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)

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@DC Design House For National Children’s Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wealthy couple built this amazing mansion in Potomac, Maryland.



But sadly before they could enjoy it, the wife developed a terminal illness. 



The husband allowed the house to showcased in a design talent competition with the various rooms decorated by all different interior designers.



…And the house to be shown for charity for National Children’s Health System. 



Here are some photos from this wonderful fundraising event. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Lucky Cat

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So a retail establishment opened in the area.


They had all these cat symbols hung inside. 


I asked the owner what it said, and she told me:

“Lucky Cat”


Why a cat symbolizes luck I don’t really know.


But the bigger question is whether there is any such thing as luck in the first place.


We constantly wish people good luck on any and every aspect of their lives: from birth to bar/bat mitzvahs, engagements, weddings, graduations, new jobs, journeys, and basically anything we embark on. 


That’s what Mazel Tov means–good luck!


But I thought we believe in G-d and not luck?


We strive through prayer, charity, repentance, and all sort of good deeds to try and move the scale of justice in our favor. 


With the Jewish high holidays approaching next month–Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur–we do everything to atone for our sins and commit to being better in the future. 


We seek G-d’s mercy and his blessings. 


There is no arbitrary luck or fortune. 


Life is what we make out of it. 


What about the Massachusetts women who won $758 million in Powerball last week or the person that gets cancer or some other horrible tragedy–did they deserve it?


I suppose it’s impossible for us to judge why some people have amazing fortune and others have schlimazel (misfortune).


As it says in Genesis (18:25):

“Shall not the judge of all the Earth do justly?”


Surely, G-d has the bigger picture and the omniscience to know what is good for us and what is not. 


How he tests us and tries us and to what ends…that is a matter of faith and conviction–and we believe that it is all ultimately for our best. 


The judge of all Earth…please have mercy on us and bestow your blessings on us, your faithful children. 


As to the lucky cat–wave us some good vibes–all long as we realize that we all need G-d’s grace! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ooh That Is Good

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Hey, congratulations to Roger Federer on winning his 19th tennis championship. 


It’s an absolutely awesome level of athletic achievement and it’s definitely something to celebrate. 


But when I saw this photo of him and his trophy in the paper this morning, it seemed over the top!


Whenever someone sets their mind to something, works really hard, and is thank G-d able to achieve it–that is something to be happy about and enormously grateful for. 


Hey, listen, I understand there are some real superstars out there and I respect them! 


However, seeing this guy clutching his trophy in both hands, smelling it, kissing it, and more…it looks to me more like idolatry than the pure, sweet smell of success. 


I get it–he worked super hard, achieved impossible things, and deserves to savor the incredible moment–no one is taking that away from him. 


Instead of that gold trophy, wouldn’t you rather see him kissing his wife and children, thanking G-d (and his coach maybe), and saying things like how he will continue to use his success and earning to help others or maybe train the next generation of aspiring athletes. 


I applaud Federer more for his known philanthropy in helping disadvantaged children and doing charitable events for disaster victims than for winning his 19th championship (hey, 18 would’ve been fine too).  


In the end, self- (and trophy-) love and admiration is not the something to celebrate, but should instead point us back to character and using our strength and achievements to help others.


For what is really important in life, there is no earthly trophy for–and certainly not one worth any ultimate embrace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Wall Street Journal)

The Excuses We Make

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So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 


“There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here,” I say.


“Yeah,” she says, “When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout.”


She continues, “I usually have a few dollars here” pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 


“But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!”


Excuse #1 not to give poor people–they’ll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 


The driver says, “But so what…if I were in their shoes, I’d buy a beer too.”


I’m thinking, hey this is nice…she’s fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give–this is great!


Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.


This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.


The driver says, “Yeah, if I gave him, he’d probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!”


Wow, when excuse #1 doesn’t hold…


Excuse #2–the poor people are just faking it…really they aren’t poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.


It’s like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us “don’t give,”  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and “give, give, give.”


In this case, the evil inclination won out. 


I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary–dirty and maybe sick–I was afraid of this person. 


I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn’t my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jewish In Florida

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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)

Poverty Stinks

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A lady dropped these placards around on the Metro yesterday with a little pack of tissues. 


It says:

“Hi, I have 2 kids and I’m a single mother and I have no job. If you can please help me for food and for rent. G-d bless you. Thank you.”


It is heart-wrenching, the poverty!


People without food or shelter. 


Many without medicine and proper clothing. 


Basic things that most of us take for granted.


It takes so little for everything to go to sh*t. 


Both individually and also societally. 


The world can be a cruel, cruel place. 


But people can open their hearts and wallets to help others. 


Also, advocate for people that are less fortunate. 


Imagine G-d looking down and what does he see from us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)