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) 

Nature Boy

When I was a kid and I went to the supermarket with my mom, I remember always seeing the “Andy Boy Broccoli” in the produce aisle. 


Of course, I was always curious why Broccoli was called Andy Boy–what boy or any kid for that matter likes to eat broccoli???


And like most things in life, there really wasn’t a good answer except that this company, “Andy Boy” grows and distributes it. 


Anyway, I was always a nature boy feeling most at home and at peace in the countryside. 


I love being in nature, surrounded by G-d’s amazing beauty, and at one with the universe and with G-d.  


In building all our great cities, buildings, and structures, aside from the crowding, pollution, crime and traffic that we have consequently, we have also lost something elementary to our lives with the absence of real nature. 


A park is not a forest.  A pond is not a river.  A plant is a not a lush valley.  A garden is not a farm.  A hill is not a mountain range.  A pet is not a teeming ecosystem of diverse life.  


The city is man made and fake, but nature is from G-d and real. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

OPTIMISM vs pessimism

So I thought this really matched my philosophy to a T on optimism and pessimism. 


As Joel Rosenberg put it in his book The Ezekiel Option, “In the long run everything would turn out fine…but tomorrow could be a disaster.”


In short, this equates to:


I’m a strategic optimist, but a tactical pessimist. 


My mom used to say, “If I am pessimistic, I’ll never be disappointed.” LOL


I think though when we have faith then we know that truly, in the end everything is for the best and will be okay.


In the short term though, there are challenges to face and these can be tough indeed. 


– Strategically an optimist. 


– Tactically a pessimist. 


Plan for the worst, hope for the best. 😉


(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)

Cheesecake Heaven

So I never met a piece of cheesecake that I didn’t like. 


This was an awesome display of the varieties of it at the Cheesecake Factory.


I remember my mom used to make a pretty darn great cheesecake (and a lot of other good food)!


I still can see the graham cracker crust with the sweet hot creamy cheese filling coming out of the oven. 


Unfortunately one of the conundrum of life is that all the good tasting things are so darn fattening and bad for us. 


I think though if they can make fake burgers like Beyond that taste like the real thing, then surely at some point they will figure out how to make a skinny cheesecake that tastes good. 


There are still some mysteries left in this universe for us to unravel. 😉


(Credit 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)

My Dad, My Hero

Dad

I can’t just call or visit my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day.


My dad is in heaven. 


But I am thinking about him, missing him, and wishing all the things I want to tell him but no longer can.


I’m sorry dad for not listening better and arguing so much. 


Your lessons were not wasted on me, I remember them all!


The most important you taught me to serve G-d and do good no matter what the situation–that is with me every day.


And I know with your grandchildren too. 


You are my hero–I believe that G-d watched over you your whole life because of what a good decent human being and servant to him you always were. 


Dad, if you can hear me in Heaven, I love you and miss you and Mom dearly. 


I hope if you can see me and the family, you are proud.


That is what I always wanted. 


When you said it later in life, I almost couldn’t believe it. 


But I know in my heart, you are and and have been my biggest advocate. 


Thank you for everything–everyday–you never flinched no matter how much or inconvenient it was.


May G-d reward you and Mom in heaven and shower you in his eternal light, love, and goodness. 


You son, 


Andy


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)