@Eastern State Penitentiary

Photos are from my tour of Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia. 

The prison cells were in these tomb thick concrete structures, freezing cold, and completely claustrophobic!

You have to stoop through a tiny doorway to get in and out. 

The cell with the car in it shows how small these prison cells were.  

There is a photo of a cell with a stinking toilet and also the one with a barbers chair. 

Then there is the picture of the fancy cell which is that of Al Capone’s (right after the regular disgusting cell). Pretty sure Capone had some real pull with the warden and guards, and I’m sure they were afraid to cross him.

There was even a synagogue in this frightful gothic-style prison with a light that says Shalom (peace).

One cell had art painted on the walls and had many of these dreamy-looking women in Island type spots so far away from the reality of these horrible prison conditions. 

It was also interesting the the prisoners inside these walls were I’m sure dying to get out, and yet the visitors to the prison were lined up at the ticket booth to get a glimpse inside. 

The whole experience was so full of juxtaposing contrasts. 

I feel like I learned a lot. Overall, a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here! 😉

(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Good People And Bad

So what is one of the hardest lessons in life to learn?


There are really good and holy people out there, but there are also truly bad and evil ones. 


It’s not such a difficult concept, except if you just don’t think that way. 


I think some of us just want to believe that at the heart of it all, people are fundamentally good–or at the very least they struggle in order to fight off the evil impulse.


They are created by G-d.


They have parents and families.


They have challenges and disappointments. 


They have a good soul. 


Or do they?


Perhaps like everything in life–G-d created everything and it’s opposite.


– There is life and death.


– There is light and dark. 


– There is cold and hot.


– There is land and water. 


– There is male and female. 

– There is pleasure and pain.


– There is work and rest. 


– There is holy and profane.


Everything has it’s counterpart.


– In this respect then, there are good people and there are bad.


Not that there aren’t people who are both–they do some good things and some bad.


Just like with everything, you can have greys or mixtures–some of this AND some of that. 


But still, G-d created everything and its opposite.


– Again, there is heaven and hell. 


And yes, there are some people that are perhaps truly good and others that are very bad.


The really good ones–they are holy, they give, they love, they inspire. 


The really bad ones–they are vicious devil wolves. 


That doesn’t mean anyone is completely perfect or imperfect, but as with everything, there are people as there are inanimate objects that function at the extremes. 


Most of us don’t live in the extreme, yet we do see those that we know are examples of each:


We recognize the best and these are people with a heart of gold and a soul that shines light, love, and gives to others.


Similarly, the worst ones are with a heart that is selfish and greedy and a soul that is dark, hateful. and violent.


We don’t like to think of the extremes.


They either are too perfect or too frighteningly evil, but yet they do exist and we know it just as we know life and death, light and dark, cold and hot, land and water, male and female, pleasure and pain, work and rest, holy and profane, and even the destinations of heaven and hell. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)