Being Jewish and Proud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Being Jewish and Proud.”

With roughly 15 million Jews in a world of 7.7 billion people, we make up less than .2% of the world population. However, despite our small size, we’ve been recognized with over 20% of the Nobel Prizes for contributions to the sciences, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Most Jews tend to believe not only in a strong core religious education, but in higher education and lifelong learning, and others excel even when starting out and innovating from their garages. From Abraham and Moses to Einstein and Freud, and even to today’s Jews leading the Technology revolution–such as Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg–the Jewish contribution is truly unparalleled.

Until Mashiach, there will always be some people that hate on us and want to destroy us–perhaps and unfortunately, that’s just who they are. But we choose not be anyone else but Jews, because that’s who we are–and there is every reason to be ourselves, maintain our faith of thousands of years, continue to make awesome contributions that benefit mankind, and be forever proud to be a Jew.

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s It Worth To You?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “What’s It Worth To You.”

Certainly, passion for being your best, determination to succeed, and even some healthy competition are important factors in driving our own success as well as societal progress, but when keeping up with that scorecard against others becomes the essence of your own self-worth then things have gone too far and way off course.


We each have our mission, strengths, challenges, and so forth. It’s okay in life, if someone else has more of something (money, friends, honor, whatever). Everyone has their own “basket in life” as my father taught me, “and you wouldn’t want to change baskets with anyone else.”


(Photo Credit: 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)

I Pray For The Day

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Pray For The Day.”


While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again–shoulder to shoulder–that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies “at each others’ throats.”


In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hopefully, All’s Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):

When the end is good, all is good. 


Or as we commonly say:

All’s well that end’s well. 


Lot of truth to this. 


And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.


When things end well, it’s as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it’s as if everything was bad. 


The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 


Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 


Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 


In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.


– Was all the hard work worth it?


– Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?


– Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 


– What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?


We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Great Spider-Man

Love this painting of Spider-Man.


Like so many things, this superhero is better in colors (and not just red)!


He’s also got two spiders on his chest, and as we know, two are better than one. 


I also appreciate how he stares down evil with the tilt of the head and those over-sized eyes. 


There is still plenty of evil in this world, and we need every superhero we can find to vanquish it!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Meeting The Honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Remembering Amos Oz.”


Wow, this was so awesome today–I got to shake hands with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 


We went to the memorial today for famous Israeli author, Amos Oz. 

I love Oz’s literary works–he is a genius–even as I find myself disagreeing with some of his ideology: Yes, I agree with his humanism and the need to have peace with the Palestinians, but also I am steadfast that Israel must remain strong in the face of the numerous threats it faces, especially after the terrible lessons of the Holocaust. However, as much as I came to honor Oz, I felt is was a dishonor to him that the memorial was in great part turned into a political discourse for leftists (even as it was stated that Oz himself separated his pens for literature and politics).

I am convinced that in the end, it will be the moderates, and not the proliferating extremists (left or right) that bring peace, security, and justice to Israel and the Palestinians. 


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Interfaith Movie Today

This afternoon, we attended the interfaith movie screening of “The Judge.

The movie is about a Palestinian woman who becomes “the first woman judge in a Shari’a ‘family law’ court.”

Let’s just say it wasn’t easy for her to break into this male-dominated profession within institutionalized religion in the Middle East.

Thinking in an interfaith way, I guess it’s maybe not so dissimilar to women breaking into the profession of the Rabbinate.

Another similarity between the religions was that there were many Islamic religious leaders that were very conservative and dead set against women in the Shari’a courts, while others stood up against the tide and inspired change — I think we have similar disagreements in Judaism between the ultra-orthodox who want to stick with the “old” historical ways of doing things, and the more liberal Jews that seek the freedom to alter those ways.

During the movie, there were some interesting take-aways like under Shariah law, men are allowed up to 4 wives!

Another funny line in the movie was when one of the men said that the men never make trouble for the women (i.e. it’s all the women’s fault).

In the court cases filmed, there seemed to be a lot of cases of domestic violence and of divorce, and in one case in particular the wife was actually stabbed to death in the court house by her husband who she was trying to get a divorce from.

Overall, it felt good to attend the event and try to be a part of the healing process between people.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS) of Washington, D.C.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union…


But this morning, I still can’t help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 


The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.


This didn’t happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 


And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 


What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?


One lady said to a group of us last evening:

I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it’s NO ONE currently in political office!


To which another gentleman replied:

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.


Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. 😉