Aliyah: To Go Up

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, The Aliyah Connection.

“As Jewish people yet around the globe plan for their futures, they need to consider carefully “the place that G-d has chosen” and where they and their families will be at the fateful conclusion of the Redemption and the arrival of Mashiach. Perhaps, while the road to Jerusalem requires our dedication and hard work, the choice is not that difficult as the Land of Israel flourishes and the people of Israel yet lives–Eretz and Am Israel Chai!”

Hope you enjoy. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Ochayon) 

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Tisha B’Av @Kotel – Ushering In The Redemption

 

 

 

Last night, as Tisha B’Av (the commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem) was nearing conclusion, we watched these beautiful videos of:

1) The singing of Ani Ma’Amin at the Kotel yesterday in 2018. 
2) An amazing NCSY kumzitz, including at the beginning, the singing of Kol Berama Nishma/Rachel Mivakah at the Kotel a few years ago in 2015.

“A voice is heard in the Heavens, lamentati​on, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children;​ she refuseth to be comforted​ for her children,​ because they are not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded,​ saith the LORD; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy future, saith the Lord; and thy children shall return to their own border. “


Both are so beautiful, and we imagined G-d looking down from the Heavens and being moved to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and bring his amazing presence closer to us once again on Earth. 


Oh let it be!  😉

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 


The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 


The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 


I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 


I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city–the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart–and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, introspection for the Jewish people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Supporting Israel is Right

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, “Dialogue with a Former Israel Supporter.”


Israel is not only the biblical and historical homeland for the Jewish people, but it is the only Jewish country in the entire world. 


Nations and terrorists have attacked, again and again, denying the United Nations declaration for the State of Israel and the modern-day geopolitical reality of its existence–and it is flourishing!


The State of Israel has successfully made peace with its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, and they seek the same with the Palestinians.


Let us hope and pray for coexistence speedily in our times. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I’m not very skillful with it).


It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 


It wasn’t like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 


I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 


We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 


It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs–she was so happy learning and practicing. 


Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class…ah, no!  (or at least not yet…)


While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival–it’s truly miraculous!


There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!


And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 


I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Absolutely The Times Of Mashiach

So I love going to the Chabad synagogue down in Fort Lauderdale


The Downtown Jewish Center Chabad.


They are so welcoming and genuine.


Rabbi Kaplan and his wife Devorah are absolutely charming, wonderful people.


The davening is traditional and I love singing all the prayers exactly as I remember them as a child.


The speech is always relevant bringing the Torah’s message to what’s going now.


For example, tonight is Shavuot and the celebration of the getting of the Torah and our obligation to live up to the mission we’ve been given.


This is similar to the big story this week with Meghan Markle marrying into British Royalty with Prince Harry–thereby she becomes royalty.  So too the Israelites entered into a marriage contract with G-d Almighty at Sinai, and they became royalty to G-d entrusted to keep his commandments and as a “light unto the nations” to always do the right thing. 


The Rabbi is a true inspiration and today, we talked with him about living in the amazing times of Mashiach.


There is so much polarization and confusion in the world.


From people to countries looking for a guidepost–whether individuals, corrupt organizations, extremist politicians, or fascist and warring countries.


I so agree with the Rabbi that we are living in miraculous times and redemption is right around the corner.


Everything we do is an opportunity to make a kiddush Hashem and turn the tides in the war of good over evil.


Married to G-d, but in humility, we serve him and do good and help bring the world to love, peace, and Tikkun Ola m. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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)