The Art of Friendship

Please see my article in The Times of Israel called “The Art of Friendship.”

My hope and prayer is that this is just a small microcosm of friendship and peace that can spread in all communities, societies, nations, and lands, so that we are no longer black or white, Jew, Muslim, or Christian, or any other divisive label, but rather that we are all children of G-d, and plain and simple, friends.

(Credit Photos: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

Concrete Faith in a Flimsy Sukkah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Concrete Faith in a Flimsy Sukkah.”

Jews place their faith in G-d rather than massive building structures, the strongest foundations, and incalculable amounts of concrete and rebar. Instead, we sit in the flimsy and temporary sukkah to remember that G-d is our ultimate stronghold.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Beautiful Song From The Guardians of Zion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “A Beautiful Song From The Guardians of Zion.”I was very moved by the Israeli police, who have dangerous jobs defending the borders and the cities of the Holy Land, yet singing unburdened about our home and heart!

The Jewish people are an incredible tapestry of amazing people from all over the world.

The Irreligious Religious

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Irreligious Religious.”

If some “religious” people do the wrong thing, disrespect their fellow Jews, hate on them, curse them, defile their prayers, that doesn’t mean they are really religious. Rather to the contrary — they are the irreligious religious!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Calling On The Vatican

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Calling On The Vatican.”Historically, the holy city of Jerusalem was captured, and the second Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Roman Army led by Titus and his father Emperor Vespasian. Later, in the year 81 CE, the Arch of Titus (pictured above) was erected to commemorate Titus’s victory over the Jews and depicts the plunder the Roman Army carried back in their ceremonial march. Clearly carved in the arch are the Temple menorah, trumpets, and the table for the showbread—a sampling of the Temple spoils that the Romans carried off back to their home.

I want to beseech the Pope and the Vatican to return the items that they have from the Jewish Temple that rightfully belong to the Jewish people. These items sitting idly in the Vatican vaults and archives hold enormous sanctity to the Jewish people who crafted and worshipped with them over the duration of 1,400 years from the Tabernacle to the First and Second Temples. In the spirit of love and brotherhood between Christians and Jews, and in the name of G-d who commands all mankind not to steal from one another, and to return lost items to their rightful owner, I say to the Pope, it is high time to do the right thing and return our holy Temple vessels to Israel.(Source Photo: https://pixabay.com/photos/forum-romanum-arch-titus-relief-883849/)

Coexistence Means Everyone

I really liked this car’s bumper sticker:

Coexist

C – C in shape of Crescent Moon and Star represents Islam

O – O with Peace sign and designed for nuclear disarmament

E – E with Male and Female symbols represents Sexual Equality

X – X designated by Star of David represents Judaism

I – I with Five Pointed Star at top represents Pagans and Wicans

S – S with Ying and Yang represents Taoists

T – T in shape of Cross represents Christianity.

Now how do we get people to actually live this way: respecting each other and living harmoniously together?  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Stranger and The Enemy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Stranger and The Enemy.”

In summary, with regards to Israel, we must follow two important commandments that guide our relationships with the outside world. First, there is the imperative to love our neighbor and the stranger. Second is the dictum to wholly defend ourselves from our enemies who seek our destruction. While on the surface these may pose a contradiction, in reality, they do not, because if our neighbors and the strangers among us are willing to live in genuine peace with us then we gladly and actively will extend the olive branch in peace and brotherhood. But if unfortunately, our neighbors are bent on our genocide then we must fight them.

Love and peace is always what we want from the bottom of our hearts, but war is a necessity that is sometimes thrust upon us by our enemies and that we must absolutely, with G-d’s help, win.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mount Meron and Hating The “Baseless”

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Mount Meron and Hating The ‘Baseless.'”

We are all reeling from the devastating deaths of 45 Jews on Lag B’Omer at Mount Meron (and many others critically injured) from a stampede during the bonfire celebration near the grave of the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Last night, we were glued to the new as the body count kept going up. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this is something that happens in the masses of people that gather in India or Saudi Arabia, not in the tiny State of Israel. But lo’ and behold, tragedy can strike anywhere, anytime. Life is completely tenuous!

So can we draw conclusions that in those days there was baseless hate and so too in our times. I think, while we don’t know G-d’s ways, certainly from experience and observation, we do know that there is not only baseless hate, but also plenty of “hate the baseless”.  And what I mean by that is that one type of Jew thinks they are better than another whose beliefs, faith, and observance we denigrate and deem baseless, without support and they without real merit…We are forever driven towards a “Better than thou” attitude and lifestyle. To the religious catcalls of “get out of our neighborhood slut” or the throwing of Shabbat rocks at passing cars. This all has got to stop!
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)