Visit Back Home

On the way to a family wedding in Monsey.

We stopped back home in Riverdale, NY after 20 years.

Wow, old building still here. 

And the KeyFood supermarket too. 

Had a nice lunch at Kai Fan kosher Chinese food (the Sesame Chicken was great!). 

Went up to my parents old apartment and saw the outlines of where the mezuzah had once stood. 

I wanted to hear their voices through the door and go in to see them again.

It was very emotional, but I felt like their presence was there with us. 

Enjoyed seeing how some (very few) things have changed and all that has otherwise stayed the same 

With seeing my wife’s family, some after many years, it was like I had never not seen them. 

I imagined that this is what dying must be like when you go to the afterlife and there is no time and you see everybody and it’s just like they have always been there. 

That was an amazing realization and feeling for me. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

The Beauty of Tefillin

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Beauty of Tefillin.”

Like the colorful coat that Jacob gave Joseph to wear, the mitzvah of tefillin that G-d gave us to wear is also filled with spiritual color and the love of Hashem. This is in no way intended as sacrilegious or as trying to change our holy mitzvot. Rather it is an artistic attempt to see the tefillin in a new way that perhaps excites and bring Jews back to this important mitzvah.


Over time, as I continued to learn and grow as a person and as a Jew, I found much of my way back to Yiddishkeit and to wearing my holy tefillin with love and Joy. To me they are forever colorful and full of spiritual energy that are uplifting to me as I pray with them on for Hashem’s everlasting mercy and blessings for all of us.

(Credit Image: Andy Blumenthal)

Fire Stripes on Buggy

Thought this VW with the fire stripes was pretty cool. 


Black, white, and red.  


Definitely a standout!


The only thing better is the VW van with the psychedelic hippie colors and fantastical images for hope and love.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Having Each Other

So I hurt my back last week. 


Incredibly painful. 


Difficult getting up from sitting or laying position. 


Today, I was trying to walk it off a little.


One of my kids was walking with me taking good care of me. 


We ran into a neighbor. 


She was nice and asked about what happened. 


I told her in brief and said how grateful I was for my daughter taking me for a little walk while I try to heal with G-d’s help. 


She smiled and said how lucky I was (which I acknowledged). 


I asked if she had any kids, thinking that she did. 


But she goes to me:

I have no one!


I was a little surprised that she didn’t have anyone and how she said it. 


I sort of repeated it quizzically. 


She goes:

Well I did have a cat but she was 19 years old and I had to put her down. 


I felt really bad for her, especially since I know she had an operation this last year and is planned for another one coming up. 


I said that we’re her neighbors and friends and that she can call on us whenever she needs someone. 


This whole thing just made me so upset–no one should be so alone. 


I  really pray that G-d has mercy on his children and that no one should be alone and that we should all have caring and loving people around us always. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Adding A Very Special Facebook Friend

So this was really strange what happened to me before Yom Kippur. 


My parents passed away 5-6 years ago already.


I always miss them so much!


Somehow, on Facebook, my dad’s Facebook profile came up, which I was surprised to find. 


Looking at it, I saw under his friends was of course, my mom. 


I didn’t even know my mom had a Facebook page (I don’t think she ever really used it). 


But I was so curious, I clicked on her profile.  


I saw the prominent blue and white button to “Add Friend.”


And I saw my hand reaching to press for that button. 


I so wanted to reach out and be able to be with, see, communicate with her again. 


Then I stopped myself realizing that the friend request, unfortunately, couldn’t go to Heaven. 


If only it could…I would be so happy to press that button and have my mom hear from me again. 😉


(Photo of my dear parents from Florida)

Family and Friends

So I heard this interesting saying yesterday, which goes like this:

Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far off.


I looked it up and saw that it is actually from Proverbs 27:10.


Thinking about it a little, I understand that obviously people that are close by can more easily be there and help one another than someone else who is far away. 


At the same time, I always learned growing up that:

Blood is thicker than water.

Family is family, and friends are friends.  Family is forever, but friends can come and go. 


Yet you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. 


There are some friends that go back decades to childhood and they are almost like family. 


Also, there are sometimes family that are disassociated or even “black sheep” of the family. 


I guess in the end what’s most important is how we feel about each other, treat each other, and are there for each other.  


Whatever the designation–family or friends–we need each other.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)