Finding Our Religion

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Finding Our Religion.”

The contrast between me being Jewish and the environment that was as broad as the United Nations (actually only a few blocks away), helped me to find myself and to build my personal Jewish identity. So, I think that for those Jews that are afraid for their children to leave the confines of the home, their “shtetl” neighborhood, and the local yeshiva, because they are afraid of the “foreign” (goyish) influences, I think that while that may be right for some Jews possibly, it is definitely not right for all of us.

In a sense, the redemption of the Jewish people and exodus was so much greater a miracle by Moshe becoming this great Jewish leader from within the fires of the Egyptian paganism at the time. Moshe’s rejectionism of Egyptian power and culture used for evil to enslave and hurt others was a powerful choice of good over evil and a message to Pharaoh and his household that despite all his wealth, strength, and influence, that Pharaoh and Egypt would fall before the hand of the true, Almighty G-d of Israel. Similarly, I think the message for us is that the final redemption for us and the world will come initially from “galut” (outside of Israel) from the cauldron of “Edom” (the Roman Empire and Western civilization) and all the materialist and pleasurable freedoms and allures thereof.
(Credit Painting: Dossy Blumenthal)

The Last Kiss Goodnight

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Last Kiss Goodnight.”

Certainly, every human being has the desire to live and goes about fighting for life. It’s part of our genetic makeup and our very survival instinct. Yet, we all know that the cycle of life brings us from the beginnings of infancy to growth, the maturity of adulthood, then decline, old age and ultimately death itself. Truly, we all know the end from the very beginning, and with that we can achieve a greater awareness that what’s good in living isn’t the materialism and chasing the next “high,” but rather the ability to choose to do good and to be on a higher spiritual plane.

Life is choice and having control over how we respond to life’s circumstances. Death is simply observing and being. Therefore, even if we merit being in the Divine presence in the afterlife, we still can’t actively help anyone, like those we love, any longer. This is why we want to merit life where we can continue to work on ourselves and help others. Thus, despite all the pain and suffering associated with life, it is more than offset by the opportunity to learn, grow, and transform our very essence in a purification process of our souls.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

@The Amish Experience

It was a fun time at The Amish Experience today in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania. 


One and a half hour bus tour of Amish country. 


45 Minute movie about Jacob, an Amish teen, trying to decide whether he wants to be in the outside world or in the Amish one.


And another hour of so tour of an Amish school house and home. 


Felt like I learned a lot about their culture (including no TV, internet, electricity [just batteries and solar], and education only through 8th grade). 


Honestly, it doesn’t seem like they really have much a choice in whether to choose the church and become Amish or leave, because if they choose to leave they are shunned (i.e. excommunicated)!


So you either choose you family, church, community, and a wife (and there is no divorce) or you run off to G-d knows where completely alone and “divorced” from everything you know. 


The video is when we stopped at an Amish farm and I went in to the big barn with all the cows.  


After so much time on the bus, I needed to ham it up a little and have fun with:


“How now brown cow. It is so nice to eat you! You are beautiful animals.  And thank you Hashem for making you!”  😉


(Credit Video: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

Best Wardrobe

Love this choice of clothing!


You can choose a white shirt, a white shirt, or a white shirt. 


Decisions, Decisions!


Great thing is simplicity and that you can dress in the dark in the morning. 


Bad thing is you are a lifeless, colorless buffoon. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)