Born With The Music

Saw an incredible segment on 60 Minutes on Sunday about this amazing girl named Alma


Alma Deutscher is a British-born (of Israeli-descent) musical whiz kid who was playing piano and violin at age 3. 


And she composed a whole opera by the time she was 10. 


They call her the Second Mozart, although she prefers to just be the First Alma!


She literally hears music playing in her head all the time, and she says that there are different expert musical composers in her head that she calls on to solve whatever musical challenge she is facing or sound out the emotion she is trying to get to. 


In her interview, she did not seem like a 12-year old, but rather an old soul who has come back perhaps many, many times. 


Listening and watching Alma is sort of like watching a walking miracle–as there is no way she learned these skills at such a young age and has “comprehensive mastery” over all the music and instruments. 


If there was ever a question about where knowledge, skills, and abilities come from, with a child prodigy like Alma, there should be no lingering doubts about G-d’s complete role in everything.  


With Alma, G-d graciously let’s us in to the mysteries of creation by showing us the source of all is Him. 


(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)

Beautiful Innocent Child Angel

So wonderful news is that one of my daughters is getting married, please G-d, at the end of the month.


Today, we had a celebration in synagogue called an Aufruf, where the groom is called to the Torah and makes the blessing and then we all throw candies (we chose bags of chocolates).


After the services, we had a kiddush luncheon and it was really nice to see everyone from the community sharing in this wonderful Simcha with us. 


But something happened towards the end of the services that had a really big impact on me…in fact, I can’t stop thinking about it–I need to write it down. 


As services concluded and we were leaving the sanctuary, this beautiful innocent little girl came right up to my daughter–sort of out of nowhere and without her parents–and wished her Mazel Tov. 


There was something about her and the way she did it with such sincerity–I literally couldn’t have been more touched. 


It was almost like this child was some sort of angel–I mean it!


The child’s eyes and facial expression had an innocence like I have never quite seen before. 


All I could do was marvel at this child and how she came up all by herself with this incredible pureness of heart that I can’t fully explain to wish the bride and groom well. 


Then I found my words to say thank you and wish her that in a “few” years she would be getting happily married too, G-d willing. 


I think I will always remember the piecing innocent eyes of this child and how she was like an angel visiting us on this special occasion today. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Inspiring Greatness

I thought this was inspirational. 


Muhammad Ali believing that he’s the greatest boxer.


And the child sitting in front with these huge red boxing gloves on–presumably dreaming about becoming the next Muhammad Ali!


The butterfly sitting on the boxing gloves in front of the child adds an interesting dimension, where the child dreams of developing into the “next great one,” just like a butterfly morphs from a caterpillar into a beautiful flying creatures with colorful and expansive wings. 


This child wants to fly and soar to greatness like Muhammad Ali did. 


We all need an inspiration that has overcome adversity to make it against all odds. 


For me, this inspiration was Rocky who rose from the streets to become a fighter and winner not only in the ring, but in life as a person of integrity and a mensch. 


If we dream it, it can be–with G-d’s blessing and plenty of hard work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Art In The Trees

Art in Tree

Today, just sharing a photo that I took and liked. 


This is art in the trees.


A Renaissance child in gorgeous red and gold robes on an expansive scroll in the lush green trees is marvelous to me. 


Also, the contrast of the heavenly creation of the world and nature alongside the man-made art affirms to me how we, ourselves, are made in the image of G-d, and can contribute to the beauty of the world we live in. 


I hope you this like it too! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Where Do You Find G-d?

Where Do You Find G-d?

My dad told me this joke over the weekend.

It’s about the Rabbi who asked the little boy in school…

“WHERE do you find G-d?”

Raising his voice again…

“Where do you find G-D?”

Stretching out his arms to the heavens….

“Where do YOU find G-d?”

The boy rushes outside, nearly in tears, and finds his little brother and says:

“The Rabbi thinks we stole G-d.”

I’m not sure if the joke itself is really funny or just the way my dad tells it.

But I can almost see that child panicking and thinking he was being accused of something terrible.

Anyway, as we all know G-d is everywhere and most importantly inside all of us.

That’s the spark that burns–our soul from above.

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution to Kigaliwire)