@The Great Kotel in Jerusalem

So we made it to the Kotel in Jerusalem yesterday.


What an amazing experience.


It’s been too many years.


Definitely, one of the top moments of my life.


As we entered the old city and walked through the narrow ways toward the Western Wall of the Temple, my heart and breathing was racing and I could feel the spiritualness getting closer and closer. 


When we finally arrived at the Holy Wall, I was just completely overwhelmed and saying over and over, OMG!


We took some photos, and then immediately when to pray at the wall. 


I think I got lost in prayer and didn’t realize how long I had been standing and clutching the Holy Wall of G-d’s ancient Temple. 


I truly believe that our prayers ascend to Heaven at this special spot of G-d’s earthly abode. 


I wanted to fall to my knees, but stopped myself repeatedly as this is not generally the Jewish custom. 


But in my mind, my body, and soul was prostrated completely before G-d Almighty.


I put myself in His hands.


We can only do our best, and the rest is all in His control.


We can try to make the best decisions we can, but the real guidance in life comes from Him and His will for us. 


We learned in Yeshiva, not to ask in prayer for specific things in life to happen for us, but rather to ask G-d to do what is right in His eternal mind for us. 


This is right…submit to the King of Kings and let Him show us the way for us.


What are the right words to say to G-d?


At the end, thank you and please continue to help us, your children. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pennies From Heaven

So I ran into this lady in downtown Washington, D.C.


She posed for the picture and made sure to line up the top and the bottom posters to get it just right


It says:

“Not One Penny In Tax Cuts For The Rich”


Makes intuitive sense doesn’t it: the rich already are blessed with…riches!


Any more pennies in their war chest is sort of a drop in the billionaire bucket. 


With tax reform is on the table now…we need tax relief for the middle class and to grow the economy. 


The rich really do not need to get any richer.


Especially with a national debt over $20 trillion already–and not including future entitlement obligations that exceed projected revenue for social security and medicare, which bring the debt in excess of $70 trillion!). 


The gamble with this whole tax reform plan is that the $1.5 trillion or so in proposed tax cuts over 10 years translates into a much bigger economic expansion that makes up for that revenue loss to the government and more. 


If not, well then Uncle Sam bet wrong and our annual deficit gets bigger and bigger (already $666 billion in FY 2017).


Tax cuts for the rich today and estate tax cuts to pass wealth between generations–when they impact the top 1% are ridiculously targeted to those who really don’t need it, and many of the decent ones, like Warren Buffetdon’t even want it


Let’s have a heart and help the people that really need the help–let’s narrow the growing divide between the haves and the have nots, and move to eliminate the class system that elevates one child of G-d over another. 


– While some live in McMansions, others are homeless.


– While some eat steak and drink expensive bottles of wine every night, others go hungry and thirsty.


– While some wear fancy designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and different outfits every day, others don’t have a clean shirt on their back. 


It’s nice to think that some “deserve it” more than others, but we also have to think who really needs it more. 


And if the pennies do ultimately come from Heaven (as all blessings do), then let us distribute these with compassion and lovingkindness as we know our Creator would want us to. 😉


(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)

The CEO and The Janitor

Janitor.jpeg

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.


The colleague’s father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 


One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 


And he would say:

“Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!”


At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.


And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:

“The CEO’s job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn’t have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn’t have a job and salary.

 

Then he’d turn to the CEO and  explain:

The Janitor’s job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn’t have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn’t be able to come to work ever day.”

 

It’s really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

 

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings–in the image of G-d–and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. 😉

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Naked Sitting

Naked Sitting.jpeg

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 


This “Big Man” is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.


Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.


In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 


What are we to do when we give in to weakness?


We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.


But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 

“Liebe Gott sieht alles” 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don’t really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won’t be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hate, Discrimination, and Violence…But We’re One

Unity

As we live day-to-day in near endless and escalating cycles of hate, discrimination and violence along national, religious, racial, gender and other divides…

It is nice and refreshing to see someone wearing a t-shirt this morning that says:

“One World, One Dream”

I don’t know what the Asian characters above it say…but hopefully, it’s more hopefullness!

Unfortunately, without a common enemy–whether disasters, plague or alien invasion–what divides us normally seems stronger than what holds us together.

Hence, routine murders, maimings, abductions, rapes, enslavement, and harrassment of one neighbor against the other. 

We behave like little children fighting for the toys in the sandbox except with consequences that can elevate all the way to genocide or WMD. 

As we squabble with each other, perhaps there are moments when we can have the self-awareness and strength of character to actually look in the mirror with some shame for how low we’ll stoop to get our share in a world of divine comedy. 

Wouldn’t it be nice for humanity to change ways and instead have compassion on each other (children of G-d), share the toys, and end the miserable hate. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)