The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 


They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 


And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 


Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 


After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 


We sort of become like automatons. 


Flip the switch and we go.


When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 


But also when we break people’s structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 


People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 


Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.


You know what you’re doing–you’ve done it before, so you can do it again.


If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)


All of a sudden they don’t know what to do or how to do it. 


Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 


Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 


It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 


People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.


Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that’s truly a blessing.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Win Rocky Win

I found this Rocky gem on eBay.


And it arrived, all wrapped up nicely, in the mail yesterday.  


Rocky working out and training. 


His shirt says:

Win Rocky Win


I posed him with his arms up in the air like after a fight in the ring. 


Love his fighting spirit, determination, and integrity.


Overcoming against all odds. 


Great inspiration. 


Some say we actually look alike. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Will Survive

G-d gives us strength. 


To battle ignorance, apathy, and evil. 


To educate, persuade, influence, and fight for what’s right. 


With a thick skin of battle armor.


And sword and arrows of insight, cunning, and righteousness.


To stand firm even when you feel weakened. 


To find the words even when you are mocked. 


To see clearly and hear distinctly even when confounded. 


The soul and spirit of G-d guides you.


As you traverse a journey through life’s winding tests and challenges. 


Fight heroically to repair that which is broken. 


Say resolutely, I will survive!  😉

Children’s Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Children’s Voices and Scars.”

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are “destroyed” from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children–those that are still innocent and defenseless–are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:

  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don’t be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can’t as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Life = Growth

Thought this was an interesting photo at REI.


It says behind the cash registers:

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. – Eleanor Roosevelt


The  background has this serene river flow–along with some obvious whitewater. 


But in front of it, the cash register area is hopping crazy and messy.


It’s a contradiction–not unlike life itself which is full of it’s own ups and downs that challenge us routinely. 


Life is where we get the experience that shapes us and strengthens us, as long as it does not break us.  


Life = Growth


Why else would we be here?


G-d is the best teacher. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 


Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 


May their memory be a blessing!


Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Anne Frank

In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:


This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.


For two years, they stayed in the attic…not being able to make a sound or open a window.


But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 


After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 


Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.


This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  😉


___

Song:


Anne Frank’s Diary


Lyrics:

A book hides me.
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It’s not true, it’s not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I’m a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious …
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious …