Those Were The Days

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Wow, this was incredible.


Check out this photo of me (right) and my teacher and mentor Robert doing martial arts back in the day. 


This was at the Jewish street fair on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale, New York. 


Recently, in the last few weeks, I reconnected with Robert after almost 27 years.  


He made Aliyah to Israel and I got married, but I always remembered how much I learned from him and the fun times growing up. 


It was great to catch up on the phone with him for about 2 1/2 hours and I think we could’ve gone on schmoozing all evening. 


Then just this weekend, I received 3 large wall photos in the mail from a friend from Riverdale–out of the blue–just like my reconnecting with Robert. 


Both events came almost simultaneously after 3 decades!


Time and space are just fabrications, as G-d Almighty is eternal, and for me I am essentially the same person that I was back then. 


My body is getting (a little) older, but my inner self is still me. 


And the people who mean so much to me in my life, after G-d, that is everything to me. 😉


(Source Photo and with gratitude to Sura Jeselsohn)

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There Is Always A Bigger Fish

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So as we are about to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year…


I want to share a very important lesson that I came across again this year. 


The lesson is:

No matter how big a fish you think you are, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish out there.


You may have position, title, money, status, and all the trimmings, but someone with more of this and that and the other thing (and overall power) can come along at any time–at G-d’s decree–and swallow you right up.  


I connect this to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah when it is customary to go and cast bread (symbolic for our sins) into a natural body of water, so the fish can eat them up–and in a spiritual sense we throw away our sins and cleanse ourselves of our wrongdoings over the last year–let the fish have them. 


And like the fish eating our sins, I think another more powerful person can come and swallow us up and even spit us out (like Jonah and the Whale)–we are all fallible and mortal. 


We are made from dust and we go to dust, and my dad would joke to clean up the mounds of dust under my bed!


As we enter the New Year, may Hashem have mercy on us and bless us, and may we have peace, health, and prosperity, and may we be written in the Book of Life.


Oh yeah, and may no fish big or small come against us to cause us distress or harm–G-d is the Almighty Protector–Amen! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Ultimate Rejection (Not)

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Ok, folks.


This picture is not the message you want to get before Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year and time of judgement). 


We want to see the long hand of G-d come down with love, caring, forgiveness, and blessings!


A flick of the Almighty index finger, definitely not what we want to see or get.  


Worse would be getting the middle finger, of course. 


But I definitely don’t think G-d does that! 


Talking about rejection with a big R. 


To all my family and friends, a most happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

 

Ok To Be Ourselves!

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Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 


While perhaps normally I wouldn’t just post this to my blog…


I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.


To hell with all the haters out there!


– The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 


– The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 


– The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.


No more Holocausts…no more bigotry…no more hate–it is enough! 😉

We Remember and Cry

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Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem–on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart–in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 


Tisha B’Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 


We remember and cry on Tisha B’Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 


It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
‘Sing to us from the song of Zion’
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 

If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness

We as a people have been through so much…servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide…thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder–yet, Israel Doth Live!


As the L-rd promised the Jews–after exile would come redemption, and so it is!


For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple–please G-d in our days soon.


From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany–we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold “from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River.” (Exodus 23:31) 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jewish In Florida

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These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.

“Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values.”

The second were about 20 cans (“pushkas”) for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  


Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 


The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.

“Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One.”

There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here…


There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tunnel From Egyptian Bondage

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On Passover, we celebrate G-d’s redemption of the Israelites and the great miracles he wrought in bringing them from slavery to freedom, giving them the sacred Torah, and taking them to the Holy Land of Israel. 


His mercy and kindness endures forever!


While many people think that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the desert…


Little do most people know that there is also this miracle tunnel that many Israelites took when G-d took them out of Egyptian bondage and exile. 


It connected them from Egypt and straight to the IRT subway train, which took them to the shuttle that then got them to John F. Kennedy International Airport and on to El Al planes to the State of Israel.


In G-d’s world, there is no limitations of time and space…and He literally brought them on wings on eagles to live in Israel and worship at his holy Temple in Jerusalem. 


For 3,500 years, the Israelite Jewish people have inhabited the land of Israel–from their days and until ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and let us bless and thank G-d, and say Amen!  😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)