Impressive Brightline

Just wanted to say how impressed I was with the new Brightline train system in Florida. 

Right now it goes from Miami straight to Fort Lauderdale and then to Palm Beach. 

I took it between Fort Lauderdale and Miami and it was a quick 30 minute ride–no traffic yay!

The trains are modern and sleek, and the stations were automated, clean, secured with guards and scanners, and had a beautiful lounge waiting area (and they announce the train arrival like 10 minutes before it arrives).

Also, the staff was friendly and helpful, and they even came around with a food cart. 

I understand they are adding additional stops for Aventura and Boca Raton. 

I would definitely take this train again–way to go! 😉

(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Capital One Cafe Catastrophe

So I’ve seen the advertisement for Capital One (Bank) Cafes on TV for some time now.


Well I saw my first real one in Fort Lauderdale this week.


It was big, bright, comfortable and had children’s games and a host of meeting and breakout rooms. 


They even gave us two cards for some free coffee at the embedded Pete’s Coffee.


It was a corner store in a large, expensive space. 


It was great place to get some work done or relax. 


But aside for a cash machine or so, there was nothing that I could see having to do with banking in this place. 


Also, there were also almost no customers for the coffee.


Basically, it is totally confusing idea from a marketing and branding perspective–Is it a bank or a coffee house?  And why would I go to Capital One to get coffee or to Pete’s Coffee to do my banking????


While I think that Capital One has literally outdone Starbucks in building a great cafe space, I don’t think anyone will actually get what this is or why it is!


My guess is that whoever came up with this idea is going to be looking for a job within about 6 big money-losing months. 😉


(Credit Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)

Searching For Gold

This guy had some getup on in Fort Lauderdale on the toasty beach. 

He’s in the ocean dressed in a full wetsuit with a mask over his face, a hat on his head, and the headphones over his ears. 

He had a metal detector and wand looking for lost gold in the water right off the beach. 

But didn’t see him find a dime the whole time we were there. 

I can’t believe these guys can actually find enough jewelry on the beach to make this worth while. 

Back and forth with the wand…searching, searching.  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Most Amazing Sculpture

This is the most amazing sculpture that I have ever seen.


Let me explain why?


It looks like a bust of a woman with a fine fabric lace veil over hear head and face.


But believe it or not, the veil is part of the sculpture.


And her eyes are just shadows of it. 


In other words, there is no veil or eyes. 


The museum tour guide pulled out a flashlight and pointed it and her eyes and they were gone. 


How any artist can have such a divine gift to make something like this is really beyond me.


All I can do is stare in complete marvel at this sculpture of a veil covering this woman’s face. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Drive The Tractor

Thank you so much to Rabbi Schneur Kaplan for his wonderful speech today in Downtown Jewish Center Chabad synagogue, Fort Lauderdale.


He told the story about the boy who grew up in Israel as a chasid, but later left chasidism to work the land–he drove a tractor!


Years later, the young man rediscovers his religion and goes back to yeshiva to study, and he is excellent and surpasses many of his peers.


Eventually, he ends up in a one-on-one with the Rebbe–and he waits with baited breath for what the great Rebbe will tell him that will guide his life–will he become a great scholar, Rabbi, shaliach, or head of a Yeshiva.


Then the Rebbe speaks, and says:

“You will be a tractor driver”


The young man is shocked and goes back to studying Torah with even more determination and harder than ever.


Once again, he comes before the Rebbe, and he is anticipating what he will say.


Again, the Rebbe looks deep into his soul and says:

“You will drive a tractor!”


Sure enough, the man now understanding that he has to meet his particular fate head on, goes back to working the Holy Land and driving the tractor.


But in so doing he is able to do outreach to tens of thousands of people who otherwise would have never had the opportunity to be brought close to Hashem through Chasidism.


The message was that we are not all destined to be clones, robots, or do the same thing in life.


The Torah is our guide to serve Hashem and do what is right.


But each of us has our own mission in serving Him and we can achieve greatness and Holiness even when we drive a tractor or do whatever we do.


I am not a Rabbi, but in my own way, I try to raise my family–be a good husband, father, and prior a good son–and also to serve with integrity and a good example in my professional and educational endeavors.


It’s okay that I’m not a Chabad Rabbi doing outreach–that’s not me–although I did meet someone today from my elementary school, Manhattan Day School, that did become just that and we had a nice kiddish lunch with him and caught up together after services.


I am me–and I am okay with me.


I don’t have to be someone else–anyone else.


I can do good being me–and that is what I will try to do with each and every breath of every day.


Whether I drive a tractor (or this cool VW van with a big smiley face), we all serve our Maker.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)