Privacy Is Dead

I though this was a fascinating ad for the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

The little girl hanging onto to the UAV drone.  

Reminds me of the wonderful classic film, The Red Balloon, where after the balloon follows the little boy everywhere, in the end, off he flews with it into the wild blue yonder. 

As much as we all wish privacy wasn’t dead, for the most part, it really is!

Between ubiquitous and persistent satellites, drones, and video cameras, audio and video surveillance, call intercepts and eavesdropping, computer monitoring tools, smartphone location tracking, facial recognition, body implants, and more, let’s just say you are never truly alone. 

For those who continue to dream the impossible dream of privacy, it is a noble endeavor but quite fruitless without either going deep underground or significant legislative and policy changes that can actually be enforced. 

My grandmother used to say that G-d sees everything and she was right. 

These days, others are watching as well!  😉

The End of Times

I am looking for a good book on the Jewish view of the End of Times.

  • Who fights who?
  • What happens and how does the fighting finally end?
  • Who will live and who will die?
  • Who from the dead will be resurrected?
  • What occurs in practical terms when the Mashiach arrives?
  • What does G-d’s revelation to the whole world look and feel like?
  • Where is Israel at each step in unfolding of the redemption?
  • How does the 3rd Temple actually get built?
  • Is world peace not only possible, but also enduring? 

Wow, would love to read a layman’s book like this.  
Can anyone recommend anything really good?  😉
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Know He Exists

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “I Know He Exists.”

G-d, who is infinitely compassionate, did the most compassionate thing, which was to create us and give us the ability to be compassionate on others. The way we bring Hashem to reside with us is to transform the world (tikkun olam) “to make it a place that G-d can call home.” We do this by performing acts of loving kindness, making the mundane holy, and manifesting G-d’s divine providence. In essence, it’s not enough for us to know G-d exists, but we need to be a light unto the nations to reveal G-d’s unity, sanctity, and ongoing relationship with his creations to everyone in the world.

Like the story of the priest from the Holocaust, we don’t believe G-d exists, but rather, we know He exists. And when we perform our mission in this world by doing good deeds and manifesting G-d’s oneness and divine providence then we make this a place where G-d wants to reside with us in this world as well as in the world to come.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mastering Cheerfulness

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Mastering Cheerfulness.” 

During Covid-19, it is easy to get down about all the people getting sick (many dying) and for the rest of us the intense feelings of isolation. However, during this time (and particularly this week of Thanksgiving), I am learning the importance of staying positive and appreciating all G-d’s blessings that we do have. More broadly, I am coming to understand that inside a person, G-d exists amidst love, kindness and cheerfulness: these are elements that nourish the flame of our soul and wherein G-d happily coexists with us. It makes a lot of sense that when we are angry, jealous, or sad, the holy Shechinah (presence of G-d) cannot fully reside inside us. Because G-d Himself is gracious, kind, and loving and created us from this, so His spirit within us (our soul) flourishes amidst these feelings, but diminishes within us like a flame without oxygen when we distance ourselves emotionally and spiritually.

Just like one candlelight extinguishes the darkness around it, so also the light that we nurture within ourselves can extinguish the darkness that we occasionally feel inside.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There’s Someone For Everyone

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “There’s Someone For Everyone.”

I’m sitting resting on Shabbat, minding my own business, and reading the Favorite Tales of Sholom Aleichem, but then my wife tells me a story circulating in the news that seemed like it could even be one better. At least my exaggerated version of it did as a tall tale in the making.

It starts like this: There is a woman who did not have a lot of luck with men…

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Modeh Ani – Thank you G-d

Beautiful song after the prayer, Modeh Ani that Jews say every morning immediately when we wake up. 

I give thanks to You, living and eternal King for you have restored my soul within me with mercy; Your faithfulness is great.

Thank you G-d for everything you do for us.

Your mercy endures forever!

As Sholom Aleichem say: we should not know the taste of hunger.  😉

(Credit Video: Omer Adam עומר אדם)

Humming The Hatikvah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Humming The Hatikvah.”

But as I walk in the water, feeling both the softness and purity of the beautiful water as well as the buoyancy and resistance of it, I think to myself that no Jews should not be familiar and know The Israel national anthem. After 2,000 painful years in exile culminating in the concentration camps like Theresienstadt and The Six Million murdered Jews, we all must know that now G-d has kept his promise to our forefathers and returned us to The Holy Land.

Assuredly, we are living in the time of miracles, the redemption, and soon to be the coming of the Mashiach. Now is the time not just to hum The Hatikvah, but to bring every Jew back, including me and my family. It’s almost time to go home, where we will sing and dance, with hearts brimming over with Joy, before our L-rd, and once again go to worship at our holy Temple in Jerusalem. May it be His will! Amen.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Creation to the End of Times

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “From Creation to the End of Times.”

As Jews, we travel through history to our destiny along an arc of birth, growth, decline and the learning from our mistakes, to ultimately the fulfillment of our divine mission for world enlightenment. Jewish history can be broken down in a couple of amazing ways: first by every two millennium from creation forward, and second, starting with Abraham, in 400-500 year increments.

We have an incredible history that takes us along a clear trajectory from our founding of monotheism and special relationship with G-d as His “chosen” in the receiving the Torah and its transmission, to our many weaknesses and failures in going astray from our mission, and ultimately to our redemption and achievement of G-d’s purpose for us in bringing his teachings and glory to all the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tefillin: Our Wi-Fi To G-d

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Tefillin: Our Wi-Fi To G-d.”

I remember not long ago my son-in-law, Itzchak telling me:

Tefillin are our antennas to Hashem!

And like an antenna, we are able to pray and have our signal amplified to G-d as well as be able to be imbued with G-d’s spirit and direction to us in life. With the Straps of the Tefillin as well as the boxes and knots, we spell out the letters of G-d’s name on our head and on our arm. Thus, we are not only wrapped in this “spiritual antenna,” but we literally wear G-d’s words on the parchment in the Tefillin boxes and with His holy name stamped on our centers of thought and feeling.

In short, Tefillin is opportunity for us to network over Wi-Fi with the Master of the Universe. It takes us out of the daily grind of looking at the world in selfish, shortsightedness of what’s in it for me today, and how can I get more gold and goodies than the next guy or girl. Inside all of us, we have a soul from G-d, and through our spiritual Wi-Fi connection, we can energize that part of ourselves with a good, strong signal straight to the Big Guy upstairs.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumethal)

Someone’s Always Watching

These days someone is always watching.

Whether someone is peering at you from upstairs or around the corner.

Or there is a surveillance camera.

Or someone is recording you on their smartphone. 

You are never really alone. 

And even IF, and that’s a big if, that no one person is watching.

Remember that G-d above still sees everything!  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)