Toys Non-Digital

Interesting set off toys found in a silver pan tray. 


A couple of dogs, some Play-Doh, a crayon, and a fighter plane. 


Off to the side (not pictured) are the Legos. 


Interesting with what competes with video games and phone apps these days. 


(Note: 85% of the world’s toys are now made in China!)


Frankly, there is still a lot to be said for the creative play of yesteryear. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Build Others Up

I saw this in one of the student lounges at the local JCC.


It says:

“Don’t Cut Down Others”


It’s far better to build people up then to tear them down. 


Jut like with trees, it’s better to plant a trillion trees than deforest the Amazon Rainforest. 


Trees are life and people are life. 


Be constructive and not destructive. 


Offer a nice word or compliment; provide an attentive and empathetic ear; give direction with some advice and guidance; lend a hand to someone in need; and in general, be a good influence. 


Unfortunately, too many people default to cutting down the old cherry tree! 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Children’s Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Children’s Voices and Scars.”

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are “destroyed” from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children–those that are still innocent and defenseless–are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:

  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don’t be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can’t as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Only Two, Daddy?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why Only Two Daddy?”

The father goes on to explain that these are the commandments that G-d gave to the Jews (when they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt). He enumerates just two examples: keeping the Shabbat and honoring your mother and father. The son asks, ‘What are the other commandments?’ The father hesitates either not knowing any of the other commandments or simply unable to remember any more of them on the spot. And all of a sudden, the little boy starts wailing to his father: ‘Daddy, why do you know only two, why?’


Knowing the Torah and commandments is not only for ourselves to do what’s rights, but also to pass on the torch to the next generation. It’s not always easy to be good examples, but it’s the challenge we all face. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Video Of Video

We went to the art galleries in Rockville Town Center today. 


They had this video called “Neighbor” by Kanat Akar. 


It’s about the life of a 13-year old refugee boy from Alleppo, Syria who migrated to Anakara, Turkey. 


The video is eerie and hypnotic as it walks you through the eyes of this little boy and the misery of his life. 


While to me it represents the dark side of life, there is so much to be explored and felt from it. 


You can’t watch this without feeling like you are there on this dirty, squalor of a road to nowhere, but wanting desperately to know where it ends.  😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Green Eggs and Ham – דוקטור סוס

So who would’ve thought that Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” comes in Hebrew. 


I watched this video, and loved it!


It is amazing that this can translate over.


One critique that I have is that the book should’ve said that the main character didn’t want to eat the green eggs and ham, because he is kosher (instead of not being hungry or not loving the food).  


But then again, he would’ve had to stick to his guns and not have eaten it in the end.


One other thing that I learned from this video/book, is that even though I am loving learning Hebrew in Ulpan class, I still have the vocabulary of a 9 year old.  LOL


But I’m learning… 😉


(Thank you to my daughter, Rebecca for sharing this with me.)

Best Baby Carrier Ever

This is just a great picture!


I have to call this out as the best baby carrier ever. 


What a combination between a kangaroo pouch and a cozy snugli.


Anyway, it’s comfortable, fun, and good-looking.


Can’t you just see your baby in this?  

(Thank you to my son-in-law for sharing this with me)

Emo Art

So I’ve been wanting to post this example of this special art form from my daughter, Rebecca. 


She makes this novel art called, “EMO”, which stands for emotional.


In this art she mixes children and monsters–and it depicts how innocent kids have to deal with the monsters they find in an often unscrupulous and morally-tarnished society. 


I love the feelings and message of this art in that it encapsulates how children enter this world in purity, but how so many bad people and things around them (and us) can corrupt that. 


I always learned that the goal for each person was to leave the world a better place then the way we found it; however, I think a more personal goal should also be for us to leave here as better human beings than the day we arrived.  


Challenging ourselves–learning and maturing–yet at the same time keeping that essence of decency and integrity of mind, heart, and deed–that is a life where we can grow up, but not turn into the morally-bankrupt monsters that we see all around us. 


(Source Art: Rebecca Ochayon)

Training Them To Be Like Us

So I saw this in the supermarket. 


This kid was pushing the shopping cart with groceries in it. 


And a little sign at the top that says:

Customer in Training


His mom is nearby with the big shopping cart full of even more groceries. 


It’s interesting how we teach our kids to be just like us and at the same time to be not like us. 


They emulate some things and they reject others.


The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


But no two apples are the same either. 


Teaching is an important component of parenting and schooling. 


We need to impart important lessons from the past, so children don’t have to recreate the wheel in the present and future. 


But spitting out little clones is not helpful to innovation and the engine of “what’s next.” 


Sometimes, I envision that there is a really big war–maybe World War III–nukes are used and all our bits and bytes are wiped out, and we are thrown back to the Stone Age. 


All the teaching is evaporated in the vapor of the blasts.


All that’s left in what’s in the soul of the remaining. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)