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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Haleli @Mimouna with Magen David Synagogue

Praise be our G-d, the Master of the Universe.


May he bless us with an abundance of good for the New Year after the Passover commemoration of our exodus from slavery to His redemption and the Holy Land of Israel.


Blessings, Peace, Health, Prosperity, and Joy!


What a lovely event with the community of Magen David Synagogue in Maryland.


My heart is uplifted by the song, dance, friendship, and faith in the Almighty. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Alien Orange Vacuum Cleaner

I love this art in Jerusalem, Israel. 


These big orange overhangs from the lamp poles look almost like big vacuum hoses that are ready and going to suck people literally off the streets. 


Can’t you just see the people in mid-air suction, arms and legs flailing all around, yelling “Hey, what’s going on around here!”?


Hopefully, they don’t end up on an alien spaceship somewhere with some weird creatures wanting to explore about us or even use us for food!


Okay, this is what I call Purim spiel–fun for the holiday celebration today.


Seriously though, those orange things are great. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)

Two Lightning Strikes

One week apart, two freak accidents, both families nearly wiped out. 


Both touched me. 


Exactly one week ago, I learned and wished condolences to the man in synagogue who lost his wife, youngest son, and mother-in-law in the Mexico tourist bus accident. 


Today–7 days later, a neighbor comes up to me and tells me she’s going to the funeral for her daughter, son-in-law and three children killed in the Costa Rica plane crash this week, and I wished her that G-d have mercy. 


Like two lightning strikes–not a coincidence (I don’t believe in that).


I believe more that it is a warning, and it is really frightening.


I pray that G-d should have mercy on all of us. 

Please G-d, Save Us. 
Please G-d, Save Us. Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 
Please G-d, Help Us To Succeed. 

Life truly hangs by a thin thread.


The time period between my meeting the man and women from these two families–7 days–represents both life and death–it is both the number of days of “Sheva Brachot” (days of celebration for a bride and groom) and the number of says of “Shiva: (mourning when someone dies)


We need to be committed to doing good in this world and in His name.


— Repentance, charity, and prayer.


All of us must do our best to serve G-d and always do right with integrity.


G-d should defeat evil, and He should have mercy on his faithful children, so that He turns mourning into celebration and blessings. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to kristendawn, and interesting that it is from Costa Rica)