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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Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 


It’s an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 


And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 


The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.


Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 


We are alive, but life can be hard. 


We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.


The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.


Breath, beat, live…good health is unbelievably precious.


Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 


Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Cherry Tomato B4 Your Pie

So this was funny at our work social hour today. 


The person organizing it brought in snack foods–pretzels, cookies, chocolates, and apple pie. 


Of course, there were also some token vegetables and dip. 


So as you’d expect with all the junk food on the table, no one was eating the vegetables.


So one colleague goes:

Eat a cherry tomato and then you can have some pie.


The response from you know who was:

Ah, if you want us to eat a tomato then you better just put it inside the pie!


By the end, there was no more pie, but there sure were a lot of leftover cherry tomatoes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Watch Out For That Gopher Hole

So this was funny this week. 


I hurt my back and leg and am going around with a (little) limp. 


So one of my colleagues at work sees me struggling-limping down the long hall here, and they say to me this funny thing:

Did you fall in a gopher hole?


I had to take an aback because I never heard that phrase before. 


Working outside the city here though, where a lot of people live in the burbs, and we regularly see all sorts of animals around campus, perhaps it wasn’t so outlandish a question.  


Anyway, as I’m limping, I can’t get that funny image out of my head.


I wonder if other people have fallen in a gopher hole and that’s why back problems are so common after all. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to annolyn)

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)

Calories Extreme!

Someone mentioned that they went to the Cheesecake Factory the other day.


They said they bought a slice of cheesecake. 


I asked: “Was it the Oreo Cheesecake?”


They said, “yeah!”


But they went on, “It was too much for one person to eat.”


Uh, you think?  


Check out how many calories are in one piece of this “Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake” –>>1,630!


Yes, that’s one slice, not the whole cake!!!


And over 50% is from fat!


Take all this in context: 
The calories for an average female and male is just 1,900 and 2,500, respectively, if your moderately active. 


So one slice of cheesecake like this Oreo flavor is around 86% or 65% of the total recommended calorie intake for a women or man for the entire day!


What the heck do they put into this cheesecake–butter, cream cheese, sugar by the truckload!


I know it must be good, but does it also have to be this deadly! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Virus, Huh?

So this is an image of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.


Yeah, I never heard of it either. 


It is a virus that attacks and destroys tobacco and other plants. 


Viruses are ugly and evil in that they hurt and kill other living things


Yet in looking at this molecular image, I seriously hate to say it, but it is also beautiful in a way. 


The shape, color, complexity–the design and wisdom embedded in it–what can I say, but even this too is a miracle. 


Sure, it would be better in a mortal sense if there were no viruses to make us suffer and literally eat away at us. 


Yet, surely G-d has a plan even for these nasty virus molecules.  


Do they help us gain immunity to even worse diseases?


Do they help us to use ingenuity to discover, fight, and evolve to withstand their attacks and progress our society in larger ways?


Do they help us learn however horribly to turn to G-d, strengthen ourselves, and somehow try to cope with suffering and loss in life and death.


All sickness is unbelievably horrible and the suffering it causes is truly impossible to understand, and G-d should please, please have mercy on us. 


Yet, looking at this molecular image of even this virus, there is something comforting in the supreme intelligent design and creation of it all.  😉


(Source Andy’s photo of image by Visual Molecular Dynamics)