Israel 2020: Day 4

Wow what an amazing day in Jerusalem!


We went to the Israel Museum (the best museum that I have ever been at), the Shrine of the Book with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the best part was a tour of the Israeli Knesset. 


One of the interesting facts that I learned was that the 120 seats in the Knesset is in the shape of the menorah, and I loved seeing Herzl’s picture facing the speaker (front left).


Also, got to see the Israel Declaration of Independence with all the amazing signatories as well as the most beautiful Chagall paintings!


Inside the Knesset, all I could say to my wife is what a tremendous zechus (merit) it is to be able to be here today in this great hall where the modern laws of the State of Israel are made just as they were thousands of years ago by the Great Assembly of the Israelites.  


We are living in the most amazing of historical and religious times. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 


Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 


Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.


Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:

Gedaliah didn’t fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.


I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 


Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur–fasting and atonement. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Invasion of Dinosaur

So what’s with the invasion of dinosaurs. 


First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.


Second one is actually on someone’s terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.


Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 


Certainly, dinosaurs aren’t cute and cuddly–even the plush ones from Whole Foods–they’d eat you and I for dinner if they could!


So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?


Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 


In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great–almost endless–potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 


From this context, I guess what’s really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!


Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 


Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles–and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats–but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can’t or don’t?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Greatest Museum of Them All

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So the greatest museum of them all is scheduled to open in just 3 months!


The Museum of the Bible.


Right here in Washington, D.C.–a few blocks from the Capitol. 


There is a wonderful video on their website


It’s 430,000 square feet and 8 stories floors. 


With two 40-feet-high bronze doors that look like the Ten Commandments. 


And an overall tall and narrow shape with a curved roof that reminds me of Noah’s Ark.


It encompasses: 


Religion.


History.


Art. 


It all comes together here. 


There is an interesting display of all the different versions of the Bible.


But what it all points to is how similar we all really are. 


The emergence of faith in The One G-d who created us all–his children–and the foundation in the words of His book. 


Yes, we share in common much more than what separates us. 


If we can just see ourselves in His eyes and be the people we can be and were meant to be. 


The museum should be an inspiration to be better, to be brothers, to have peace, to partner and progress to the future.


With our faith sustaining us, and the Bible and our conscience as our guides, we can overcome. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If I Could Get Back Time

Past Present Future

My good friend, Jacob Elbaz, taught me this awesome saying in synagogue today:

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“Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a present. “

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Another way that my dad taught me is this:

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Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. 

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Hope you enjoy these!

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

Silence In The Face Of Ongoing Terror And Murder

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In the recent wave of terror attacks in Israel, in less than 3 months (Oct 1- Nov 23), there have been:


– 21 Murdered 


– 184 Wounded (20 critically)


Through:


– 74 Stabbings


– 10 Shootings


– 11 Car Rammings


The murdered include Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year old American citizen from Massachusetts. 


Despite the terrorism and the death of an American citizen along with so many other innocent Jews, the superpower country of the world is silent–not calling it reprehensible or deplorable or condemning it or demanding the terrorism stop immediately. 


– Silence, despite about the murder of Jews and even its own U.S. citizen in Israel on November 19.


– Silence, yet signing nuke deals with “Axis Of Evil” Iran–the #1 state sponsor of terrorism (undiminished in 2015) and top abuser of human rights.


– Silence in the face of terror attacks against Jews elsewhere abroad, like the Jewish teacher stabbed and killed in Paris last week by three assailants shouting anti-Semitic insults? 


– Silence through a “no-show” at the Solidarity Rally in Paris with 40 other heads of state in January to denounce the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo and on the Jewish grocery store that killed 17 innocent people. 

Could this perhaps be payback time to one of it’s closest friends and allies for: 


– Continuing settlements for an expanding Israeli population who are surrounded by hostile neighbors that want to throw them into the Mediterranean Sea. 


– For a peace deal with the Palestinians that didn’t materialize without a peace parter that would recognize the Jews States’ right to even exist.


– For Netanyahu’s objection to the Iranian nuke deal that put’s Israel in the crosshairs of a sprouting nuclear regime that threatens annihilation against it. 


Regardless of why, it is abundantly clear that the killing of Jews in Israel and abroad is tacitly being given the green light to continue–and so it’s an open field day for terror and murder of Jews!


Even the generally harsh critic of Israel, Amnesty International, has come out calling the terror against Israel “reprehensible and unjustified” and “a clear contempt for human life.”

The appalling indifference to the murder of Jews by top administration officials, just 70-years after the Holocaust, is being heard loud and clear around the world.   


– It is a sanctioning of terrorism and murder, period. 


– It is reprehensible, period. 


– It is cementing a legacy of blind hatred and blatant discrimination and anti-Semitism that will go down in history, period. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)