Prayer For Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new Times of Israel post with a heartfelt:

Prayer for Rosh Hashanah.


May it be truly a year of blessings. 


Wishing everyone a sweet and happy New Year!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa

Thought this was a beautiful wall hanging in a local restaurant here. 


Three golden Hamsas!


Hamsa is symbolic for the protective hand of G-d. 


Three is a number for “chizuk”  (strengthening) that signifies something is firmly established. 


The three Hamsas together is a potent representation for G-d’s protection, mazel (good fortune), happiness, health, prosperity, and peace. 


Oh G-d, we pray that you show us your endless divine mercy and bless us with all that is for the good. 


Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Worry–Be Happy!

Happy Friday everyone!


Yesterday, someone gave me a couple of these bright yellow smileys–one on the back of each of my hands. 


I was going around waving these happy faces all day.  


Of course, sitting in meetings was a little weird with these on, but then again, maybe that is part of setting a colorful and happy tone. 


It’s funny how a little smile sticker can make the whole world seem right again. 


Maybe we can learn to live life, love life, and make the most of every single day. 


(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)

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization’s office. 


I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 

“What people are saying:
You are making a difference.”


Later in the sign, it says:

“The work you do is important.”

Isn’t this really what is critical to people–that what they do is important. 


Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 


And sure, we’d like something left over to save for a rainy day. 


But our lives are more than materialism. 


We are spiritual beings inside. 


At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!


– That we are touching people’s lives. 


– That we will be remembered for the good we did. 


– That our good deeds and words will live on. 


– That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 


– That we’ve contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 


– That we’ve shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 


When we make a difference, it’s about so much more than what money can buy. 


It’s about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rich, Famous, and Suicide

So I can’t believe that Kate Spade (55) committed suicide — Hanging. 


What an amazing fashion designer–so much to live for!


Famous for her gorgeous handbags (that used to be the business my dad was in too). 


Her net worth was $150,000,000!


Why does someone so beautiful, successful, rich, and famous take their life???


Ultimately, none of these things make happy or meaning in life!


Still, it is incredibly hard to understand seemingly having so much and throwing your life away–unless of course, we consider terrible things like severe depression and other horrible illnesses that can break anyone. 


Yet, there seem to be so many of these hugely successful people that take or lose their lives so young and with still so much to give the world:


Alan Turing (41) — Cyanide


Alexander McQueen (40) – Hanging 


Amy Winehouse (27) — Alcohol 


Chris Benoit (40) — Broken Neck


Christine Chubbuck (29) — Shooting


Dana Plato (34) – Overdose


Ernest Hemingway (61) — Shooting


Jerzy Kosinski (57) — Overdose


Kurt Cobain (27) — Shooting


L’Wren Scott (49) — Hanging


Lucy Gordon (28) — Hanging


Marilyn Monroe (36) — Overdose

Michael Jackson (50) — Overdose


Mike Alfonso (42) – Hanging


Prince (57) — Overdose


Robbin Williams (63) –Hanging


Sawyer Sweeten (19) — Shooting

Sylvia Plath (30) – Gas Oven 


Vincent Van Gogh (37) — Shooting


Virginia Woolf (59) – Drowning 


Whitney Houston (48) — Drowning 

G-d should have mercy and help to take away the pain and suffering from people so that they can live and not die prematurely anymore. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)