Beautiful Tutim

Love these strawberries (i.e. Tutim) from Israel. 


(Hebrew classes are paying off…)


Large, red, and sweet to eat. 


They look so appealing and delicious. 


G-d’s beautiful fruits (and vegetables).


What an amazing world He has created for us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jerusalem Center of The World

I love this map by Heinrich Bunting, a German Protestant pastor and cartographer. 


This beautiful artist and thoughtful map was published in 1581.


It shows the 3 continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa as 3 leaves of a clovers with Jerusalem at the center. 


Jerusalem, Israel is the focus, nexus and crossroad between these 3 worlds of Western, Asian, and African civilizations. 


Israel is so multi-cultural and holy to the 3 major monotheistic religions of the world (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism).  


Light, healing, peace, and prosperity should emanate from Jerusalem to the whole world and G-d should bless us from his heavenly abode.  😉


(Source Photo: Wikipedia)

Controlling The World, Really?

So, unfortunately, there is a lot of discrimination and hate out there. 


Often, I see, hear, or read lots of anti-Semitism. 


People don’t like what I write in my blog, that I eat Kosher, Keep Shabbat, or that I wear a head covering or whatever. 


I get things like “Dirty Jew!”


Sometimes, “Get out! Go back to Israel!”


Or when I try to express myself, “Uh, the Jews control the world,”


The funny thing is if Jews control the world, why do I feel like I don’t control anything!


I feel so small and insignificant in a way in the realm of G-d’s great universe. 


Where I am but a speck of dust.


I see tall skyscrapers.


Huge mountain ranges. 


The deep oceans.


The rolling plains. 


The infinite stars in the sky. 


I see a world with hundreds of countries. 


And billions of people. 


And I see me, and I am just a person. 


And I see the Jewish people–a tiny minority.


One that has been subject of pogroms, inquisitions, exiles, destruction, and genocide–over and over again. 


I grew up pretty poor and watching my parents work so hard trying their best to support the family. 


I think Jews don’t control the world. 


I certainly don’t think I control even my day. 


The reality is only G-d is in control. 


And for that, I am most humble and grateful to the L-rd above. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Like Saving The Whole World

Save A Life.jpeg

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

“He who saves one life…It is as if he saves a whole world.”


For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!


Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves…their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!


Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have–what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 


Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 


My thoughts and prayers are with him. 


This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it’s time for the doctors–with G-d’s help–to save his life.


I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn’t there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in “exploratory” to find out what the heck was going on.


And thank G-d that they did–they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn’t be writing to you all today. 


I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.


I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Smell The Roses

Roses.jpeg

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 


These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.


They were absolutely gorgeous!


Sometimes, I can’t believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 


We’re part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 


Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world – illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 


Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 


While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life’s many challenges. 


Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment–to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Did G-d Create The World?

Globe 1
So we met the Rabbi at Starbucks for a coffee and conversation. 



We talked about such a wide variety of topics–the Ten Commandments, the laws of Shabbat, driverless cars and smartphones, women’s minyan (prayer services), and even LGBT.



Not sure how this came up, but at one point the Rabbi turns to us and asks, “Why did G-d create the world?”



Taken a little off guard by this very big question, I blurted out, “To get to the other side!”



I thought he was going to fall off his chair, and then we all laughed. 



But then we started to discuss some of the traditional answers like G-d out his infinite love created us with a spark of himself.



In very mortal terms, I guess maybe it’s not so fun to be G-d (omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent) but be alone in the universe.



By creating us, His children, he gave the gift of life, learning, and growth for us to emulate the Divine. 



What about all the terrible suffering?



Perhaps just part of our tests, trials, and tribulations to ultimately grow our souls. 



Still it’s a tough world. 



I wonder maybe “to get to the other side”–for us to get to Heaven–isn’t such a bad answer after all (even if it comes from the chicken crossing the road joke). 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

All The Frogs From Egypt

Frog

So what happened to all the swarms of frogs from the Bible when in Exodus, G-d struck the Egyptians with the 2nd plague of frogs (reminds me of the children’s song: “Frogs here! Frogs there! Frogs are jumping everywhere!“)? 


I saw this sticker on a pole in downtown D.C. advertising for this Frog called the Rabb’s Fringe Limbed Tree Frog, where there is just 1 left in the entire world. 


Talking about facing extinction!


And this interesting website called PhotoArk by National Geographic freelance photgrapher, Joel Sartore (noted at the bottom of the sticker) sells all sorts of amazing photos of endangered animal species to promote conservation. 


One of them has his “greatest hits” featured with 90 favorite images and sells for $225–what awesome creatures G-d has created.


I remember reading in the Wall Street Journal how since1970 the world’s wildlife numbers have dropped by more than half (52%)–“in rivers, on land, and in the seas.” 


That is crazy!


Surely, we need to preserve life and create a sustainable future–my G-d, what are we doing to world and these beautiful creatures? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)