Fulfilling Dying Children’s Wishes

I am just so impressed with this charity…the Make A Wish Foundation


They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness–and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!


What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 


Whether it’s letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)–who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation–to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 


Seeing the joy on the faces of these children–despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations–seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 


I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back–and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 


Again, there are truly good people out there–who don’t just live for themselves–but who think about and give generously to others. 


Life is not just about “I” but about all the people we can reach and uplift.


Cena isn’t just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 


And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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One More Of The Abusers Caught

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Above is excerpt from email (forwarded to me) sent out by SAR Academy (now with high school, but previously elementary and middle school only when I was growing up).

It is incredibly horrible what this pedophile Rosenfeld did to the innocent children there and elsewhere.

Now one more of the abusers has been caught and the truth has come out–even if after almost 40 years!

Here is a quote from blog of Luke Ford (2009) that sheds light on this evil creep:

“Stanely Rosenfeld is a former cantor and spiritual leader at Temple Am David who received a 10-year suspended sentence after pleading no contest to molesting a 12-year-old boy he was tutoring. He grew up in New York City and worked in the New York public school system for about 20 years, and worked about 10 years at a private Jewish academy in New York. In a recent lawsuit it was alleged that other Jewish synagogues had problems with Rosenfeld, but he was allowed to move from one to another and offend again. In previous probation reports Rosenfeld acknowleged constantly having to ‘fight his desire for boys.’ He said he often looks at children when driving and had ‘considered what it would be like to pursue a child’ but that he has never acted on this desire.” The report also says that, “When asked if he had molested both male and female children, [Rosenfeld] responded that his ‘preferred prey’ is adolescent boys.” Rosenfeld has acknowledged other victims within Rhode Islands well as victims in different states, demonstrating his clear propensity to commit these crimes against minors. Rosenfeld also told stated in past probation reports that he had molested boys when he was in New York, but he was never charged. Hopefully, this is the end of the line for pedophile Rosenfeld who will now rot in jail.”


How was this allowed to continue for so long and no one did anything?

Victims in those days were questioned like they were crazy or told they just imagined it or “had a bad dream”!

But to the contrary, it was very real nightmare.

#MeToo.

Fortunately, I wasn’t harmed as bad as others–as thank G-d, I woke up in time!

Yes there were others who definitely seemed to facilitate it–was it knowingly or unknowingly? Not really sure how they couldn’t have known.

People are beasts, although some have and exercise a moral conscience–others apparently don’t have the integrity or inner strength to do the right thing–or they just don’t care or dare to.

For the victims–it’s painful to see it again so real like it was just yesterday, but it’s good to know that on some level truth and justice do come out, even if too little to late.

There is much more work to do in our society to acknowledge what has gone on and been given a blind eye or even a wink and a nod instead of a resounding outcry and complete moral outrage.

It is long past time to demand the end of this ongoing evil in our communities, workplaces, and to our dear children. 😉

(Source Email: SAR Academy)

Happy Father’s Day

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So it’s Shabbat and that’s one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 


Yes, this was before digital photography!


I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive–I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 


This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 


My parents are gone now to Hashem–already 2 and 3 years–and I still can’t believe it. 


At the annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day–it’s just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 


For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 


Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another–this is what life is all about.


Father’s Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children–to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!


So I’m crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). 😉 


(Source Photo: My Girls)

Does Unwanted Justify Murder?

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This sign pasted all around Washington, DC states that:

“An unwanted fetus would support a woman’s right to choose”

This means that a baby who isn’t wanted potentially grows up to be abused and would rather not have been born.

However, can anyone really say this with a completely straight face?

Sure, some types of abuse can be so terrible that perhaps death is preferable.

But other times, unwanted children become loved or at least accepted children or otherwise make great things out of their lives!

And parents who didn’t think at the time that they could do handle a child, find that they adapt or mature, and are better parents than they even expected. 

Unwanted for an unborn baby shouldn’t necessarily mean an abortion anymore than any other unwanted person in your life should mean that you can just terminate them.

We aren’t G-d and we can’t just get rid of people we don’t like or want. 

If that was indeed the case, there probably wouldn’t be many of us left in the world. 

Of course, there should be exceptions for abortion in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or a clear and present danger to the life of the mother or child. 

Otherwise, a life is a life, and a fetus is a person with a soul like any other from the Maker of heaven and earth. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bonding and Independence

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It’s an interesting phenomenon between parents and children. 


Parents (with G-d as the third partner) birth and raise their beautiful children. 


It is in a way a thankless job that we all savor and do with love, joy, and even gratitude just to have the opportunity. 


From sleepless nights to dirty diapers, homework to honing on how to be a mensch, family outings to school trips, braces to bar/bat- mitzvahs, birthdays to sleepover parties, shopping trips to college choices, as parents there is nothing we won’t do for our children. 


Yet, the role of children is to learn and grow to be independent. Children must spread their wings, so they can function as their own adults and parents one day (and hopefully before they are 33 and still living in mom and dad’s house)!


Yet to a parent, a child is always their child, no matter how big, smart, or successful they are (and even when, G-d willing, they surpass their parents in height, good looks, and achievements).


My father used to say, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that it’s a harsh world out there and the family always needs to stick together.


As children of Holocaust survivors, I learned that we can’t stray to far (or far at all) from either our religion or family, because otherwise, “We let Hitler win.”


We grew up living next to my grandparents (1 block away) and later in life, we always lived right near my parents as well. 


I watched TV and ate salami sandwiches with my grandmother and doted over my grandfather who sat on the bimah in his big chair as the president of our then struggling synagogue in Manhattan. 


Similarly, my parents were like surrogate parents to my own children and regularly babysat, picked the kids up from school/camp, made Sabbath meals, and happily spent time with them doing whatever. 


My parents were always there to advise, guide, lend a hand and support…no matter the cost to them, as my father used to say, “I would go through fire for my family” and this–his devotion and integrity–I knew was the utter truth. 


In turn, I tried to be a good son and although I disagreed and fought with my parents (mostly my dad) on many issues (often religious and sometimes politics as remember them), I knew they loved me dearly and I them.


As my dear parents are now gone, and I have become (slightly) a helicopter parent myself with forever worries about how my kids are doing, I know that they need to be independent–and that (more than) sometimes means making mistakes or falling down, and hopefully getting right back up again on their feet.


It is hard to learn that as parents, in many cases, we are just spectators–not that we know everything, we don’t, but the maternal and paternal instinct is to safeguard our children whom we love and adore. 


Kids need three things to individuate successfully: stability, consistency, and safety. Absent those, you run the risk of unhealthy knotted bonding and stunted separation anxiety. 


Everyone needs to lead their own lives–we really only have one life to live. Yet, as family, we are very much the foundation and part of their inner strength for everything that follows from their determination, hard work, and blessings from Above. 


For parents and children, it is critical to balance the need for healthy separation and independence with love and bonding that is timeless.


We have to “let go and let G-d” and let our Children. 


The parents are the past and the children are the future, but we mean everything to each other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Help Find Missing Children

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Coming out of the mall into the parking lot, I saw this poster lying on the ground. 


It was a flyer to help find a missing child. 


Every time, I see something like this, I just have to take a big gulp and deep breath, as this seems like one of the scariest things that can happen to a child and their parents.


A child is dependent on it’s parents, and when they go missing G-d forbid, the fear of in whose hands they might fall and what may be done to them is unthinkable. 


The goal is to get the word and pictures out to find the child as quickly as possible. 


From 2002, statistics show about 800,000 children go missing every year (or about 2,000 per day)–that is unbelievable!


Of those, about 204,000 were family abductions, 58,000 were non-family abductions, a 115 were taken by a stranger, and the rest were mostly run-aways.


About 1 in 5 runaways are considered likely victims of child sex trafficking. 


A 1997 study showed only 5% of non-family abductions even get reported to police and entered in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)–many may not enter a report when a child is gone just a few days or it may get filed under other categories like homicides or sexual assaults. 


In the 1972 and 1981, there were tragic cases of missing children Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, both killed at age 6, with Etan’s remains supposedly thrown in the garbage in Soho (he was never found) and Adam’s located in a drainage canal in Florida. 


Etan was the first missing child whose pictures were put on the back of milk carton. 


In 1983, the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, May 25, was designated National Missing Children’s Day.


In 1984, the Walshes and other child advocates established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) “to help find missing children and prevent child victimization”–shockingly before this there was no coordinated federal and state mechanism for search efforts.


– NCMEC tip hotline (1-800-The Lost) has received over 4.3 million calls in the last 32 years and they have facilitated the return of 227,000 missing children.


In 1996, America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) was set up as a a child abduction emergency alert system; it was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old abducted and murdered in Texas. 


– AMBER Alerts, between 1997 and 2015, were credited with the safe recovery of 723 children. 


My heart goes out to these children and their families! 


Anything that each of us can do to help with the desperate situation of missing children and their safe recovery is worth not only our attention, but our utmost vigilance and helpful tips. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology Hope For The Future

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Ok, this gives me tremendous technology hope for the future. 

This 4-year old kid is working diligently on her smartphone, while her mom is shopping not far away in the clothing store at the mall. 

She didn’t seem to care about the clothes hanging all around her or the fun in the mall or really anything else at all…she was content with her tech!

And while I certainly believe in work-life balance and in kids being able to really jsut be kids, there was just something so amazing about the promise of technology, especially for those who are now growing up with it. 

After all, it was very cute how intent this kid was with all the technology power right in the palm of her hands, and I could easily see a budding CIO in the making here. 

And of course, with even better and more capable technology in the future. 

Through technology and belief, we can find hope in the impossible. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)