Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue.

While I understand the rationale to close the synagogues, not to congregate with others and expose ourselves or spread the Coronavirus, I can’t help thinking and believing that what we need now, more than ever, is prayer to Hashem and the mitzvah of Torah study that the synagogue provides to us. Indeed, only in the hands of G-d is the ultimate power of health or illness, and life or death…To me, this Shabbat was not a full Shabbat, because there was no synagogue, no Rabbi’s sermon, no community to talk and share with. I feel robbed of my religion today. I want to be able to go to synagogue and have a real Shabbat. How many other Shabbatot will we have to continue to go through without being able to pray in a minyan, hear the Torah reading, listen to the Rabbi’s speech, and see our community friends?


Many say and I firmly believe that we are on the doorstep of Mashiach and that he is even here among us waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. We’ve survived so much and finally have returned as a people to our homeland of Israel. Now we must survive the final birthing pains of Mashiach and then we will be able to go not only to our synagogues once again, but also to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and learn at G-d’s very footstep in this earthly world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Cool Shabbat Shalom!

A very cool Shabbat Shalom to you!


Congratulations on another week of hard work and accomplishment. 


Now it’s time for a day of spirituality, mindfulness, thanksgiving, and much needed rest and relaxation. 


Heal and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.


A time for Hashem, self, family, and community. 


Shabbat is a true gift from G-d. 😉


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 


Incredibly painful. 


Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 


Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.


One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 


We ran into a neighbor. 


She was nice and asked about what happened. 


I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d’s help. 


She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 


I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 


But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn’t have anyone and how she said it. 


I sort of repeated it quizzically. 


She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 


I said that we’re her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 


This whole thing just made me so upset–no one should be so alone. 


I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “What’s Your Fantasy Synagogue.”

We all go to synagogues that we like in some ways and don’t like in others, but have you ever thought about what your fantasy synagogue would be like if you could make one?Last Shabbat, we were invited for lunch by some wonderful friends who had been sports writers, and the topic of fantasy football came up, where people compete for coming up with the best team by picking their own players and forming their ideal team. I said, half jokingly, wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing with synagogues and pick the best aspects of each and make an ideal house of worship for ourselves where we could pray, learn, grow, and experience holiness and community. 

In the article, I detail “the best of the best” when it comes to synagogues and the ultimate ideal synagogue is of course, in the coming of the Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Rocking Mimouna @Magen David Synagogue

I learnt last night that Mimouna comes from the word “Emunah” which means faith. 


The Mimouna is the celebration at the end of Passover. 


It is a custom from the Jews who lived in Morocco who celebrated hand-in-hand with their Arab neighbors in peace and harmony


this celebration of faith, friendship, and peace that has now become standard in Jewish communities far and wide. 


In the light of the anti-Semitic instances yesterday with the caricature in the garbage New York Times and the Shooting at the Chabad synagogue in San Diego (exactly 6 months after the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue), I say:


Let us have faith in the one true G-d that he will redeem his loving people of all religions and utterly punish the haters and anti-Semites for the evil they are. 


(Source Video and Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Shabbat Shalom!

Love this picture that my daughter took in Israel of the Challahs for Shabbat. 


So fresh and delicious. 


Plenty for all. 


G-d’s blessing for a restful Shabbos.


Thank you for sanctifying us with your mitzvot. 😉


(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

@Sandy Spring Museum Music Jam

So nice to see neighbors from the surrounding communities just getting together to play music and sing along.  


It’s amazing to me the good that people can accomplish when they come together like this. 


This is hopeful and happy. 


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


– More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful…we have to address loneliness,” says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 


Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  


Truly, no man is an island!


Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.


Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 


Alone we die–together we live. 


It’s not just power in numbers, it’s life itself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)