Those Were Different Days

Wow, those were different days…


When the stores still had stuff on the shelves. 


And you could go in without waiting outside for half an hour for social distancing. 

With everyone wearing protective masks and obsessively washing their hands, so please G-d not to get sick. 


Then we were happy!


Now we are all just scared. 


Even if some people are pretending they aren’t.  


It’s more what we still don’t know then what we do. 


And how things can unravel so quickly.


Makes us all appreciate what we had, and hopefully what we’ll have again. 


Shabbat Shalom!  😉


( Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there. 


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.  😉


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Jerusalem Center of The World

I love this map by Heinrich Bunting, a German Protestant pastor and cartographer. 


This beautiful artist and thoughtful map was published in 1581.


It shows the 3 continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa as 3 leaves of a clovers with Jerusalem at the center. 


Jerusalem, Israel is the focus, nexus and crossroad between these 3 worlds of Western, Asian, and African civilizations. 


Israel is so multi-cultural and holy to the 3 major monotheistic religions of the world (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism).  


Light, healing, peace, and prosperity should emanate from Jerusalem to the whole world and G-d should bless us from his heavenly abode.  😉


(Source Photo: Wikipedia)

Assad’s Time Is Up

One year ago in April, the U.S. unleashed 59 cruise missiles on an air base in Syria that was involved in chemical attacks on civilians.


That was a warning message.


Today, the attacks against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons, continues in Syria unabated. 


There are now over 500,000 killed in Syria. 


That includes over 14,000 children killed by snipers, machine guns, grenades, IEDs, barrel bombs, gas attacks, and even torture and execution. 


In 2016, almost 1,500 were killed in one chemical attack alone by the Assad regime.  


Two weeks ago, Syria’s sponsor, Russia is accused of using the most deadly of chemical nerve agents to poison a former spy and his daughter in the UK. 


It is high time for the U.S. to intervene and send a very definite message against the use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate killing and to take out Assad. 


Assad is a ruthless dictator with the blood of innocents on his hands and his continued use of WMD flies in the face of civilized society and sets a tone where this or worse can and will be used in the future. 


The U.S. needs to reset the bar on the use of these dangerous weapons by sending a clear message that those who use it indiscriminately will pay the ultimate price. 


We already provided a warning message in April last year. 

The Assad regime, Russia, axis of evil Iran, and Hezbollah terrorists all need to get the message from us loud and clear that red lines will not be crossed without paying a very serious price–and that all their efforts at expanding their malevolent reach across that region have been for naught. 


Assad is the ultimate April Fool if he thinks that a cruise missile isn’t going to land on his head this time around and it will be very well-deserved indeed. 


For all the civilians and children, and for all the future generations–the time is up. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Defeat ISIS

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Why are we trying to defeat ISIS?


Yesterday, they gave Axis of Evil Iran some payback. 


Iran, the #1 global sponsor of terrorism, got terrorized.


In a brazen attack on Iran’s parliament and shrine, ISIS attacked these hardened targets.


Now, while all terrorism is terrible and should be condemned, isn’t there an old saying:


“Fight fire with fire.”


In this case, sadly but maybe the truth is the only way to fully defeat terrorism is by:


The only way to win the war on terror is to let terror fight terror!


No, we should not resort to such barbarism!


But as the world allegedly did in the Iran-Iraq war (and so many other conflicts), we armed both sides and let them go at it.


Similarly here, let ISIS and Iran’s terrorists duke it out until they are both gone for good or hopefully they come to their senses and stop the madness once and for all!


Civilians are innocent and should never be targets, but the terrorists killing the terrorists is fair game.


Sure, carrots are preferable to a stick, but have any of the carrots worked at all or are we not at a global terrorism all time high after 16 years fighting the war on terror since 9/11.


Why wait until ISIS and/or Iran hits us again and again with terror wave after terror wave or eventually with unfathomable weapons of mass destruction?


Devil kill devil–and let peace and sanity reign supreme for the rest of the civilized world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poverty Stinks

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A lady dropped these placards around on the Metro yesterday with a little pack of tissues. 


It says:

“Hi, I have 2 kids and I’m a single mother and I have no job. If you can please help me for food and for rent. G-d bless you. Thank you.”


It is heart-wrenching, the poverty!


People without food or shelter. 


Many without medicine and proper clothing. 


Basic things that most of us take for granted.


It takes so little for everything to go to sh*t. 


Both individually and also societally. 


The world can be a cruel, cruel place. 


But people can open their hearts and wallets to help others. 


Also, advocate for people that are less fortunate. 


Imagine G-d looking down and what does he see from us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Time Travel Is Real

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Sure, we can travel space…from continent to continent, into the depths of the oceans, and to the far reaches of outer space.


But can we also travel time?


Yes, and we regularly do!


Whether individually, in our minds eye, we go back and forth in time–remembering poignantly the memories of the past with regret or with joy and thinking forward in time whether worrying what could happen or eagerly look forward and hope for a brighter future. 


Similarly, as a human collective, we can travel back and forth in time well past our individual recollections and remember, celebrate, memorialize, or eulogize what came before us through generations and millennia and even plan great innovations, feats, and civilizations well into the future. 


Time is but a shadow that is cast off us from the our great Heavenly Father who shines his grace upon us by his creation and is himself timeless. 


In the shadow of time, we can glimpse the externalism of what supersedes our mortality and the significance of us as a speck in time amidst the greatness that lies across the reaches of space and time–that is the soul of the matter. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Future Home For Mankind

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Thought these artist renderings of the Trappist-1 Star were awesome. 


NASA discovered this star and 7 Earth-size planets around it that could conceivably have water and sustain human life. 


As we continue to gobble up Earth’s resources and build incredibly powerful weapons that may one day soon destroy it, we need to have a viable Plan B.


Hence, the race to find another planet(s) with resources and environmental conditions where human civilization can survive and thrive.


I’m not sure what is more exciting than finding that magic planetary home of the future, where everything is new and pristine again like the Garden of Eden.


A place to go where hopefully we take not only the bits and bytes of our current world, but also the lessons learned to do it better again. 😉


(Source Photo: NASA JPL here and here)

Pardon Elor Azaria

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This is an open letter to Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin.


And the purpose is to ask for the kind consideration of a pardon for Israeli Soldier, Elor Azaria. 


Elor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for killing a terrorist that had stabbed an Israeli soldier last year. 


The terrorist had already been incapacitated and lay on the road when Elor, just aged 19, fired the final shot to the terrorist’s head. 


While I certainly don’t condone excessive use of force, I think it is important to take into consideration the context of the times when this happened, which was virtual daily terrorist attacks, including stabbings, shootings, vehicle rammings, and homicide bombings across the country, and especially in and around the eternal capital, Jerusalem. 


No one knows how to fight terrorism better than Israel, which has suffered since it’s founding in 1948 by enemies who have sought its destruction and throwing it’s entire populace–dead or alive–into the Mediterranean Sea.


The IDF soldiers who defend the people and country are heroes not only to Israelis, but to all of us around the world who support the Holy Land, and especially the establishment of a homeland for Jews, 70 years after the Holocaust wiped out 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children. 


As Jewish people, we follow the Torah’s commandments and pride ourselves on the adherence to the highest standards of morality, in all situations. 


Yet even as we cling to the strictest of moral compasses, G-d commands us to “utterly wipe out Amalek,” and the oral law teaches us the general dictum that “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”


The IDF is known as one of the most humane armies in the world, despite the circumstances where they are literally fighting for their existential survival every day.


While perhaps, we can sit in judgement and exclaim that Elor should not have taken that fateful shot that day, surely under the circumstances of the time, we can understand why he would want to fully neutralize the enemy, who very possibly could’ve been hiding explosives for a suicide bombing, which are common terrorist tactics that Israelis have suffered more than their share of.


Growing up, I remember many of the major Israeli wars as well as the Intifada, wars of attrition–and throughout, we around the world worried most anxiously, prayed to the L-rd for his mercy, and gave charity as the dead and wounded piled high to the point where basically every Israeli family has been personally and profoundly impacted. 


For a year now, Elor has suffered through the courts and the press and has also been demoted to a private…he has suffered enough in defense of his people. 


Yes even terrorists have rights, but we must remember that the victims must have more rights, and the IDF need to be given the benefit of the doubt in their self defense and the latitude to do their most difficult of jobs defending the people of the Promised Land and by extension all people of faith. 


If we don’t defend the defenders, then in essence we are aiding the terrorists and those that seek our own destruction.


I ask for the sake of people all over the world under attack by the wave of global hate and terrorism that Elor be pardoned, so that we uphold the IDF in the highest esteem and with the utmost gratitude for protecting us from the true evil that targets and threatens all of us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

To MARS and Beyond

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So excited about the new show called MARS (and yeah, it’s on National Geographic). 

I watched the season premier and it was awesome!

They did this cool combination flipping between the non-fiction of the here and now on Earth in 2016 with all the plans and advances being made to go to settle Mars someday, and the fictionalized future 2033 actual voyage and colonization there. 

The spaceship, rovers, colony are all pretty amazing and it seems so real like we’re practically there!

Elon Musk (SpaceX) does a nice job explaining the vision and the reusable rockets they are focused on to get us cost-effectively to the Red Planet and beyond. 

The imperative is clear for us becoming a true multi-planetary species, so that we drastically reduce (hopefully to zero) the risk of an extinction level event to humanity.

There was a good quote that I remember, something like:

“We go into the dark, so others can follow the light.”

The leap forward of us actually making it to and colonizing Mars is so mid-boggling great that just about everything else literally pales in comparison. 

Mars is just the first real step…after that the possibilities are truly endless. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to NASA Jet Propulsion Lab)