Supporting Israel is Right

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, “Dialogue with a Former Israel Supporter.”


Israel is not only the biblical and historical homeland for the Jewish people, but it is the only Jewish country in the entire world. 


Nations and terrorists have attacked, again and again, denying the United Nations declaration for the State of Israel and the modern-day geopolitical reality of its existence–and it is flourishing!


The State of Israel has successfully made peace with its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, and they seek the same with the Palestinians.


Let us hope and pray for coexistence speedily in our times. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today is Father’s Day

What a beautiful Father’s Day card from my daughter. 


Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 


It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 


The cover of the card:

“Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way.”


As parents, we certainly don’t have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 


And frankly, the kids don’t want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 


The best we can really do is to be there for them–to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 


I used to love going to my parent’s house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being “home” and with them. 


I didn’t have to think about what I did or said–I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 


Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 


Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 


Our home is always their home. 


Our love is always surrounding them. 


My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 


I could count on him for anything.


I miss him always, and especially today, Father’s Day. 


But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad–there, and loving and giving–no bounds, no expectations, no judgment–just love, plain and simple. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Among All The Apples

This was an interesting photo moment at Whole Foods–this Valentine’s Day huggy bear sitting among all the apples. 


Sort of how I felt after synagogue today and at other times. 


I’ve learned the importance as my father had so often tried to teach me of going to synagogue.


Yes, the prayer and service to Hashem.


But also the community. 


We all need people. 


None of us is an island. 


At synagogue, aside from the opportunity to speak and be close with G-d, I appreciate the hearty calls of “Shabbat Shalom,” the embracing handshakes, hugs and occasional kisses, the chance to see and kiss the holy Torah, and being among friends.


Like the apples, we’re all sort of the same, yet unique, and we stand together. 


As apples, we all have our glowing and shiny outsides, a sweet inner core, and also plenty of juicy meat. 


People too put on their best clothes, shoes, and do themselves to look their best going to synagogue, and inside they are there to express their goodness with G-d and the community.


Also though, you hear plenty of the heartbreaking stories about what is happening to them as families and individuals. 


Sure, there are the lovely smachot (happy occasions) in their and our lives to celebrate, but there is also plenty of adversity and challenges faced daily. 


One member passed away this week, another is getting cancer treatments, and someone got hit by a car crossing the street and is in the hospital with literally 79 screws holding their ribs together!


Then there are those out looking for work, others suffering from bad marriages or getting divorced, someone with a sick child that needs lifelong care, and someone who even got robbed this week.


Yes, shiny on the outside and with the sweetness of souls and hearts, and yet everyone has their baskets of challenges to deal with. 


For someone like me, I literally feel it inside for people–it’s like I can almost imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes. 


Obviously, I can’t–no one really can–but I imagine myself and ask myself OMG what in the world would I do–and of course, I have no real idea. 


Synagogue is I guess the most perfect place to experience all this–since we are before G-d, asking for his blessings and mercy, and with others, we bond to who are all in the same boat paddling and trying to survive and live a full and meaningful life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 


1. Teamwork – Remember you’re not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 


2. Work-Life Balance – Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life–professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual–then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!


3. Perspective – You’ve got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side–we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!


4. Sense of Humor – When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you’re looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly…perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!


5. Faith – No matter what…G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life’s journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!


On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:


“The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!” (or in Hebrew “Adonai li v’lo ira”)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Coupling, The Beauty Of

Couple

So just a couple of birds, right?


Not to me!


There were a number of reminders to me today about how special and fortunate it is for any of us to be with someone we love.


It’s not just that two heads are better than one. 


Pretty much, everything is better with a partner who looks back at us and smiles. 


We magnify the joy and we share the sorrow, together.


What my dad used to call my mom, his “better half!”


What we are lacking in, often our soulmate can fill in the blank. 


And planning and executing is as a team, rather than flying solo. 


There is someone who keeps our lofty ideas in check and at the same time challenges us when it’s time to think bigger. 


We learn from the other person, at the same time that we teach them maybe a little thing or two from our repertoire. 


Strategically, divide and conquer makes everything from routine tasks to complex projects easier to achieve, especially when we agree on the goal and the approach. 


Even the “occasional” disagreements and fights helps us to learn to control our temperament and to work things out or when to take a break and think things through afresh. 


Someone to reach out to.


Someone to hold unto. 


Someone to caress.


Someone to buttress. 

 

Someone who makes us a better person than the one we see in the mirror naked and mortal. 


Like 2 by 2 in Noah’s Ark or in the birds and the bees, we are committed to that special someone. 


The Bat Kol calls out “so and so shall be married to so and so” like only the L-rd in heaven can decree from the rib of man to the flesh of a women. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Young Love

Young Love.jpeg

So I took this photo of a painting in a home furnishings store.

Just something really striking about it to me. 

The way the women is leaning into the man and his head/face leans into hers. 

Their focus on the drawing or plans in front of them, where he seems to be sketching out their future together. 

Also, their hands touching and almost clasped.

Young love is beautiful.

When people find each other, by some miracle of G-d.

And the chemistry magically makes 2 people like 1. 

The look they give each other, when their hopes and dreams converge.

Best friends, companions, lovers with the potential to grow ever mightier over time. 

Life not without obstacles that the couple must overcome, supporting each other.

Building a home, raising a family, making a future together come true.

When the minds meet, the hearts yearn for each other, and the souls join.

What a time of joy and blessing…a time to live for and to continue the generations forward and build that which cannot be completed by any man alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Versioning Gone Wild

Version Out Of Control

So software versioning is supposed to be a way to manage change control. 


However, many vendors have gone out of control with versioning. 


1) Incompatibility–It isn’t backward compatible, so if you try to work with an older version file/data, you may be sh*t of out of luck getting it to work. 


2) Alphabet-Numerical Soup–We have so many versions of the same/similar thing, we can make your head spin with buyer envy. 


3) Functionally Indistinct–Version changes are so minute or insignificant that there is virtually no difference to the end-user, but you’ll love it anyway. 


4) Long And Meaningless–Some versions just seem to go on and on into the weeds…like version 2.10.3.97–ah, let’s compare that to the new version of the week of 2.10.3.98, and don’t forget the 2.10.4 will be a completely different platform, so you better remember to order the right one. 


5) Upgrade Pathless–You want to be on the current version, well your version is so legacy and ancient, there’s no (easy) upgrade path–you have to install 26 patches, hot fixes, and 9 new versions and then you’ll be on the right one!


6) Maintaining Multiple Versions–You’ll need to maintain multiple versions of the same product, because your data on the older version can’t be migrated to the new one. Can anyone say multiple maintenance fees?


7) Out Of Support–Your older version that you spent a lot of money on is no longer current  and is now out of support–so scr*w you unless you pay us again for the next money maker version. 


If you want to kill your brand and possibly your customers’ sanity, keep on going mindless version crazy. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)