Hitler Is Kaput

Hitler.jpeg

So I was surprised when a great friend wrote to me the other day about Hitler. 


And he said that some people say that he won!


He wanted to destroy the Jews and he did manage to kill 6,000,000 of us!


He wanted to conquer Europe (and the world) and he sparked a world war that killed between 50 million and 80 million people, spread fascism, and Germany still today remains the economic powerhouse of Europe.


But killing people, spreading evil, and causing world war is not the sign of a winner by any means–quite the contrary! 


And I replied to my friend:


Hitler and the Nazis are gone, dead, and destroyed, and we are here–what a miracle that from the ashes and depths of the Holocaust, the Israelites were redeemed after 2,000 years of exile–and just as the prophecy foretold, Israel was reborn, lives and thrives!


The sick hatred, evil, and fascist values of Hitler and his Third Reich Germany are gone into the dustbin of history and moreover, their very mention or memory evokes disdain and contempt as being the antiChrist and archetype of evil in the world.


Over the weekend, I watched the movie, The Zookeepers Wife and it was terrific. 


While the Nazi’s perpetrated every conceivable evil on mankind, the righteous among the nations still managed to stand up in the face of evil and save innocent lives, and even when it put their own lives and that of their loved ones in jeopardy–that is true goodness!


The movie showed not only the Zookeeper and his wife who saved over 300 Jews during the Holocaust, but their young son yelled out after the miserable Nazi and said, “Hitler is kaput” or Hitler is finished!


Yes, Hitler and his evil cohorts are destroyed, but in every generation, there are new threats of evil and hate that arise, and to those, we still must bravely and with steadfast determination and strength confront–and those must be made kaput as well. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Thank You Chaplain Berning

Spiritual Communication Board.jpg

I read about this amazing “Spiritual Communications Board” that Chaplain Joel Nightingale Berning invented for New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. 


The board allows hospital patients who are intubated or otherwise can’t talk to communicate their spiritual health and needs. 


The top part allows the person to say what religion they are. 


The bottom left, are choices for how they feel from afraid and lonely, to nervous, helpless, and hopeless, and even to identify on a scale of 0 to 10, the level of their spiritual pain. 


And on the bottom right, they can point to ask for spiritual help… from a prayer, song, or blessing to talk with me, sit with me, get my family or hold my hand. 


While hospitals have traditionally been focused on getting a person, with G-d’s help, physically healthy again, it is wonderful to see people, like Chaplain Berning looking after the spiritual side of patients wellness and health as well. 


To heal, people don’t just need surgeries and medicines, but they need to deal with all the emotions and pain surrounding their condition and their challenging life situations, and this is something that spiritual caregivers can make a huge difference with. 


The health of the soul and the body are linked in more ways than one. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chaplain Berning)

Responding To Foolish Holocaust Denial

Holocaust Remembrance Candle

So I just watched a video where the radical Muslim speaker tries to explain how it is not the Earth that rotates around the Sun, but rather how really the Earth is fixed in space, and it is the Sun which rotates around it. 


His logic and proofs include things like the following:


– If the Earth was really moving, and you tried to fly to China, the plane shouldn’t have to move, since China would just come to the plane. 


– Also, if the Earth was moving in the same direction as the plane, and you were flying to China, then you would never get there, because you’d just be chasing a moving China. 


This is how people’s inner darkness, ignorance, and evil can attempt to extinguish the light. 


Similarly, this past week, the “leader” of Iran took the opportunity on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27)–of all days –to once again express his vile denial of the Holocaust.


Khamenei declaring: “It’s not clear if the Holocaust is a reality or not.


And calling for the “dear people of Iran” to “stand up to the ignorance” of the West.


Wow, who is calling whom ignorant and trying to brainwash the good people of Iran. 


It’s funny, but there are so many nice people from Iran that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend, and one of them is an elderly man who is a swimming buddy of mine– and he is such a nice person–I really enjoy talking with him (despite some of our differences of opinion). 


The point is that when the leadership is corrupt, evil, and insecure, then they try to extinguish the good in the masses of the people, so that the people stay in the dark, blinded by scare tactics, scapegoats, and hatred–this is how they stay in power


When it comes to Holocaust denial though, I think this is definitely going way too far, and I imagine the souls of the Six Million righteous who perished in the Holocaust–under the worst genocide the world has ever known–that they are watching and they are listening. 


And Khamenei and his cohorts of evil doers will most certainly have to contend with all these very real martyred righteous souls. 


So in their warped ignorance, foolishness, and hatred–where the sun rotates around the earth and with utter darkness they attempt to extinguish the light of the good people–I imagine with the strongest and most vivid of images and sounds that certainly Heaven does not await them…but a very fiery Hell of their own making indeed. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to slgckgc)

Mano A Mano

Joust

So this is what it comes down to.


Man against man.


A fight to unseat and prevail against one’s ultimate opponent. 


Each one bravely charging forward into the fight. 


Armed and dangerous. 


Both shielded, but not fully protected. 


One will be going down hard and maybe not coming up again. 


Good versus evil. 


Repeated over time as the war of attrition plays out. 


The heavenly battle taking place among mere mortal agents. 


Until eventually the righteous triumph over the selfish, lusting, and greedy villains.  


In didn’t start in Medieval times and it won’t end until it’s over and won, and it will be won for G-d’s sake. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Being Of Light

Being of Light 2

So last night, I dreamed about my beloved dad. 


He was in synagogue praying–something he did every day.


I was telling my dad that it was time to go.


But he didn’t want to leave–synagogue was his favorite place to be close to G-d and his friends. 


My dad was in the front of the synagogue elevated on the steps before the Holy Ark (where the Torahs are kept).


I looked at my dad and somehow knew/felt that he was near death. 


I ran to him and threw my arms around him in an incredible completely loving hug–clutching on to him to stay with us, longer.


In this embrace, I could feel his total and undying love for me.


Now he no longer looked like my dad but like a being of light–such as I had never seen.


He had died, but was still somehow alive in another way. 


I miss my dad–he was a truly holy man (a Tzadik) and a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who would do anything for us. 


I wish I could sit and speak with him again, hold his hand, hear him sing when we came over, and see him smile. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Taltopia.com)

Eulogy For My Dear Father, Fred Blumenthal

Dad and me
Today, we are here to commemorate my father, Manfred Blumenthal–Meir Ben Shimon Halevi’s passing. My dad was my father, my guide, my role model for life—he meant everything to me, and my words alone cannot capture my feelings of love, devotion, and gratitude to him.



My father was a deeply religious man and he was a tzadik (truly righteous person), and his passing yesterday on the Jewish date of Asara B’Tevet (the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet) is a portrayal of his very belief system and of him as a servant of Hashem, always. 



On Asara B’Tevet, over 2,400 years ago, the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the holy city of Jerusalem leading months later to the breach of the city walls and then on Tisha B’Av to the destruction of the Jewish temple. 



The synagogue to my father was the surrogate for the Jewish temple, and he went everyday like a soldier, morning and night, to pray and serve G-d. In fact, some his most joyous moments, when I was a kid, was when we went together and I sat at his side in shule. 



To my dad, he loved Hashem, his family, and the community and was devoted to them in every way.  



Religiously, my dad not only went to synagogue to pray, but went regularly to multiple shiurim (Torah classes) during the week, served years ago on the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society), did Bichur Cholim (visiting the sick), gave charity all the time, and made a beautiful Jewish home with my mother, Gerda Blumenthal, for us first on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, then in Riverdale, New York, and finally in Silver Spring MD.



My dad and mom loved Riverdale where we lived for over 20 years, yet when my wife and I and our children moved here to Silver Spring to make our home and work for the Federal government, my parents uprooted and moved here within the very same year to be with us.



No matter the hardship, my dad would do whatever it took. When he and his brother and sister (Sid and Ruth) and their parents (my Oma and Opa) fled the Nazi’s in Germany and made their way through Italy and England and ultimately to America, my father lost all his education, was interned on the Isle of man, and worked selling goods on the streets to help his family survive. 



The Holocaust deeply seared my father, who was only a child when it happened, and interestingly enough these days, Asara B’Tevet is also the general Kaddish Day (memorial) for victims of the Holocaust, many of whose martyrdom is unknown. 



When interned, my father got very sick with a high fever for many days, and one day, the fever broke, and my father awoke and said to his family, “Today we are going to get our visas to America”–and that is exactly what happened.  



Miracles followed my father as well as his devotion to family…he worked for decades, as manager, in ladies handbags. Yet due to competition from overseas, the company finally closed, and my father was without a job, and my Bar Mitzvah was coming up. Even though out of work and not knowing when another job in that economy would present itself, My father believed and said, “Hashem will provide” and that we would still have the big event bringing me into my religious manhood as a Jew. It was a beautiful event and my father did get another job from a neighbor who sat right across the aisle from us in Shule who happened to have, a handbag manufacturing company.



I remember my dad working extra hard to put me and my sister Roz through Yeshiva, college, and even graduate school.  I remember him coming home from work and then going out again to work Bingo nights for the school to help them out. 



Despite tough economic times, my dad insisted that he pay for me to go to karate classes, which he knew I loved, and always put aside allowance money for me and my sister and then the grandchildren.  



For years my dad taught me to always do what was right, follow the Torah, and my conscience…he was the ultimate role model for me as a good, decent human being. 



When my mom was so sick with Parkinson’s disease, first at home and then at the Hebrew Home, my dad was again there like a soldier, all day long, every day, to sit with her and care for her with no thought at all to his personal needs or health. My mom passed away less than a year ago on January 13, 2014 (the 12th day of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat).



I remember so many wonderful times together from Shabbat meals and holidays, and celebrations like my wedding to my wife Dossy and Bat Mitzvah’s of our children, Minna and Rebecca and my niece’s, Yaffa. As well as challenging times, when one of us was sick in the hospital and my dad was there with me, again multiple times a day, to comfort me and help me—with no thought of himself. 



As a parent, I could go on and on about my dad, but he was also a good friend to so many of you in the community and he loved to talk with you, tell jokes, pray with you, have a meal with you, join with you at the shule dinner and so many other community events. 



Manfred Blumenthal, my dad, was a true servant of G-d and a loving father and grandfather who would and did do anything for us, including saving the life of my very wife, who had gotten ill a number of years ago.



Even though I would argue with my dad, I always knew he was right about things, and he would guide me no matter what.  



Now today, I stand here next to his casket…devastated at the loss.



I love you dad, we all love you and wish you peace, happiness, and countless blessings in the afterlife. You gave us everything and you deserve to be rewarded by the Almighty in heaven together with mom and your loving parents, Simon and Hilda Blumenthal.



I cannot say goodbye, just see you later where we can all stand together in heaven before Hashem!

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2014

I was so humbled to hear the story of survival of Dr. Alfred Munzer today at the Holocaust Memorial Observance.

Dr. Munzer was hidden for the first four years of his life from the Nazis by a righteous Indonesian family in the Netherlands.

Earlier this month, Dr. Munzer visited Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, to share his awesome story of humanity and compassion in the face of Nazi brutality and genocide.

Dr. Munzer told his story today through photos of his Jewish and Indonesian family’s life during the Holocaust, and related how his father and sisters were murdered by the Nazis; from his immediate family, only he and his mother survived to come to America in 1958.

I was so inspired by Dr. Munzer’s story and encourage everyone to hear it at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where Dr. Munzer volunteers.

When people help other people, even at their own peril, that represents true globalization of the human race and the unity of all mankind. 😉