Respecting Native Americans

So I don’t know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.


People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened–usually the truth is somewhere in between. 


In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 


These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let’s just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 


We are all G-d’s children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn’t any one religion.  


When I asked more about this, she said:

The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).


Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 


The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 


Here are some of the take-a-ways:


– We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 

– Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.


– Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity–“I hate your stupid face!”


– But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 

– Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 


– We all have our own “facts”:  My facts vs. Your Facts. 


– We attribute good that happens to us as being because of “us,” but bad that happens to us because of “them.”


– Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate–and:

– We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

– Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts

– Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

One G-d, Many Stories

So we went to the mall and there was a new Indian gift store.


We went in to take a look, and they had all sorts of things, but one section had a lot of colorful statues. 


We didn’t even really know what we were looking at when one of the young lady salespeople came over to explain. 


And she’s pointing to different statues and saying that this is the “G-d of love,” this is the “G-d of prosperity,” this is the “G-d for removing obstacles,” etc. 


I said to her questioningly (non-judgmental), “So we are Jews, and we believe in monotheism. How do you understand this concept of different ‘G-ds’?”


She said, “Well, I learned about these growing up in India, but the way I’ve come to terms with this is that these “G-ds” are really different ‘faces’ of one G-d” and then she started to tell us the “stories” of them. 


So in her explanation, when they are confronting challenges in life, they pray to the “face of G-d” that focuses on removing those obstacles, and when they are seeking prosperity then they pray to that “face of G-d” so on and so forth. 


It was interesting to me how this young lady came to find a monotheistic interpretation and path for herself and perhaps others who have similar beliefs.  


I wondered to myself whether this understanding can be in a way be similar to the Jewish concept of G-d having different attributes like midat Rachamin, din, etc. 


Of course, I know that G-d loves all of us, and I respect everyone’s personal beliefs.


For me and my traditional Jewish belief system, I wholeheartedly affirm as my namesake Abraham:

Sh’ma Yis’rael, Hashem Elo’kenu, Hashem Echad.
Hear O’ Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one.  

 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Moshe Shalom)

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

The Blessings and The Curses

L-rd, Bless your loving children. 


And do swift justice to the wicked that seek their destruction. 


Bless those that stand guard at your heavenly and earthly gates. 


Curse those evil ones that make a mockery of your lofty kingship. 


Bless the humble and faithful to you and your laws.


Curse those that stand in arrogance and spread hate and vileness before you. 


Bless those that bless you and seek to do good. 


Curse those that curse you and do harm to your creations. 


Bless the righteous people with all that is good. 


Curse the wicked and tear them asunder so that they are utterly destroyed. 


L-rd, please hear your lowly servant and bring the ultimate redemption to your people. 


And verily discomfort, smite and throw to the depths of punishment and exile the cursed wicked. 


None can stand before you in their shame and disgrace. 


Do it for your name’s sake; do it for your children’s sake, do it for your justice’s sake, do it to make things right in your beautiful and perfect world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The 3 P’s Do NOT Matter

So I heard Joel Osteen give a great speech. 


He said that it’s not any of these things that make a person worthwhile:


1. Possessions

2. Performance

3. Popularity


But rather, it is a person’s inner self and soul that determine their value. 


Each person is a son or daughter of G-d.


I agree that our personal worth is a matter of how we act as human beings in choosing right over wrong and good over evil; and it is not based on how much we have, how successful we have become, or how much we are liked. 


In the end, a person must return to their maker alone to answer for their actions.  


You can’t take anything with you.


Materialism and vanity all fade away and only your spiritual inner self will pass over and live on.  


So how will you spend your time and attention–chasing vanity of vanities or doing good in all your words and deeds? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Evil That Is Child Trafficking

Please, please watch this short 4-minute video. 


It is very impactful!


EVEN…


– If you don’t know what’s going on with child sex abuse.


– If you are afraid to know.


– If you don’t want to believe it.


– If you busy and generally haven’t cared in the past. 


Here are some basic statistics:


💥There are at least 2 to 4 million cases of human trafficking annually!


💥It is estimated that 50% are children!


💥It’s a $32 billion dollar industry and growing! 


Maybe (hopefully) you believe in G-d


We are G-d’s children. 


Children are our children. 


We have a duty to protect children. 


How will you answer the call?


Here’s where you can place a call:


– National Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 4-A-CHILD (422-4453)


– National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)


Finally, may Almighty G-d do justice to all the pedophiles and abusers out there. 


May the Earth and Heavens swallow them up and spit them out. 


So that the children, the pure children, may grow up in a better world, a much better world. 😉