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)


Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

“The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me.”

When 2 people are together, it’s as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them–their wives were their lives and what made them complete– afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:

“I’m getting along the best that I can.”

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other–no one is an island–and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades–they are for each other and with each other, even if “together forever” is just a song that children sing…it is what we all ultimately wish for. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Power of Speech

I loved this magnet on this wonderful old Jewish ladies refrigerator who lives in our community.

“If you have nothing good to say…
Say nothing.”

I remember we used to talk about this saying in my house growing up too. 

It is a famous teaching from the holy Chofetz Chaim.

I remember as a bar-mitzvah boy, someone in our community in Riverdale, NY gave me a set of the Chofetz Chaim’s books.

And I enjoyed reading from them daily about always being careful with how you use your words:

– Not to hurt anyone.

– Not to speak bad about anyone (i.e. Lashon Hara)

– But rather to use words pointedly and always for the good. 

Kind words.

Gentle words.

Complimentary words.

Words of love and caring. 

Holy words. 

The Chofetz Chaim seemed to have an endless number of wonderful stories to demonstrate the power of speech and the importance of using it for the good. 

The old saying of “The pen is mightier than the sword,” can be used replacing the pen with the tongue and power of speech in general. 

Words can cut someone like a knife and even kill or words can create a tremendous healing when it’s full of love and caring for others. 

Actions speak louder than words, but words can speak and perform volumes in the eternal fight of good over evil. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My Contribution To Love

So I saw a casual work friend the other day doting around what looked like his girlfriend. 

They looked really cute together.

And this guy is in his 60’s and lost his wife a number of years ago to cancer, so I was really happy to see him happy, and playful in love again. 

After a while, I took the opportunity to play cupid best I could. 

I told her how nice this guy was and how well he takes care of his customers. 

I ended by saying how we really love having him around and how it wouldn’t be the same without him. 

I could see him behind her smiling ear-to-ear–this lady really meant something to him.

When I saw him again today, I asked innocently, “so was that your girlfriend?” and like a young teenager in love, he smirked and nodded. 

It was obvious how much it meant to him that I spoke well of him to her. 

What can I say, I am really happy to make a little contribution to love–and I am really happy for them. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Treating The Homeless With Dignity

I love this organization, Think Dignity.

They do hands-on advocacy and activism to help the homeless. 

From providing them storage lockers, bathrooms, showers, haircuts/shaves, clothing boutique, hygiene products (e.g. tampons etc.), drinking water, legal services, and more.

While others looks away, they jump in to actually do something real.

They actually bring mobile showers to them!

The video show on the left, one person living a regular life with a home, job, and everything they need, and on the right, another person down on their luck, homeless and needy.

Both are G-d’s creatures–one just needs a fresh start!

At the end of the video, it says:

Don’t Look Away.
Think Love.
Think Hope.
Think Strength.
Think Worth.
Think Dignity. 

I hope you are truly moved in the same way that I am by this organization and their beautiful mission and meaningful outreach activities. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Women Want From Men

What Women Want.jpeg

So I was talking to this nice gentleman.

He was telling me that he lost his wife of over 27 years to cancer–this happened over 15 years ago. 

And since then, he had a girlfriend who recently broke his heart and married someone else. 

I felt really bad and sorry for this nice man–who is always so friendly and intelligent.  

He says to me:

“Over the years, I’ve learned what women want from men.”

I ask him inquiringly:

“And what is that?”

He’s obviously glad that I asked, and he proceeds to tell me:

“Women want two things: curiosity and security.”

Not understanding what he means by the first one, I ask:

“What do you mean curiosity?”

He looks intently at me and says:

“Women want to talk, and they want to know what’s going on.”

He explains to me that if you talk and be a good listener to women and provide (your part) materially in a stable relationship with them–they will be happy and you will be happy. 

This is sort of the “Happy wife, happy life” idea that I’ve heard before. 

Listen, even at this stage in my life, with a wife and two lovely daughters, I can still learn something about what makes women happy…teach me the pearls of wisdom and I will learn it well. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)