A Vision of Jewish Strength

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “A Vision of Jewish Strength.”

 

With the rebirth of the State of Israel came the rebirth of the Jew. No longer the Jew cowering in the face of pogroms, Inquisition, Crusades, persecution, expulsions, and the Holocaust. The new Jew, as epitomized by the brave men and women of IDF, would be remade in the image of Moses who led the Jews out of Egyptian slavery, and King David who vanquished our enemies in our land, as well as the Jews of Purim and Hanukah, who fought ever so valiantly and to victory against the great empires of Persia and Greece or for us, whoever rises against us as the modern day equivalent.


But as important to the new Jew as our physical survival is that of our spiritual wellbeing. The persecution of Jews over thousands of years was not just a physical attack, as horrible as it was, but also a spiritual, religious, and cultural one, where Jews were prohibited from learning Torah, worshiping, and practicing as Jews. Thus, the second point of criticality in having the State of Israel is that it provides for Jewish sovereignty and ensures “the Jew as actor, determiner of his or her own destiny.” The Jewish people to truly thrive must be able to express themselves through their own language and history, religiously and culturally, and practically through their own leadership and decision-making to forge their own future.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Israel Must Leave No Stone Unturned

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Israel Must Leave No Stone Unturned.”

Over the last decades since 1973, Israel has taken strong actions again to beef up their defenses and leave no stone unturned including taking the bold steps in destroying the menacing nuclear reactors of Iraq in 1981 and the Syrian reactor in 2007. Now Israel is facing a similar decision on action with Iran and their weapons of mass destruction. Israel and the United States need to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a path towards a peaceful resolution with Iran, but if that stone threatens potential annihilation of Israel and other western allies, then there should be no doubt whatever that Israel and other civilized nations must act once more to remove the threat and turn that stone into harmless dust again.


Whether towards peace or G-d forbid to war, Israel must be courageous to act and leave no stone unturned to secure its peace and security, or the ultimate defeat of its unrelenting enemies. Israel must be like Joseph, and be able to interpret the dreams and events unfolding before them, and like Pharaoh to make the decision to act and restore the meticulous butler, hang the negligent and dangerous baker, and save the nation from otherwise assured destruction. May G-d give us the wisdom, courage, and strength to do what we must eventually do and let it be for the good.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Get Over It

Thought this was a funny title for a book:

“Sh*t Happens So Get Over It.”

There are no perfect lives out there. 


I reminded again this week how everyone has something: Mark Herd, Co-CEO of Oracle, died at 62 and and Elijah Cummings, elected to 12 terms in the House of Representatives, died at 68.


All the success int he world on the surface doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of schlimazel (misfortune) under the surface.


Unfortunately, sh*t definitely happens in life and we can get all spun up over it or we can take everything in faith and stride. 


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 


What does kill takes us to the next phase of existence. 


All you can do is your best, the rest is in the hands of the Almighty above. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we’ve got to cope with a different reality.


Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 


We can’t do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 


There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 


When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:

Yes, we’re getting older–what’s the alternative?


Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 


We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.


And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it’s like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:

You’re not supposed to leave this world alive!


Putting these together: 


I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process–because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. 😉

Is That An Olive Branch Or A Gun

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Is That An Olive Branch Or A Gun.”

Our adversaries have become adept at terrorizing with one hand and painting themselves as victims with the other….The subterfuge of calling for peace, but seeking to murder has been going on for decades. The PLO charter that calls for the “liberation of Palestine” and the destruction of Israel was supposedly changed in the Oslo Accords, but it was never ratified. And the terrorist tactic of gaining ground (Gaza, West Bank, etc.) to further their strategic aim to attack and destroy Israel is well understood. Arafat became a master of this chicanery already decades ago when he came to the United Nations in 1974 with a “freedom fighters gun” on his hip and an “olive branch” in his offering. Today, the run of the mill terrorist continues this duplicity having become proficient at holding human shields (women and children) in one hand, and a gun or bomb to attack in the other. Similarly, organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah have cunningly split their missions of terrorism and murder of Israelis on one hand with social welfare and political cause for Palestinians on the other. They raise sympathy and seek to gain immunity at the same time as they continue to delegitimize Israel and conduct economic warfare and rampaging killing sprees.


In this regard, I wanted to share two sayings about not letting down our guard when it comes to the safety and security of Israel and our people. One, from the Romans, “If you wish for peace, prepare for war” also known as “peace through strength.” The second saying from former President Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify” also know as “respect them but suspect them.”

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Coming Annexation

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Coming Annexation.”

There has been much talk about Annexation of the Area C settlements in the West Bank (i.e. Yehuda and Shomron), and I believe that we are definitely moving in that direction. According to the 1993 Oslo Accords. Area C is where Israel maintains both security and civilian control. It represents about 60% of the West Bank and is of vital importance to the State of Israel and its future, and therefore is soon likely to be annexed.


Israel is the Promised Land and the one nation state for the Jewish people. Israel has absorbed millions of Jewish refugees from around the world. It is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs in twenty-two countries. Israel captured the West Bank in a war of self-defense and should be prepared to annex it for the peace and security of its people and the region. If Israel has faith, remains strong, recognizes the military, geographical, and sociological realities on the ground and provides for the depth and settlement of its people, while at the same time being compassionate to the Palestinians, then it will continue to survive and thrive as a State, a democracy, and as light unto the nations.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)