The Embassy Arrives In Jerusalem

Please see my new article in Times of Israel today


Never Homeless Again

The U.S. Embassy has moved to Jerusalem, but unfortunately, our enemies still attack us. 


Hope you enjoy the article. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t / Can’t – Turn Back Now

My father used to say a very wise thing:

You can only go forward.
You can’t go back.


Often in life, I reflect on how wise this is and he was. 


Sometimes, we are hesitant or afraid of what lies ahead, and we turn our heads back and reinvent history and creatively fantasize how wonderful things were before and maybe we should go back.


Like the Israelites thousands of years ago, who G-d redeemed from the servitude of Egypt, but with hundreds of years of a slave mentality, they were in a sense paralyzed with fear of going into the foreboding expanse of the desert. 

“If only we had died by the L-rd’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. But You have brought us out to this dessert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)


But we know that going forward is the only way to learn, grow, and progress. 


Just like the Israelites that went forward through the depths of the Red Sea on dry land and to receive the Torah on Sinai and for forty years in the desert to ultimately get to the amazing promised land of Israel. 


Thank G-d, they didn’t turn back–there really was no turning back.


Back is death.  


Forward is life. 


We have a journey that we need to complete. 


The destination is wherever G-d takes us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy 70th Birthday to Israel

What a beautiful Shabbat today at Magen David Synagogue celebrating the 70th Birthday of the State of Israel. 


Prayers, blessings, song, waving flags, and a lovely Kiddish feast following services. 


Immediately after the genocidal Holocaust that exterminated six million Jews – 1 out of every 3 in the entire world – the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948. 


With thriving cities, arts and culture, flourishing farming, science and innovation, Holy religious sites, a rich history everywhere, and a formidable military. 


There is so much to be proud of and to thank G-d for.


Oh G-d, we praise you in that you have returned your children to Zion as you promised from Biblical times and breathed fresh life into their dry bones. 


Only you can revive an entire people and a land.


Only you can create a blooming Garden of Eden from barren desert. 


Only you can make a strong and just a nation from one that once was carted away of crowded train cars to the death camps and crematoria 


Throughout 2,000 years of exile, we remembered your promise and we prayed for redemption, and you showered your gracious mercy on us and brought us back on wings of eagles. 


For 70 years now, nations have risen up against Israel to try to destroy it, but only you have saved it through the brave arms of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 


Praise to G-d Almighty.  Praise be to G-d in Heaven and on Earth. Praise be the creator and sustainer.  


We honor you through keeping your Holy Torah commandments and remembering that you Hashem, are our G-d and you are One. 


It is our job to live a life of integrity, to do good whatever we do and wherever we go, as your children and as a light along with America unto the other nations. 


As we sang in the Holocaust, “I believe with a full faith in the coming of the Messiah, and thou he tarries, I will never-the-less wait.”


The waiting was over 70-years ago, and we are living in the age of redemption. 


Miracles abound and the world progresses scientifically and technologically and with a spirit of doing good and justice. 


The nation of Israel lives!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Iran Had Better Look To The Haggadah

On Passover, we recite the Haggadah to remember how G-d redeemed us from being slaves in Egypt. 


At the Seder, many also recite the Hatikvah–the Israeli National Anthem–to remember that our suffering and redemption didn’t end almost 3,500 years ago in the Exodus from Egypt, but has continued to this very day post Holocaust with the establishment of the modern-day State of Israel. 


One thing that I will tell you is that if Slavery in Egypt and all the anti-Semitism, Inquisitions, Pogroms, Expulsions, and the Holocaust taught us anything is that:


– One, our faith in G-d Almighty and his love and promised redemption for us will never cease, and 


– Two, that we will never, ever, go like sheep to the slaughter again.


Already in 1981 and 2007, with the help of Hashem, Israel rid the world of the scourge of nuclear weapons of destruction from the hands of tyrannical Middle Eastern dictatorships in both Iraq and Syria. 


And I would venture to say that neither of these enemies were as completely hateful, ruthless, and vowed to Israel’s destruction as Iran is today. 


In the Haggadah we recall the eternal fight of good over evil:

“For not only one enemy has tried to destroy us, but in every generation, nations have tried to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, always saves us from their hands.”


As sure as we celebrate Passover today, I am confident that G-d will once again make a tremendous miracle and save us from the hands of the maniacal mullahs in Iran who pose an existential threat to the Israelites today. 


Israel’s Operation Babylon and Operation Orchard in Iraq and Syria were successful actions in and of themselves, but they were also practice runs for what is yet to come to the spinning centrifuges in Axis of Evil, Iran. 


G-d’s promise to Abraham to bless the Israelites and give them the Holy Land–whether by the ten plagues in Egypt or the Allied victory over Adolf Hitler–redemption will soon be coming again delivered compliments of the heroic Israeli Defense Forces.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel–Mazel tov!


– 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.


– 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.


– 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.


Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.


As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and “it is the right thing to do!”


Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 


And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 


We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d’s promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.


From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.


Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 


But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 


The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.


We must never forget that it is only with G-d’s blessing and under his watchful eye.


May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via White House)

Our Forefathers Were Planners And So Are We

Thank you to Rabbi Haim Ovadia for his speech today at Magen David Synagogue on the topic of how our forefathers in the Bible were planners and so are we today. (Note: some of the thoughts below are directly from Rabbi Ovadia and others are added by me.)


In the Biblical story of Jacob, there are numerous examples teaching us the importance of planning.


1) Shepherds vs Hunters:  Jacob was a shepherd versus his brother Esau who was a hunter.  Shepherds have a long-term outlook with their animals, tending to them and caring for them over the long-term, while hunters go out for the kills to eat for that day. 


2) Working for Rachel and Leah vs. Selling the Pottage:  Jacob worked for 7 years for Rachel and another 7 for Leah–this was the long-term view and commitment to work for Lavan in order to marry his daughters. In comparison, Esau came in hungry from the field and sold his birthright for the immediate gratification of a bowl of pottage.


3) The Plan to Take Esau’s Blessing: Rebekah worked with Jacob to prepare meat for Isaac and put hair and clothes on Jacob that made him look and seem like Esau, so Jacob could get the blessing from Isaac, while Esau was still out hunting in the field. 


4) Dividing his Camp in Two: Jacob sent messengers (i.e. reconnaissance) to see and plan for what Esau was doing in coming to meet him. When the messengers returned with word that Esau was coming with 400 men, Jacob planned for the worst, dividing his camp in two, so should one peril the other could survive. Additionally, Jacob prayed and sent rounds of gifts to Esau and also presented himself to Esau before his beloved wife Rachel and son Joseph in the safety of the rear. 


Long-term planning has been fundamental to the Jewish people throughout history and to modern times:


1) “People of the Book” – The Jewish people are known as “the people off the book” for the devotion to Torah study, learning, and continually investing in education, which is a view for long-term investment and success.   


2) Good Deeds to Inherit The World To Come – Fundamental to Jewish belief is that this earthly world is just a “corridor” to the World to Come.  We do charity and good deeds, not only because it’s the right thing to do (certainly!), but also because we believe that these merits will help us long-term when we pass, and go to the spiritual next world, Heaven. 


3) Believing and Praying for the Return to The Promised Land – For 2,000, the Jewish people never gave up hoping and praying on the deliverance of G-d’s promise to return them from exile to the Promised Land.  This was a long-term view that helped sustain the Jewish people throughout their far-flung exile and through millennium of persecution and genocide.

Ezekiel 11:17: “Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”

4) Waiting 6,000 years for the Messiah: For 6,000 years, the Jews have maintain faith and plan for the coming of the Messiah, the rebuilding of the Temple and the ultimate redemption of the world.  

“(Ani Ma’amin) I believe in complete faith in the coming of the Messiah…Even tough he may tarry, none-the-less, I will wait for him.”

Like our forefathers, it is critical to maintain faith in the Almighty and practice long-term planning as keys to success in life. 


If we take the long-view, we can overcome so many short-term challenges, obstacles and even suffering–believing, praying planning, and doing for a better, brighter future. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jerusalem – Happy 50 Years!

Happy Birthday Israel.jpeg

Just wanted to wish a very happy anniversary to Jerusalem.


It is the 50th year since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, the beautiful and eternal capital of the State of Israel. 


Today in synagogue we celebrated with a special kiddush. 


72 years since the holocaust, and Israel doth live!


In song and dance, in prayer and devotion, in doing good deeds and charity, we celebrate our survival and G-d’s redemption and return of the Jewish people to his promised Holy Land. 


With still so much evil in the world–from brutal dictators, terrorists, human rights abusers, and bullies–it is always time to celebrate the freedom and democracy of America and Israel–who serve as a light unto the nations.


Surely as light can drive out darkness, those good people of faith and integrity can overcome the remnants of evil in this world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ambassador of Redemption and Peace

Founding of the State oF Israel.jpeg

Thought this was so cool…


One of my friends from synagogue has an amazing replica of the letter From President Harry S. Truman recognizing the the State of Israel (with the President’s last-minute hand-written edits on it):


It reads: 

“This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional Government thereof.  

The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel.” 

Harry Truman 

Approved May 14, 1948″

 And hence the Jewish people went from almost 2,000 years in exile and persecution–culminating in the genocidal Holocaust that wiped out 6,000,000 Jews–to be followed by the founding of the State of Israel and the keeping of G-d’s promise in the Bible:

Genesis 15:18: 

“On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”

Deuteronomy 30:3 

“Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.”

We are living through historic times!


Now the Headquarters of the State Department is named the Harry S. Truman building…how fitting for all our diplomacy to be called for the President that recognized the State of Israel, as the Bible said. 


Then this weekend, I was truly surprised and humbled when another friend from synagogue said that he thinks with all my passion and caring for the United States, Israel and G-d that I could be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel…I couldn’t have be more moved by these lovely sentiments.


As a child of Holocaust survivors and a person of faith who believes deeply that we are witnessing the prophecies of the Bible literally being fulfilled and that we are in the time of the great redemption, I have a vision that we are ushering in the coming of the Messiah and that there will be peace in our lands and enlightenment of G-d upon the Earth. 


I hope and pray every day for it to be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Losing Patience With Tech Progress

losing-patience

We’re so close yet so far…that’s my feeling as I grow ever impatient with the pace of technological progress. 


We have cloud computing, but still everyone has their own private computing setups everywhere. 


We have mobile computing, but still can’t get get reliable service in the Metro and all the other “dead zones.”


We have social computing, but still people are so cliquey and nasty and troll and bully each other online and off. 


We have the Internet of Things, but still things don’t really talk to each other regularly (except our smart meters).


We have robots, but still they’re relegated to factory assembly lines. 


We have natural language processing, but still can’t get a meaningful conversation going with Siri.


We have 3-D printing, but still can’t get dinner or a pair of Nikes to appear from the Star Trek like “Replicator.”


We have augmented and virtual reality headsets, but still can’t go anywhere with them without getting motion sickness.


We have biometrics, but still have to sign the check.


We have driverless cars, but still there is a driver inside. 


We have networks of information, but still it’s subject to hacking, malware, identity and data theft, and even big time EMP knockouts. 


We have immunotherapy, but still haven’t beaten cancer. 


We have nanotechnology, but still we travel through life loaded down with material possessions.


We have food and biotechnology, but still one in eight people are going hungry. 


We have space shuttles and stations, but still can’t get a colony going on Mars.


We have big data, but still information is corrupted by personal biases and politics. 


We have knowledge management, but still more than 780 million adults are illiterate. 


We have artificial intelligence, but still it’s devoid of emotional intelligence. 


We have bigger, deadlier, and more sophisticated weapons systems and smart bombs to “protect us”, but still are no closer to living in peace and brotherhood. 


All this technology and advancement is great, except that we’re left hungrier than ever for the realization of the promised technology land, and are really only halfway there, maybe. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

United Jerusalem Of Gold, Of Bronze, And Of Light

Israel

We had a beautiful Shabbat service today at Magen David Synagogue. 

It was in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, which starts tonight. 

The day commemorates the reunification of Holy city of Jerusalem after the 1967 War.

The Rabbi read from Naomi Shemer’s poetic song called, “Jerusalem of Gold.”

And then we all sang the song together…

“Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light,

Behold I am a violin for all your songs.”

What was amazing to learn was that Naomi Shemer wrote this song in honor of Israel Independence Day (Yom Ha’Azmaut) three weeks before the 1967 War and reunification. 

She later added a stanza to turn the song from purely one of the longing for the holy city to one that rejoices in being reunited with it. 

Some people from the shule who actually fought in the 1967 War were called up to the bimah, in front of the Torahs, to recite the Psalms and lead us in joyous and moving prayer for the Holy Land of Israel. 

After almost 2,000 years of exile, G-d fulfilled his promise to the Jewish people. 

As the Prophet Amos said (9:14-15): 

“‘I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land that I have given them,’ says the Lord your G-d.”

And as Prophet Ezekiel said (37:10-14) and  (37:21-22)

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesize and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign L-rd says: O my people, I am going to open up your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel….I will put my spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land…”

[Note: Israel was reestablished in 1948 just three years after the end of the Holocaust where six million Jews perished.]

“I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them, and there will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.”

We are truly living in miraculous times when the words of the prophets are fulfilled, and there is not only a State of Israel, but a united Jerusalem of gold, of bronze, and of light. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)