Ok To Be Ourselves!

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Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 


While perhaps normally I wouldn’t just post this to my blog…


I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.


To hell with all the haters out there!


– The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 


– The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 


– The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.


No more Holocausts…no more bigotry…no more hate–it is enough! 😉

Greatest Museum of Them All

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So the greatest museum of them all is scheduled to open in just 3 months!


The Museum of the Bible.


Right here in Washington, D.C.–a few blocks from the Capitol. 


There is a wonderful video on their website


It’s 430,000 square feet and 8 stories floors. 


With two 40-feet-high bronze doors that look like the Ten Commandments. 


And an overall tall and narrow shape with a curved roof that reminds me of Noah’s Ark.


It encompasses: 


Religion.


History.


Art. 


It all comes together here. 


There is an interesting display of all the different versions of the Bible.


But what it all points to is how similar we all really are. 


The emergence of faith in The One G-d who created us all–his children–and the foundation in the words of His book. 


Yes, we share in common much more than what separates us. 


If we can just see ourselves in His eyes and be the people we can be and were meant to be. 


The museum should be an inspiration to be better, to be brothers, to have peace, to partner and progress to the future.


With our faith sustaining us, and the Bible and our conscience as our guides, we can overcome. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

And It Will Come To Pass

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I was walking today and this is what was in my mind…


And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 


So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.


And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 


None shall stand against you. 


The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 


The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 


Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 


The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 


Be of faith and good courage. 


And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 


The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.


He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 


Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.


Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 


Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.


Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 


Amen, Amen, Amen.   


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Not (Always) Easy

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Sometimes, we see people–especially on social media these days–and they look “all that!”–so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything–so it seems (superficially). 


But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:


– Family

– Health

– Finances

– Work

– School

– Conflict

– Spiritual


Like Helen Keller said: 

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”


I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate–and he was right!


What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way…unfortunately, it’s part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we’re here. 


In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  


Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us–although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.


It’s not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 


It’s certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 


But it’s a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that–life is not easy–and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today Is 6/13

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So today is 6/13.


Yes, check your calendar. 


It only comes once a year. 


613 is the mystical and holy number of commandments in the Torah. 


For more than 2 years (this is not a short-term phenomenon), my family and even some friends have been seeing an inexplicable number of 613 everywhere. 


Here is one from a stock I follow from the other week: Twitter was up exactly 6.13%…and I don’t follow that many stocks. 


Just yesterday, another stock (that been doing terribly…it’s a startup!) is down an enormous 61.3% since I started following it. 

And yet another major stock–of the largest company in Israel and the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world–Teva–is down 16.03 year-to-date.


Nearly every day, we see an endless barrage of license plates, roads, train and plane schedules and physical or URL addresses, get purchase receipts or invoice totals, see number of posts, views, likes, or emails, and even the other day almost booked a hotel with the address….that’s right and only 613!


I am a rational person…maybe almost to the extreme, and what I initially laughed off as a lark or someone’s OCD thing, is beyond any reasonable explanation that I can fathom at this point.


I am left with faith that there is truly some message being sent from the One Above…the question is what is the meaning of the message?


I continue to hope and pray that the message is one of blessings and redemption for mankind…I hope you will join me in this prayer. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Knowable and Unknowable

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So as we all do, I often come across challenging and perplexing issues or problems in life. 


And my nature is to try to understand them, solve them, fix them–is it survival or the challenge or both?


But then we come across some things that are just beyond our [mere mortal] understanding or ability to simply fix them. 


I remember as a youngster learning in Yeshiva about when it says in the Bible that G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he continued to refuse to let the Jews go from their enslavement in Egypt.


And the classic mind-bending question is how could G-d harden his heart if Pharaoh retained free will which we all have to choose good or evil.


Did G-d harden his heart or did he have free will–which is it?  And if G-d hardened his heart, then how could Pharaoh and the Egyptians be punished for something they didn’t fully control? 


One explanation is that by facing the punishing plagues, Pharoah was losing his free will to decide what to do with the Israelites, so by hardening his heart, G-d was actually restoring his free will to choose once again…interesting. 


Of course in life, there is also the philosophical dimensions of so many seeming contradictions such as the cliche about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


Which wins out if one is unstoppable and the other is unmovable?


No, I don’t think these are just riddles, but the testing of the abilities of our human minds to understand further and further into the mysteries of G-d, creation, and the universe. 


So what do we do in life when confronted by things that are seemingly or really beyond our human capacities? 


– We ponder these weighty matters and sometimes we get frustrated and rip our little-left hair out or laugh at ourselves as to why we can’t just get it.


– We look to understand the deeper spiritual meanings of these challenges in the context of our earthly lives. 


– We try to solve and fix what we can within the confines of our spaghetti brain matter and flesh and bone bodies. 


– At the end of the day, we acknowledge our human limitations, and look to the Heavens for answers or at least for Divine guidance and protection along the way.


While we cannot understand everything or always reach our destination that we set for ourselves that should never prevent us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can on our journeys–and letting the next person, and the next person pick up the torch and carry it forward. 


In the Jewish prayers, we say that the matters of the earth are for our exploration and striving, but the ultimate secrets of the Heaven are for G-d alone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jerusalem – Happy 50 Years!

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Just wanted to wish a very happy anniversary to Jerusalem.


It is the 50th year since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, the beautiful and eternal capital of the State of Israel. 


Today in synagogue we celebrated with a special kiddush. 


72 years since the holocaust, and Israel doth live!


In song and dance, in prayer and devotion, in doing good deeds and charity, we celebrate our survival and G-d’s redemption and return of the Jewish people to his promised Holy Land. 


With still so much evil in the world–from brutal dictators, terrorists, human rights abusers, and bullies–it is always time to celebrate the freedom and democracy of America and Israel–who serve as a light unto the nations.


Surely as light can drive out darkness, those good people of faith and integrity can overcome the remnants of evil in this world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)