Ramath Orah Synagogue

So the other day, I received this wonderful email from someone working on the 75th anniversary of Ramath Orah Synagogue on the Upper West Side in Manhattan where I grew up. 


My grandfather (Opa), Simon Blumenthal, had served as the President of that synagogue for many wonderful years.


I remember always being so proud of him for his dedication and hard work for the community. 


I look up to him when he got up to give the announcements at the pulpit. 


And he built the beautiful center bimah, the special succah downstair with the roof that opened up to the sky at holiday time, and made many other truly impressive improvements to the synagogue. 


He and his wife, my grandmother (Oma), Hilda Blumenthal were an absolutely beautiful couple and the finest of people. 


My parents, Fred and Gerda Blumenthal, continued in their footsteps and to be members at Ramath Orah long after we had moved away to Riverdale, and they were contributors to the shul and attended the annual synagogue dinners for many years. 


Even though the synagogue was mainly filled with elderly people at the time, we always knew and prayed that it would become revitalized again, which it did and is now. 


Pictured at the bottom is me as a kid sitting with a talit over my shoulder and in my grandfathers (the President’s chair) in the front of the synagogue.


Aside from leading and singing the regular Yigdal and Adom Olam prayers, I loved to sit with my father and grandfather in synagogue.


We prayed together, and we stayed together as a family and community. 


I miss them all so much, but am sure they are up in Heaven together sitting in the Big Synagogue in the sky basking in the light of Hashem and watching over me and my family today!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Fulfilling Dying Children’s Wishes

I am just so impressed with this charity…the Make A Wish Foundation


They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness–and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!


What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 


Whether it’s letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)–who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation–to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 


Seeing the joy on the faces of these children–despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations–seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 


I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back–and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 


Again, there are truly good people out there–who don’t just live for themselves–but who think about and give generously to others. 


Life is not just about “I” but about all the people we can reach and uplift.


Cena isn’t just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 


And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)