Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there. 


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.  😉


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Coronavirus Cancels Synagogue.

While I understand the rationale to close the synagogues, not to congregate with others and expose ourselves or spread the Coronavirus, I can’t help thinking and believing that what we need now, more than ever, is prayer to Hashem and the mitzvah of Torah study that the synagogue provides to us. Indeed, only in the hands of G-d is the ultimate power of health or illness, and life or death…To me, this Shabbat was not a full Shabbat, because there was no synagogue, no Rabbi’s sermon, no community to talk and share with. I feel robbed of my religion today. I want to be able to go to synagogue and have a real Shabbat. How many other Shabbatot will we have to continue to go through without being able to pray in a minyan, hear the Torah reading, listen to the Rabbi’s speech, and see our community friends?


Many say and I firmly believe that we are on the doorstep of Mashiach and that he is even here among us waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. We’ve survived so much and finally have returned as a people to our homeland of Israel. Now we must survive the final birthing pains of Mashiach and then we will be able to go not only to our synagogues once again, but also to the Temple in Jerusalem to pray and learn at G-d’s very footstep in this earthly world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Stop The Coronavirus, Please!

It’s been a few exhausting weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has gone public. 


First case in China in November.


Now as a Pandemic in 126 countries!


Over 132,000 confirmed cases, so far .


And around 5,000 deaths 🕱.


The numbers are projected to climb/////.


With Dr. Faucci of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warning that it will “get worse before it gets better.”


Everything is closing down from our work facilities to Cruises, Broadway, and Disney.


Of course, we need the government (at all levels), health professionals, and pharmaceutical companies to get their acts together with an effective response strategy. 


Also, this is a wake up call for better preparedness for all sorts of natural and man made disasters that are awaiting. 


Today it’s a virus (natural or biowarfare) and tomorrow it’ll be a devastating cyber attack that we are woefully unprepared for. 


No more playing politics, half measures, and waiting for the next shoe to drop (Spanish Flu, Pearl Harbor, 9/11).


The rest of us need to do our “prepping” parts and to say a prayer or two and keep going. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Growing Fears Of Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to infect more and more people, the fear is continuing to grow.


Today, Apple announced that the outbreak will imagine their sales


And I read yesterday that airlines, even Israeli El Al, is warning of the impact


But how you know that the people, as individuals, are getting seriously worried are by the level of precautions they are starting to take.


These include: canceling travel arrangements, wearing (antiviral) face masks and latex gloves, and ever more frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizers. 


The picture here shows a couple of ladies waiting on line for some gelato at the airport, and they have masks over their faces and this is in the Holy Land, and not even where the outbreak is in China!


I hear official figures of 70,000+ infected and 1,800 dead, but on the street people are saying these are grossly understated. 


Let us pray that this virus is brought speedily under control, that a cure is found, and that no more people are sickened or killed by it. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Israel 2020: Day 3

Went to the Holy city of the Kabbalists today, Sefad.


Saw the beautiful 15th century Abuhav Synagogue, the Candle Factory, the artist colony, and the of course, the holy graves of the Tzadikim to pray.


It was a marvelously spiritually uplifting experience (as well as being up high in the mountains) and is an overall beautiful and unique city of ancient winding alleys and treasures at every turn. 


So grateful to have had this opportunity to visit there, thank you Hashem!  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-d Hears Your Prayers

My son-in-law reminded me of a beautiful Jewish saying about prayer:

Even if a sharp sword rests upon a person’s neck, he should not refrain from praying for mercy. 


One can still hope for mercy from the Almighty even at death’s door. 


This is truly beautiful and uplifting–we can approach G-d anytime, and as long as we are alive, there is always hope.


The saving from G-d is like “the blink of an eye.” 😉


(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)