Build Others Up

I saw this in one of the student lounges at the local JCC.


It says:

“Don’t Cut Down Others”


It’s far better to build people up then to tear them down. 


Jut like with trees, it’s better to plant a trillion trees than deforest the Amazon Rainforest. 


Trees are life and people are life. 


Be constructive and not destructive. 


Offer a nice word or compliment; provide an attentive and empathetic ear; give direction with some advice and guidance; lend a hand to someone in need; and in general, be a good influence. 


Unfortunately, too many people default to cutting down the old cherry tree! 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ramath Orah Synagogue

So the other day, I received this wonderful email from someone working on the 75th anniversary of Ramath Orah Synagogue on the Upper West Side in Manhattan where I grew up. 


My grandfather (Opa), Simon Blumenthal, had served as the President of that synagogue for many wonderful years.


I remember always being so proud of him for his dedication and hard work for the community. 


I look up to him when he got up to give the announcements at the pulpit. 


And he built the beautiful center bimah, the special succah downstair with the roof that opened up to the sky at holiday time, and made many other truly impressive improvements to the synagogue. 


He and his wife, my grandmother (Oma), Hilda Blumenthal were an absolutely beautiful couple and the finest of people. 


My parents, Fred and Gerda Blumenthal, continued in their footsteps and to be members at Ramath Orah long after we had moved away to Riverdale, and they were contributors to the shul and attended the annual synagogue dinners for many years. 


Even though the synagogue was mainly filled with elderly people at the time, we always knew and prayed that it would become revitalized again, which it did and is now. 


Pictured at the bottom is me as a kid sitting with a talit over my shoulder and in my grandfathers (the President’s chair) in the front of the synagogue.


Aside from leading and singing the regular Yigdal and Adom Olam prayers, I loved to sit with my father and grandfather in synagogue.


We prayed together, and we stayed together as a family and community. 


I miss them all so much, but am sure they are up in Heaven together sitting in the Big Synagogue in the sky basking in the light of Hashem and watching over me and my family today!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Slow Build – Rapid Demise

It takes time to build in life. 


Or as they say:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”


But it’s not always easy to have patience. 


We all have to start somewhere and usually it’s at the bottom.


And then we have to claw our way up (like Rocky).


Unless of course, you’re one of those people born with a “silver spoon” in your mouth. 


The funny thing about building and climbing is that it can all be destroyed in a split second. 


One silly mistake, one stupid word, one indiscretion, one lackadaisical moment, a turn of bad luck…or a series thereof. 


It takes so much time and effort to build as we lay one brick of success upon another. 


And it takes just a split second to destroy it all. 


So watch-watch-watch your steps, because they can so easily turn into a rapid, spiraling, and even most deadly a fall.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Gorgeous Border Wall

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Hey, I’m not for erecting walls when there is no need for them.


Who instead doesn’t love to build bridges–full of peace and brotherhood, definitely. 


But after 9/11 and the ongoing, endless wave of global terrorism and serious threats that we are confronting (including from WMD), let’s face it…we need secure borders.


This is called common sense security, and it’s been highly regarded and employed throughout history and all around the world. 


That doesn’t mean that good people don’t come in…only that we have a thoughtful and effective way to work to filter the bad people out. 


Anyway, it seems that the bake-off of border wall prototypes has yielded this brilliant design.


If it’s truly rugged and includes intelligent border security mechanisms such as sensors, surveillance cameras, biometrics, and so on, then this could be an awesome looking and functional option.


Time to stop the bickering and time to start moving forward with security. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to True Pundit) 

Turning To Love

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Just an observation about love today.


But it seems that it’s far easier and more frequent to see love turn to hate and resentment than vice versa.


It’s a lot easier to destroy a relationship (or any success) than to build it to begin with.


Even as we talk about forgiveness and loving thy neighbor, it seems that more often than not negative feelings are at best turned to acceptance or neutral feelings rather than back to true endearment.


This state is often accompanied by such fears or protectionist sayings as “leopards don’t change their spots” or “love once lost is lost forever.”


While we may be willing to turn the other cheek for a moment or even a while, bad feelings and distrust towards another does not make the leap back to closeness and an endearing, loving relationship all that often.


Of course, there are exceptions where through trust building measures and “easing of sanctions” or hostilities, we can over time rebuild a relationship and become allies or partners again.


However, it is far easier to break trust and lose love then to ever rebuild and recover it.


All the more reason to cherish our meaningful relationships and make love count, sing, and dance for us every moment of every day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Robots, They Are Coming

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I was so excited by this photo in the Wall Street Journal today.


YuMi, an industrial robot by ABB, is adroitly writing Chinese calligraphy. 


If you look at the photo and think for a moment, the notion of the robot doing and the person watching is truly prophetic of how we are evolving technologically and as a species. 


Yumi is made by ABB, a leading robotics company headquartered in Switzerland, that on one hand has over 300,000 robots installed worldwide, but on the other hand needs only 4,600 employees in 53 countries to produce all these fantastic and productive droids.  

This robot is a work of not just incredible science and engineering, but of art and beauty. 


It’s sleek black and white build with two incredibly agile arms and hands plus a viewing camera, enables it to do small parts assembly or even fine calligraphic work. 


YuMi stands for “You and Me” working together, collaboratively. 


While we surely will work together, the flip side is that with robotics, some people (who don’t make the transition to STEM) may not be working much at all. 


But of course, the positive side is that we are looking at an incredible capacity to do more and better with less! 


Leaving the innovation to humans, and the assembly and service to the bots, the bar will be raised on everything–both good and bad.


We will build greater things, travel and explore further, and discover ever new depths of understanding and opportunities to exploit.


But we will also edge people out of work and comfort zones, and be able to engage in new forms of conflict and war that only the power and skill of (semi-) autonomous machines could inflict. 


The robots are here, however, they are coming in much greater numbers, capabilities, and impact then we can currently fully comprehend. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WSJ)

Young Love

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So I took this photo of a painting in a home furnishings store.

Just something really striking about it to me. 

The way the women is leaning into the man and his head/face leans into hers. 

Their focus on the drawing or plans in front of them, where he seems to be sketching out their future together. 

Also, their hands touching and almost clasped.

Young love is beautiful.

When people find each other, by some miracle of G-d.

And the chemistry magically makes 2 people like 1. 

The look they give each other, when their hopes and dreams converge.

Best friends, companions, lovers with the potential to grow ever mightier over time. 

Life not without obstacles that the couple must overcome, supporting each other.

Building a home, raising a family, making a future together come true.

When the minds meet, the hearts yearn for each other, and the souls join.

What a time of joy and blessing…a time to live for and to continue the generations forward and build that which cannot be completed by any man alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)