Synagogue or Sickness?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Synagogue or Sickness?

When I was a kid and my father would {strongly} encourage me to go to synagogue. My father was a man of deep faith and he used to say warningly to me: “It’s better to go to synagogue than to the hospital.” Obviously, he was implying that if I didn’t follow G-d’s word, then G-d forbid, he would punish me and instead of going to Shul, I would go to the hospital. Maybe not the best way to teach someone to want to go to prayer services, but I know he meant it out of complete love for me and ultimately for my best.


Yet ironically, now with coronavirus preventing us from practicing the many communal aspects of our faith, so many of us can only but wish that we could just go to synagogue to celebrate the holidays and Shabbat together once again. Unfortunately, for now at least, we don’t even have the option to go to synagogue⁠—the choice has been taken from us. G-d willing, hopefully soon, we can once again go⁠—with willingness and love⁠—not only to pray at synagogue, but also to the holy Third Temple in Jerusalem itself.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Dog Diet

Funny story from a wonderful relative of mine…made me laugh during this coronavirus outbreak.

——————-

“I interrupt the COVID-19 pandemic to bring you this lil story…

Last night I went to Sam’s Club to buy a bag of food for my dogs.


Already in line, a woman behind me asked me if I had a dog.


I stare at her (those who know me will imagine my gaze 🤔😳) …but then why would I be buying dog food…right? 😝😝


So on impulse I told her no, that I didn’t have a dog, that I was starting the dog food diet again, and that I probably shouldn’t because I ended up in the hospital the last time, but 15 pounds less!

I told her that it was the perfect diet and that all you had to do is carry the kibbles in your pocket and eat one or two every time you feel hungry (I have to mention that practically everyone in line was interested in my story).


Frightened, the woman asks me if I ended up in the hospital because the dog food had poisoned me. I answered…of course not!

I was admitted because I bent down to smell the butt of a bulldog and I was hit by a truck 😂😂😂

I thought the man behind her was going to have a heart attack…he was laughing so hard!

…Let’s continue promoting reading! 😁

I have to confess…I posted this to make you smile. It’s your turn to copy/paste it and make someone else laugh.


We need to laugh more! Have a GREAT DAY😄😄😄”


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 


I hate going to the hospital–who doesn’t?


But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 


I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 


This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 


Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:

This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  


Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we’ll saw your leg off!


I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor–I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.


He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn’t want to get caught under their knife. 


So that’s certainly some apprehension going in to this. 


The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 


But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn’t have any, so the lady asks for “proof of homelessness.”


I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.


They wouldn’t do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  


I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 


While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don’t get that need it, and pray that we as a “caring society” will do better. 


Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Two Beautiful Hearts

So a very nice elderly lady we know from synagogue took a bad fall and broke her leg really badly…like in half.


She put up on Facebook that she had undergone surgery, had a metal rod and plate inserted in her leg, and was recovering in the hospital–and she wanted visitors. 


My wife saw the message on Facebook, and we ran over to the hospital to see how she was and spend some time with her to try and cheer her up. 


Considering how badly she had been hurt, she was actually in amazingly good spirits. 


A couple of her neighbors were there in the hospital visiting her as well. 


One of them had actually heard her screams from the backyard where she had fallen by her pond and had helped keep her from going into shock, cradled her head in her lap, and called for rescue services.


When I commented how amazing she was and that she was a real hero pointing to the heart–she said it was really nothing, and went on to say”

I have two hearts!


And she pointed to one on the left and one on the right. 


I thought to myself that really we should all have two hearts like that to care and to give to others. 


One heart is us alone. 


Two hearts are when we join with others. 


“Two hearts that beat as one”–one for caring and one for giving. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Flower 4 Monday

Flower.jpeg

Just wanted to share this beautiful flower that I came across on the hiking trail yesterday. 


I have never seen a flower with pedals of pink and white candy stripes like this. 


Like a candy cane or perhaps the outfits that volunteers helping people at some hospitals wear. 


It also has these yellow buds in the center, which add to it’s eloquence.


What magnificent creations that G-d has bestowed on us to enjoy. 


Hope this is a little something to cheer up your Monday and make you even more productive this week. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Like Saving The Whole World

Save A Life.jpeg

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

“He who saves one life…It is as if he saves a whole world.”


For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!


Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves…their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!


Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have–what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 


Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 


My thoughts and prayers are with him. 


This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it’s time for the doctors–with G-d’s help–to save his life.


I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn’t there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in “exploratory” to find out what the heck was going on.


And thank G-d that they did–they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn’t be writing to you all today. 


I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.


I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Flashback Holocaust

Holocaust -Prints
So I wanted to share this amazing and scary story (true) that happened to me a number of years ago. 


I went with my daughter to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 


One of their exhibits is of a cattle car train used to transport Jews in the Holocaust to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. 


I remember how frightening it was to see this actual train car (the likes of which I had previously only seen in the movies) where hundreds of thousands of people were herded aboard like animals for the torturous trip to their ultimate murderous and inhuman deaths. 


At the exhibit, I’m not sure that I was supposed to do this, but being a very tactile person, I reached out to touch the train car, maybe partly because I could not believe this was the real thing where such human horrors had occurred. 


Immediately upon touching it, something happened to me–for a moment, everything went black and then I experienced an intense flashback (like being transported back in time and place) to literally being there with the actual people stuffed into these cattle cars–without food, water, sanitation, or enough air to breath–and I could see up close their anguished faces, and actually hear them screaming.


First, I thought I have a vivid imagination and that all the studies on the holocaust and my family being survivors had really had an impact on me. 


But then something else happened to me. 


When I left the Holocaust Museum, I started to get a crazy sharp pain in the side of my neck. Not a soar throat, but like my throat just wasn’t working right. 


I tried to sort of ignore it, but over the course of the day, it got worse and worse, as my breathing was becoming ever more difficult, and it felt like I was actually choking to death–my life was in danger. 


I was rushed to the hospital emergency room, and at first they weren’t sure what was happening to me, and so they started a whole series of tests. 


Crazy enough the tests revealed a deep tissue infection right in the side of my neck, and based on the danger to my breathing and swallowing, the doctors came in to talk with me about doing emergency throat emergency. 


I couldn’t believe what was happening–out of the blue, I touched that death car to Auschwitz and next thing I know, I had a severe tissue infection and my life was hanging by a thread. 


Again unexplainably, but thank G-d miraculously, overnight the dangerous infection literally just disappeared as mysteriously as it was born into my neck tissue–the doctors could not explain it!


The Holocaust which claimed six million Jewish lives–men, women, children–in perhaps the most evil and hideous human event in history, and felt like I had just been transported back in time and touched not just the car, but the actual history and event itself. 


I am left with this mysterious event in my life, it was scary and dangerous, and when they say don’t touch the exhibits, I think I will listen next time. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)