@Harpers Ferry

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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)

You Are The Working Class

So I like to speak with people about their lives.


Today at breakfast, there was a gentlemen working the egg bar making omelettes for people.


Recognizing him, I said “You’ve been here a number of years?”


He responds, “Yeah, but I want to leave here!”


I was sort of taken aback at his bluntness, and inquired further, “Why, is everything okay?”


He goes, “Not really. They’ll only give me work 6 to 7 hours a day, and I can’t make a living on 32 hours a week!”


I asked innocently, “Do you have a second job or something?”


He says, “No, this is it,” and proceeded to make the next person’s omelette.


Feeling sort of shitty bad for him…


Another lady who works the tables says to us: “I won’t be seeing you.”


I ask, “Why–are you off the next few days?”


She says, “No, I don’t come back until next Saturday–I only work the weekends here, and somewhere else on weekdays.”


Wondering about this, I say: “So you work 7 days a week?”


She answers, “Yes, year-round!”


After we said goodbye until next time, I looked at my wife grimacing that this women has to work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, just to earn a basic living.


I’ll tell you the system is broken.


Shareholders and corporate chieftains squeeze profits and earnings per share out of their companies while the workers can barely get by.


The workers are not part of the companies they labor for–they are merely hired hands who will be replaced in a moment by another minimum wage worker if they but open their mouths to protest one word.


Slavery did not end in building the Great Pyramids of Egypt or in the plantations of the South–the average worker is still just a slave.


Employee engagement and development and “Human Capital” are terms organizations use to make themselves and their workers believe that there is real caring and unity going on.


But we know the truth by how people are treated with harshness, disrespect, disdain, and even abuse–sexual and otherwise!


Yeah, are you really valued or are you a wage slave showered with empty platitudes of unity and caring.


Real leadership is genuine compassion, empathy, and helping people both inside and outside the organization–not just a guise, disguise, mask for making just another dollar cracking the whip on the backs of the underclass.


All people are important.


All people deserve a living wage.


All people are entitled to work with dignity and respect.


All people need to be apart of a system that is fair and equitable.


Care for your brothers and sisters for one day you will be called before them in the court of Heaven and they will speak the final truth to power. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

STOP Human Trafficking

So we watched the movie “Sold.”


It was about this young Nepalese girl (maybe age 12) who was sold into a horrible brothel in Kolkata, India.


She fought to keep from getting raped, but eventually they drugged her and tied her hands to the bedpost–where the evil bastards had their way with this child. 


She and the other young girls in the brothel were raped about 10 times every evening to “repay their debts.”


The horror these children go through taken, beaten, drugged, and raped over and over again. 


It’s unthinkable and the lowest grotesqueness of people who could possibly treat children this way. 


Finally, the young girl does manage to escape to Hope House (a rescue shelter for the human trafficking victims) and with the information she provides, the police are able to raid the brothel and rescue the other children. 


The movie tells how their are 5.5 million children around the world that are being sex trafficked–and I would presume that the real number is unfortunately much higher!


I can only imagine how G-d must cry heavenly tears for these poor children.


It is incredibly hard to understand that in some areas of the world poverty is so bad that some desperate families actually feel they have to resort to selling their children to survive.


In other cases, the children are preyed on and simply disappear.


Children who should be playing with toys are instead forced to be sexual play things. 


Innocent children who should be treated with love and care are instead treated as animals for the sick and cruel physical pleasures of others. 


Have mercy on these children—save these children from wherever they are bound and held–give them back their freedom and their dignity. 


If ever there was a cause for people to rally around–surely, saving these children from sexual abuse and trafficking is one that all can agree is at the crux of our very humanity and mankind’s soul. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tiny Houses Old Style

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Recently, we visited the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Maryland. 


It simulates the route and challenges that runaway slaves had to face in seeking their freedom. 


While I am certain that the suffering endured was in no way captured here, I thought it was still beneficial to have people sensitized and thinking about these horrible historical events around slavery.


Aside from the hiking trail, there were these amazing tiny houses from the 1800’s.


The wood cabins and stone houses were so cute, but also so inviting. 


If I had to live in a Tiny House, these looked sort of incredibly charming. 


HGTV tiny living spaces–like the one we saw last night that had only 200 feet and was really awkward–have nothing on these tiny gems. 


The matching tiny trees were also a very nice effect. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Remember and Cry

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Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).


It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem–on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart–in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 


Tisha B’Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 


We remember and cry on Tisha B’Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 


It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
‘Sing to us from the song of Zion’
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 

If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness

We as a people have been through so much…servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide…thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder–yet, Israel Doth Live!


As the L-rd promised the Jews–after exile would come redemption, and so it is!


For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple–please G-d in our days soon.


From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany–we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold “from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River.” (Exodus 23:31) 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hate Proliferates

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I was really surprised to see this sign for White Supremacists right in front of our nation’s Capitol like this. 


Identity Evropa is yet another hate group–this one focuses on people of European ancestry and their website claims, “We are the future.”


But whether you come from Europe or Asia, the Middle East or Africa, America or the moon, aren’t we all just people at the end of the day.


Who cares whether your black or white or yellow or brown, or what religion you practice, or your gender, or sexual orientation, or whether you lean left or right. 


At the end of the day, are we all not flesh, do we all not bleed, have we all not hopes and fears, do we all not answer to the one G-d Above. 


Hate proliferates from our farm belts to our inner cities, from our universities to our board rooms, from the gazillionaire to the guy who has to shovel shit for a living, from our nasty national politics to the United Nations, there is plenty of hate and bias and bigotry to go around. 


Look to the Heavens, cry a bitter tear, your hatred is your self-destruction. 


You will pray with an evil and hate-filled heart and none will answer you. 


The living G-d of Hosts who created us and loves all his children will not stand idly as hate and supremacy of one over another presides. 


The chains of our affliction, the bullet to the back of the head, the noose and the death camps, the whip, the gas, and the ovens, the hunger, the sick experiments, and the slave labor.


Only G-d is supreme over all and those that seek an advantage on the backs of their brethren will find themselves a fiery hell to contend with. 


From just a little gnat to a growing tumor–that is all that it takes to bring justice and re-level the supremacy playing field and teach who is the King of Kings and there is no other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)