The Passover Menorah

It’s Passover this week, not Chanukah. 


So what’s with the menorah?


Well my friend, John Akkus (of Akkus Silver Touch), made this beautiful piece for me. 


I love the fine handiwork of copper, brass, crystals, Jewish symbols (Stars of David) and bold colors of this amazing menorah. 


John sells his art at the annual Suglarloaf Festivals in the Spring. 


I am so glad I found this wonderful menorah–it is beautiful all year long (through Chanukah and Passover). 


Thank you John and nice job!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Vampire Slayer

So can you believe they actually have this?


It’s a vampire killing kit that was really for sale in the 19th century. 


These kits were developed and sold by entrepreneur, Professor Ernst Blomberg.


People were afraid of the blood-sucking beasts, especially in Eastern Europe. 


And so when they traveled, they came prepared.


– Dagger with a ghoulish-looking skeleton for a handle


– Pistol along with several silver bullets


– Wooden stake to thrust into its evil heart


– Cross and Holy Water (or perhaps a Star of David for the Jewish version of the kit) to repel them


Of course, we don’t have any evil bloodsucking creatures these days, do we? 


I have a feeling that a lot of people would like to have a kit like this for self-defense to keep the 21st-century version of these bad actors away. 


You think the NRA would be interested in making something like this. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ok To Be Ourselves!

Star of David Dress.jpeg

Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 


While perhaps normally I wouldn’t just post this to my blog…


I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.


To hell with all the haters out there!


– The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 


– The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 


– The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.


No more Holocausts…no more bigotry…no more hate–it is enough! 😉

Love The Flags

israel-flag

So while we were in Florida, we went into one of the many art galleries. 


And on the wall was this painting of the Israeli Flag with the Star of David and inside was a beautiful red heart. 


Out of curiosity, I inquired how much this was and the lady says, “Oh, that is $55,000!”


While we were impressed with the painting of the Israeli flag and what it represents as one of America’s greatest allies and friends, we must’ve looked really puzzled at the price, because the lady goes, “Well, of course it’s worth it!  It’s by Peter Max, the most famous artist in the world.”


My wife and I nodded and left the store, and immediately were asking each other why every gallery says with a straight face that the artist that they represent is the “most famous in the world.”


Anyway, at the same time this was going on we were following in the news about the controversy with people burning the American flag and the question of whether this is just an expression of free speech or something more that should be prohibited as disrespectful and unpatriotic or even traitorous to the country. 


In that respect, the flag that represents our values, beliefs, and patriotism is valuable beyond pure artistic sense or money, it is who we are and what we love. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

G-dly Tattoo

Tattoo

So my daughter took this photo of someone on the train.


They had a tattoo that said Elokim–G-d’s name in Hebrew–on their hand along their thumb.


Also, they had a second tattoo on the top of their hand that had the Star of David. 


Pretty dramatic, I think. 


But what a way to remember G-d and your religion all the time.


And I thought wearing a yarmulke on my head was something!


Anyway, just another thought for the day.


I was talking with a young person this week.


They said, how hard it was to be young and not know what was going to happen–what life had in store for them. 


I agreed that it was, but also added something that I had heard a number of years ago that:

When your young, you have health, but no money to enjoy it 

and when your old, you have money, but no health to enjoy it. 

The point is that at every point in life, we have our challenges, and we just have to make the most of what we got, when we have it. 

Ideally, of course, we have plenty of health and money–and the time to enjoy it with our family and friends.  

Happy Passover!

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

BDS Just Another Terrorist Attack

Star Of David

There over 200 land disputes around the globe, but on Wednesday, the European Union singled out the one Jewish State of Israel and targeted them over the dispute with the Palestinians.

The EU insists that goods produced in Israel–on land seized from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in The Third Arab-Israeli War of 1967–be labeled as “Made In Settlements“–thereby supporting the anti-Semitic movement of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) against the democratic State of Israel.


Just two days later, the EU got their sincere thank you from extremist Islamic terrorists who mercilessly struck Paris with attacks at the concerts halls, restaurants, and sports stadiums brutally killing at least 129 people and wounding over 350 others.

All loss of life is terrible, and especially innocent victims of terror, and my heart goes out to the victims of these evil attacks in Paris. 

Unfortunately, Europe is getting just a taste of what Israel has been living with for 67 years surrounded by hordes of violent extremists willing to inculcate generational hatred and wage unending terror and war–from missiles and suicide bombs, rocks and molotov cocktails, guns and knives to BDS, they are more than happy to use whatever it takes to kill all Jews and Zionists and throw every last one into the sea.


So perhaps Europe may finally awake from its deep slumber and long Anti-Semitic history, and instead of targeting Israel with BDS just 70 years after the Holocaust where six million Jews were murdered in Europe, the EU will recognize who is attacking them and is the true enemy of western civilization, democracy, and their very national identities.

High time for Europe to embrace Israel as their brothers in faith and allies in the battle against terrorism, hate, and extremism.


BDS is just another terror tactic by the extremists who want to terrorize and murder Jews and other “infidels.” And labeling products from Israel like labeling Jews in the Holocaust with the Star of David is anti-Semitism and evil. 


It’s time to reject BDS for the terrorism it is and instead Buy, Invest, and Promote (BIP) the Holy Land…and those that bless Israel will be blessed. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to zeevveez)

Look How Great Magen David Is

Magen David - Star of David

The Magen David is the Star or Shield of David.


It is the symbol of the Jewish people and of Israel (it is center on the Israeli Flag, the Degel Yisrael), and dates back at least a 1,000 years. 


Magen David Sephardic Congregation is also the name of our wonderful new synagogue in Maryland.


As the amazing picture above shows, the Magen David actually can represent every single letter (24) of the Hebrew alphabet. 


As such, Magen David truly represents what a Jewish synagogue is and should be:


1) INCLUSIVE — As every Hebrew letter is found in the Star of David, so too the synagogue is a place where every Jew, no matter Ashkenaz or Sephardic, Chasidim or Misnagdim, Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform–everyone is welcome and part of the greater family and community. The synagogue is a place we go to connect with our fellow Jews, where we respect and care for each other–our brothers and sisters, and where we Kibitz, laugh, and share of our selves and our heritage together. 


2) HOLY — The Magen David is holy as the religious symbol of the Jewish people and representing all the hebrew letters as in the Torah and the Ten Commandments. Some also believe in a Kabbalistic or mystical symbolism to the points of the star. Similarly, the synagogue is a place of holiness, and the Mikdash Me’at or small Temple (until the Holy Temple is rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem).  It is the place we go to sacrifice to G-d and a central place where we can do good deeds for our fellow man. 


3) PRAYER AND LEARNING — The Magen David represents the Jewish people, who are known as a people of the book.  And the Magen David with all the Hebrew letters can represent all the Bible, prayer book, and wisdom of our sages. Prayer and learning is central to our faith and service to G-d. Similarly, the synagogue (and Yeshiva or Jewish school) is the center of our religion where we go daily and on Shabbat and holidays to Pray and learn Torah.  


Magen David is an absolutely beautiful and meaningful symbol for who we are and what our synagogue ought to be. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to eshevbooks)

From Holocaust To Nation State

From Holocaust To Nation State
This is a really beautiful representation of the historical developments of the Jewish nation.



Where the Jewish people went from the fiery depths of the Holocaust to the rise of a modern democratic nation state of Israel. 



We are the same sons and daughters of Israel, but no longer exiled from the Holy Land and paraded like sheep to the slaughter from the hate mongers de jour. 



On the right are represented generations, who with the rise of every crazy demagogue that needed to blame their religious, political, social, and economic problems on a scapegoat, the Jewish people suffered at their bloody hands, discriminatory expropriation and expulsion, tax and torture, rape, pogrom, and slaughter.



On the left are shown the Jews from a free democratic State of Israel who are proud to seek a life of peace and security from persecution and who can chart their own course for their people and be a light unto nations for doing what is right and moral and contributing to the world in every significant development and advance of humankind. 



As the Jews went from slavery to freedom many thousands of years ago with the Exodus from Egypt and settlement of the land of Israel, so too today, we can count on the miraculous transition from exile to promised homeland and from persecution to self-determination. 😉



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Eliyokim Cohen)

A Falafel A Day

A Falafel A Day

Peace comes in many shapes and sizes–peace talks, peace negotiations, peace treaties, and now even peace trucks.

Reminiscent of the peace marches and brightly painted VW peace vans of the 1970’s, The Washington Post (26 January 2013) reports on a 76-year old retired Energy Department staffer with a PhD in mechanical engineering who for his second career is starting a peace food truck in DC.

The food truck will have two windows for selling kosher food from one and for selling halal food from the other.

The owner-activist who is an Egyptian American hopes that “it will bring people from different backgrounds, who are waiting on line, to talk together.”

He says: “I think it will work because, well, everyone likes food,” and he hopes to fund additional food trucks in Chicago, New York, Israel, and the West Bank.

The truck has both the Jewish Star of David and Islamic Crescent painted on it–it is truly a truck for representing diversity of people, but with a common taste in good Mediterranean food.

It’s amazing what a falafel can do–perhaps, even help bring peace and security to the Middle East. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Shoshanah)