
“What else?”
“Can you elaborate?”

Sometimes, people have difficulty getting in touch with their true feelings or accurately diagnosing what’s bothering them.  

It’s more than okay to be thoughtful, be deliberative. 

Words are often cheap, but they shouldn’t be. 

Our words should be truthful, meaningful, insightful, even righteous. 

Take all the time you need, your words are worth it. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Three Legs of Quality of Life

So this is something that I am learning. 

Quality of life means perspective and balance. 

When people go to the extreme and focus all their energies on any one area almost to the exclusivity of the others in their life, it usually means they are going wrong. 

Some people are “party animals”–life is all about their fun, enjoyment, experiences (and even excessive partying, sleeping around, getting drunk and high), and their very immediate gratification. 

Others are all about work–climbing that professional ladder and earning more money, material goods, and more power is the holy grail and also the bane of their existence. 

And yet there are some people that are focused on faith, family, and community–they are mothers and fathers, religious students and clergy, community organizers and organizers of charitable events and giving. 

The problems is that people need multiple facets of their lives–yes, they need playfulness, interests, activities, hobbies, and fun and joyous times; at the same time, they need intellectual curiosity, professional contribution and achievement, and the wherewithal to be responsible and pay the bills; and very importantly, they need  social, spiritual, and emotional fulfillment from family, friends, giving, and faith. 

When a person stands on only one of these legs, like many seem to–they are on wobbly ground and are likely to fall hard and fast.  

Even on two legs, something is missing in their lives–they are standing tall, but not strong and stable. 

On all three legs, a person can be grounded and able to not just stand for themselves, but able to bear weight like on a stool, and they are can play music and sing and smile, knowing that they have a genuine quality of life that few ever really achieve. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Synagogue, To Laugh And To Cry

So I am learning that synagogue is more than a place to worship G-d.

It is a place of and for the people to express their full range of emotions. 

Frankly, I think it is a place for people to laugh and to cry. 

Rarely, a week goes by when not one or both of these emotions/actions happen. 

Yes, we cry out to G-d in supplication and also are joyous in his holy majesty and presence. 

But more than that, as a community, we come together to share of our week and ourselves with each other. 

One one hand, we laugh with each other at the funny and ridiculous things that happen to us and at the joy we feel for the blessings that G-d bestows on us daily. 

On the other, we cry on each other’s shoulders at the pain and loss that we (G-d forbid) at times must face and endure in the face of illness, evil, and tragedy.

Just today, both things happened in the synagogue and my heart was at one time uplifted with gladness and then at another greatly saddened with the hurt shared–occurrences of each in just a short span of time. 

Yes, we laugh and we cry together–alone, it is at once empty and at the other unbearable. 

We need to support each other; there is no other way that is not extreme madness. 

Put your arms around another to embrace them in great happiness and to let them cry mightily on your shoulder. 

Sharing with each other at our houses of worship–that is how we show G-d that we are bound to Him and to each others’ souls–all children of G-d trying to make it together to the next service. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)