Dreaming of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Dream of Zion.”

To flourish in the land of milk and honey.

To celebrate the Shabbat and holidays as in the days of old.

To revere the bravery and heroism of the defenders of Israel.

To live and worship as a Jew without discrimination, racism, and hatred.

To fulfill the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Hope you enjoy and we can all one day live the dream! ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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An 80-Year-Old’s Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 


And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. ūüôā


1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:

A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.¬† With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, “You see it just clicks!”


2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:

When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!


3) BURIED TOGETHER:

“When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven.”


4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE

He pointed to his belly and said, “I’m 80 here.” And then pointed to his groin area, and said, “But I’m 20 here!”


5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:

While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and “will never be with a woman over 40…not a day over!”¬† He said, “It’s like an old Cadillac!” Moreover, he said, if a woman is “not perfect” and has a scar like from having her appendix out, “forget it!”


6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:

He said, “I like to write, play¬†guitar and dance.” And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time.¬†


7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:

People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 


8) INFINITELY STUPID:

He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:¬† “You know what that means?¬† This means that there is¬†no¬†limit to how stupid some people can be!”¬†¬†


8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:

I asked what he did for a living, and he said “Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons.”¬† I said, “Wow, you’re very fortunate!”¬† He said, “No, in life, you make your own luck!”


10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:

“You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don’t care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!” I said, “Ok, see you next week and we’ll talk again.”¬† He said, “Maybe I will or maybe I won’t talk to you ever again.”


Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that’s like. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 

Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.


And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 


When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 


Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 


I can’t imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this…so natural, so carefree, so back to living!


Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it’s not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun.¬†


Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!


Perhaps, it’s a lesson about life these days…we’re adults, we’re responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life’s responsibilities.¬†


But maybe, just maybe, there is something–a lot–to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again.¬†


Why do we have to wait until we’re old…too old to work anymore…and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be. ¬†


We can’t run from our responsibilities but isn’t it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.


Life is too short to let it get away from us. 


Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun…those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond.¬†


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jailbird Freedom

So I’m doing laps in the¬†indoor pool.


And out of the corner of my eye, I see this bird swoop in overhead.


But it’s not outside, it’s inside the building enclosure.¬†


The bird dived in through an open door.


Now it was stuck inside. 


It perched itself on a shelf overlooking the outdoors.


But it was stuck behind the glass walls.


The lifeguard tried to swoop it out with the sticks, brushes, and nets for cleaning the pool.


But this bird wasn’t going anywhere.¬†


I asked if it was injured or sick.


He said that the bird was scared, which made sense. 


Over and over again, the lifeguard tried to coax the bird out.


Finally, it took flight and headed straight into another glass pane–BONG–and fell down–SPLAT–onto another ledge.¬†


The lifeguard¬†and I looked at each¬†other¬†— asking whether the bird was still alive or not.


I suggested he call for help, and the advice he was given was just to leave it alone and that eventually, it would find its way out. 


It was time for me to go, but I am still thinking about that trapped bird.


If you love something, you have to let it free.


Everyone and everything should be free (unless they’ve abused that freedom).


Free to come and go, free to express themselves, free to choose, free to act.


Sometimes, when you’re free you run into trouble or into a glass pane.


You need to find your¬†way out and home again to freedom. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Politics On A Cow

I saw this “Antifa” (Anti-Fascist) symbol on this painting of a cow in Washington, D.C.¬†


As a child of Holocaust survivors, I certainly understand and can even sympathize with the view of the anti-fascist movement–certainly, we should all unequivocally¬†appreciate, love, and want to protect freedom and human rights!


However, I think¬†throwing¬†around labels like fascist, perhaps where it is more about political disagreements doesn’t help to identify the really bad actors out there in the world and what they can and even would like to do to harm all of us.¬†


Anyway, I am pretty sure that this cow is no fascist.


I would also like to say that the red and black with this symbol here is way too close to looking like how the genocidal Nazi’s themselves portrayed the dreaded and infamous swastika in¬†red and black. ¬†


It would be great if we use symbols and labels carefully, and let the cows go back to being cows. ūüėČ


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Free And What’s Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”


Yes, this is the home of the free. 


And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.


However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 


So dream big–imagine the very best.


Reach for the stars…


And then work your butt off to make it happen.


Choose carefully. 


No one can have it all.


You have to prioritize.


Also, you need to balance. 


In the end:

Dreams+Hard Work+Blessing From G-d


That’s success by whatever standards you measure.¬†


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)