A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 


Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 


She was an amazing heroine that they even called her “Moses” for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 


Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 


The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!


Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.


I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 


She didn’t kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!


We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what’s right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Panorama: Ocean and Beach

Thought this was pretty cool…


Panorama of Ocean and Beach.


Made it look the the ocean is in between the beach.


Love the “special effect.”


Feels a little like Moshes who led the Israelites through the (Red) Sea.


Anyway, nice to get away a little and see life through a different lens. 😉


Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Moses’ Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Moses’s Handicap.”

In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.


We can’t let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life–we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d’s help.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If I Could Be Anyone(s)

So someone asked me a very deep personal question.

“If you had $20 million dollars and could do whatever you want (be whoever you want), what would that be?”


I was on the spot a little and didn’t have time to introspect the way I like to do, and I gave an answer that I really wasn’t happy with…and it’s been bothering me since. 


So sitting down now and really thinking about who I want to be–this is my real answer:


As a composite person, I want to have the:


– Lovingkindness of Mother Teresa


– Serenity of the Dalai Lama


– Spirituality of Moses


– Determination of Rocky


– Leadership of Rick Grimes


– Strength of Samson


– Agility of Bruce Lee


– Intellect of Sigmund Freud


– Understanding of Albert Einstein


– Ingenuity of Steve Jobs


– Inquisitiveness of Capt. James T. Kirk


– Bravery of those martyred in the Holocaust


– Heroism of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu


– Beauty of my wife and daughters


– The integrity of my dear father, Fred Blumenthal


What would I want to do–just simple things like:


– Cure Cancer, Parkinsons, ALS, etc.


– Eliminate poverty


– Herald in world peace


– Help/comfort those that are hurt and suffering


– Make people smile/happy


– Be a good person with integrity in all situations


I could probably go on and on, but generally this is what life means to me. 


Maybe today, I ain’t the smartest or fastest or strongest, but I have dreams, hopes, and aspirations. 


If that isn’t good enough, well at least I have a heart and a soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Is There Anyone Out There To Lead

Scary Election

Interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal today titled, “These Five Are the Best We Can Do?” referring to the current slate of Presidential candidates. 

According to the author, Joseph Epstein: “Viewing the candidates of both parties during the debates, one felt that nearly everyone of the participants was in the business for him- or herself.”

Yes, so many people are getting turned off by the selfishness, obscurity and outright deceit, vulgarity, and off-the-chart impractical and impolitic views of the candidates.

Yet the editorial mistakenly attributes the presumed dearth of good-to-great candidates is due to no one impressive wanting to run in the age when “media and Internet are the major instruments of contemporary political degradation.”

In other words, no normal person wants to be put under a microscope for their person, rather than their personal views of where to take this country. 

However, this doesn’t ring true to me. 

I think that true leaders are and would be willing to endure the scrutiny of the traditional media and social media in order to take us into a meaningful, righteous, and better future–it’s simply part of the job like Moses having to endure the gripes against him when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. 

Maybe the real reason that we don’t think we have the quality of leadership that we expect is that there is a perception of a genuine dearth of sincere, unadulterated, whole-package leadership out there. 

Think about it–with a virtually unlimited supply of false messiahs across the leadership spectrum from politics to corporate and religious life–we have been let down by fraudsters, liars, thieves, and sex abusers. 

Like with the Israelites in Egypt who waited hundreds of years for G-d to bring a Moses to lead his people, perhaps we are looking with eyes heavenward for an appropriate gifted leader to take us into the future…and this is more than just what an education or pedigree can provide, but rather a person inspired by a purity of heart and a clarity of vision. 

For that, we need a leader that will not just talk the scripted talk or walk the overconfident boisterous walk, but we need to see the person whose promising words match their deeds and whose heart is aligned with the people and the nation for a truly greater future and not just for the political donations, superdelegate counts, their party nomination and the electoral college votes to land them the coveted Oval Office. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Biblical Art

Biblical Art

So we turned the clock forward this morning and spring was here…it was warm enough to go hiking again. It was a long one, but great to be back outdoors.

After the hike we stopped at Max’s in Silver Spring for their famous shawarma sandwiches…OMG are they amazingly good (I got mine extra spicy and mixed with the tahini sauce and fresh meat right off the spit…it is delicious!

After paying, I noticed there was this beautiful wall hanging between the register and pickup counter…I started to take a closer look and there were these gorgeous scenes from the bible:

– Creation and the 7th Day of Rest

– Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

– Noah and The Ark, Cain and Abel, The Tower of Babel, and Abraham

– Joseph, Moses, The Exodus from Egypt, and The Ten Commandments

– The Promised Land of Israel, The Fall of Jericho, King David, The Temple, Hezekiah, and Jonah and The Whale

The detail, colors, and flow on this artwork was absolutely amazing.

It is called “A Celebration of Spirit” and I believe that the artist is Charles Fazzino.

The lithograph was tall and narrow, and I would love to see it as a whole wall mural…it is really beautiful and brought the bible so alive.

I found out today that not only the shawarma is good at Max’s… 😉