For Holocaust Remembrance Day

Nazi Throwing Children Into Fire.jpegNazis KIlling Children.jpeg

The photo is self-explanatory to all decent human beings out there.


We can never let evil rule the day.


Good people must stand up and speak out for good.


Never again!


(Source Photo: Sent to me by Minna Blumenthal)

Pain Pain Go Away

Ripped Face
So I am more the emotional type who cries at sad songs or heroic endeavors. 



But with the hip surgery, I have to admit that I have had some moments of literally screaming pain. 



The surgeon said he did about a full half hour of cauterization to prevent another bleed (hematoma) and infection that happened last time…so not sure if this is causing the extra-extra sting. 



Usually when they ask my level of pain, I say like 2-3, because I imagine a 10 being some horrible torture like being sawed in half (while hung upside down–actually saw this in a movie) or flayed of your flesh, burnt alive at the stake, or quartered by horses–or countless variations on these.



Let’s just say, the medieval tormentors had this torture stuff down.



In a way, I almost feel guilty expressing my post surgical pain (sort of child’s play) relative to these made-to-order cruelties.



Of course for pain, the doctors give you medicine, but honestly I don’t like to take these because of side-effects and even addictive properties. 



But the nurse and physical therapist told me not to let the pain get ahead of me, because then it is harder to control it (and also harder to do the full PT and get the benefits from it).



In the hospital, I was amazed that some people had so much pain (i.e. me) and others just sat there in PT seemingly shrugging off the whole experience. 



Still I made it the full loop with the walker the first day (which the therapists told me is maybe 3x what most others do at that point).



Another thing that I am thinking about with pain, is how do you compare emotional and physical pain–which is worse?



The loss of loved ones, deep disappointments, suffering with sickness or disability, anxiety and depression can certainly cause a lot of pain inside–those are the screams that often no one hears.



Also, that hurt can often lead to physical sickness and bodily pain and vice versa–so they are not mutually exclusive.



My father used to tell me that “When you have your health you have everything.”



I think this is partly because if you don’t have your health, you can’t really do or enjoy much else anyway–so good health is sort of a precursor to all other activities and pursuits.



Probably the worst pains are the ones where their is simply no hope of getting better…and you just have to accept the loss or the end. 



The corollary that my father taught me was “Where there is life, there is hope!”



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Noticeably Absent From Auschwitz Liberation Memorial

Auschwitz Concentration Camp
So yesterday was the 70th anniversary memorial of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp,



More than 1.1 million Jews and 100,000 other POWs and ethnic minorities were EXTERMINATED there.



There was forced labor, beatings, torture, starvation, the gas chambers and the crimatoria, the electrified barbed wire and attack dogs, the human experimentation, and every cruelty known to mankind. 



At yesterdays memorial at Auschwitz 50 countries sent delegations “with heads of state leading those from:” 



– Germany

– Austria

– Belgium

– Bulgaria

– Croatia

– Lithuania

– France

– Netherlands

– Poland 

– Switzerland

– Ukraine (even though they are currently fighting a war with Russia!)



And even Russian President Putin “marks day at the Jewish Museum in Moscow.”



It is quite mysterious, why like with the recent Unity Rally in France after the terror attacks there on Charlie Hebdo Magazine and a Jewish grocery store that left 17 dead, that the head of state for the United States was once again noticeably absent.



This time, a meeting in Saudi Arabia took precendence–why of course.



At least, the million plus murdered at Auschwitz got a (prepared) statement to mark their tragic deaths.



What does all this say about our commitment to human rights and fighting blind hatred, discrimination, racism, Islamist terrorism, and outright genocide?  



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ricardo Francesconi)

Let Me Out Of Here

Women In Box
I took this photo in Las Olas. 



This statue of a women in a crate, peering out, is so eerie and awesome to me. 



Reminds me so much of Medieval times when people were punished by being locked up and confined in cages or very narrow prison spaces. 



Talk about claustrophobia?



Anyway, not sure if she is being shipped out or ready to be displayed, but either way, this lady wants out, I am sure. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Solidarity For All Our Children

Solidarity For All Our Children

The global Jewish community has been rocked by the abduction of 3 teenagers (ages 16, 16, and 19) by Hamas, a terrorist organization that rejects peace and is dedicated to “obliterate” Israel .

I saw a photo someone posted on Facebook where it said that the families of these boys had empty seats at their beautiful Shabbat table, and I couldn’t imagine the grief of the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and other family and friends of these poor children.

Walking in the community around Washington, D.C., I see signs such as this with “Bring Back Our Boys” with ribbons tied to trees–and I am deeply moved by people’s expression of grief and hope.

This all happening just weeks after another extremist Muslim group, Boko Haram, abducted over 230 Nigerian schoolgirls, and the rallying cry for “Bring Back Our Girls.”

I read how the these girls are being threatened with being sold in a massive human trafficking crime against humanity and can only imagine the rape and other torture they must be enduring by their captors.

I remember as just a child in day school seeing photos and videos from the Holy Land of what these types of terrorists did to their victims–it was horrific!

Aside from the general torture, beatings, isolation, and starvation, I saw images where they literally wrapped their prisoners in barbed wire, including their genitals–it was not just grotesque, but pure and utter evil.

I never forgot these images of unbelievable cruelty, and wish only for the return of all these children and for the people that would take them to be brought to true justice.

May G-d have mercy on all our children!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Treat People Nice

Treat People Nice

On a recent college visit, I saw this sign hanging on a door.

The quote is by Maya Angelou and it is very powerful:

“People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As human beings in this world, we come and go.

Our time here is finite.

We will be replaced by others.

What is truly memorable about us is our relationships and how we treat others.

When we show kindness to people or when we are cruel to others–these things are never forgotten.

Our interactions are the mark of who we are inside–do we sincerely care about others and the bigger picture or are we just plain selfish?

How about you–can you remember:

  • how that parent who loved you made you feel?
  • how that teacher who taught you made you feel?
  • how that friend who played with you made you feel?
  • how that boss who mentored you made you feel?
  • how that clergy who inspired you made you feel?
  • how that spouse who was your companion made you feel?
  • how those children who looked up to you made you feel?
  • how those colleagues who supported your work made you feel?

I’m sure you can also remember times when people made you feel not so good–perhaps, you scowled or even cursed them under your breath.

Getting results in life is not enough–we can’t do it by stepping on other people and really being successful that way.

Empathy and kindness or a hard heart and cruelty–you will be remembered one way or another. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some Game This Is

I remember as a kid, my grandfather lived down the block from us on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.

He was old and not in the best of health with a heart condition, hearing aids, and more.

One day, he was coming home from the bank, and he went into the elevator in his building.

He was followed by a punk, who after the elevator door closed, proceeded to grab my grandfather and choke him until he was unconscious.

The thug took his wallet and left my grandfather on the floor of the elevator.

Now, today I saw on the news about the Knockout Attack Game–and some “game” this is.

The attacker runs up behind the person unbeknownst and with full force slams their fist against a person head, knocking them unconscious, and when successful, this is done with one punch!

In other cases, an entire gang will attack, punching and kicking a victim until they stop moving.

While I couldn’t locate the exact video that happened in a neighborhood in NY to a Jewish woman, this video of an attack on a Muslim girl in London about a year ago, approximates it very closely.

While some victims of these attacks end up with broken jaws, skulls, shattered teeth, internal injuries, bleeding and more, others are not so lucky and end up dead.

I never forgot what happened to my grandfather and the cowardly schmuck that attacked this old, helpless man–but at least, he apparently did it for the money.

In these knockout attacks, when they ask the attackers why they do it, the response is for the fun and laughs.

What a commentary of our society, when people brutally attack other people–not for money, revenge, self-defense, or principle–but simply to see others needlessly suffer and to take a form of intense joy in it.

Perhaps, there are certain crimes for which the L-rd above must look down and mete out his own version of justice, in a way that restores order to this world of hope and despair.