Announcing My First Book: On Judaism and Life

With gratitude to Hashem, I am announcing my first published book, On Judaism and Life

It is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and hardcopy.  

Book description:

This book is about finding and connecting with G-d. As the prophet Jeremiah states (29:13), “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” This is my personal journey back to G-d and Judaism. It provides my life reflections, dreams, prayers, and hopes to strengthen my faith and trust in G-d by exploring a variety of the precious gems of Judaism and the Torah, reflecting on the diversity and strength of our people and culture, and longing for our nation and beautiful State of Israel and the completion of the final Redemption and bringing of the Mashiach. Please G-d, may it serve as inspiration for your journey as well.

I hope you enjoy!

Interview requests may be directed here.

What Are You Refusing To See?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “What Are You Refusing To See?“Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi’s incredible book, Divine Information, opened my eyes in explaining about “Torah and Science,” how G-d’s word to us in the Torah is fully and absolutely divine from Hashem.

The Torah was given in 1,312 BCE, before most of the discoveries of the world, modern science, and tools like telescopes and microscopes. Yet, the Torah tells us secrets of the world and science long before they were known.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why I Cry At Circumcisions

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Why I Cry At Circumcisions.”

Circumcision reminds me of Abraham, our forefather, who was tested and told to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, to G-d. It is truly counter-intuitive for a parent to hurt or sacrifice their child. Yet, this is exactly how G-d tested Abraham before the angel of G-d told him not to raise his hand to Isaac, and instead Abraham then offered to G-d a ram that was caught in the thicket. However, when it comes to circumcision, we are also tested and actually are commanded to surgically remove the male child’s foreskin and as the baby cries out, every parent, no matter how faithful and religiously devoted, winces and feels deeply inside for their child’s pain, even if it is only momentary and soothed by a sip of kosher Kedem Concord Grape wine.

The rite of the circumcision is an incredible transcendental religious experience, where our very faith is tested and we go against our own physical instincts to protect the child, no matter what, and instead we submit ourselves to G-d Almighty, the Master of the Universe to perform the circumcision, because He told us to. Whether there are medical benefits or not, G-d commands, and we obey. We are His people, and his thoughts and plans are infinitely greater than ours. At the circumcision, in an act of complete faith, we graciously give over our male children and ourselves—in body, mind, and soul to G-d. We renounce our desires, our gratification, our very instincts, and put ourselves in G-d’s merciful hands. In that moment of selfless giving, we fulfill our covenant of generations with G-d and we affirm our holiness as individuals and as a nation.

(Photo Credit: Avital Pinnick; https://www.flickr.com/photos/spindexr/4678468852/)

Testing Our Faith

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Testing Our Faith.”

In short, I think it’s healthy for us as human beings to ask questions, even the most difficult questions of why. We need to make sense of our world and the context in which we live. Questions like: Why do good people at times experience horrible loss and suffering? Why do atheists and sinners often seem to excel and succeed (my wife says, perhaps they sold their soul to the devil!)?

While asking why to search for G-d and try to understand His ways is human, at the same time, we as mere mortal human beings can not ever fully know G-d’s ways or His plan for us. In short, Mendel, the Chabad rabbi, said today, don’t get fixated on the why. Instead focus on what you can do to make the world better. Actions speak louder than words.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Awesome Torah Turtle

We went to a beautiful playground dedication at Chabad. 

Aside from the lavish and colorful playground, they had a trampoline, petting zoo, and BBQ for Lag B’Omer. 

This was Torah Turtle (my name for him) at the event. 

What an amazing shell and such a cool animal.

Turtles are a definite favorite!  😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Tragic Comedy of the “Anti-Zionist Synagogue”

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “The Tragic Comedy of the ‘Anti-Zionist Synagogue‘.”Recently in the Forward, I read about this “synagogue,” Tzedek Chicago, that has the tragic distinction of being the first anti-Zionist synagogue in America. They claim that they are all about justice, as their name “Tzedek” supposedly implies, and as their website values states:

“…the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against the Palestinian people, an injustice that continues to this day.”

However, the facts do not match the rhetoric. Anti-Zionism, regardless of the source is ultimately about Jew hatred.(Screenshot from @margoexplainsitall on Instagram reel at https://www.instagram.com/reel/CcBMN1bFfpU/)

Playing The Odds

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Playing The Odds.”The stranger told me: Precisely fifty years ago, the doctor told me the exact same thing about having a one in a hundred chance of paralysis if they operated. So, what did I do? I went to see the Rabbi (Avigdor Miller) and ask his advice, and the Rabbi says to me: “A Jew doesn’t take odds like that!”

I thought to myself while Jews don’t take those wild odds (1 in a 100 of paralysis), why do they play the odds with their souls by pretending to be religious on the outside, but on the inside and away from human eyes doing evil? Surely, we all know that G-d sees everything and that a faithful judgment awaits us all. And it all made sense not to play the odds not only with our physical health, but also with our spiritual wellbeing.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Teaching Our Children To Be Good Jews

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Teaching Our Children To Be Good Jews.”

What happened to genuine faith in G-d, belief in the holy Torah, our duty to abide by the 613 commandments, and generally doing right in this world by our fellow man and before G-d Almighty? Maybe I’m being too literal here but being a “good Jew” has got to mean something important. We are keeping alive the tradition of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, spanning back thousands of years to our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to G-d delivering us from Egyptian servitude, and His giving to us the Torah on Mount Sinai, and to His bringing us to Israel, the Land of Milk and Honey, and keeping us from being wiped away by one great empire after another. Being a Jew means being part of an important important and yes, “chosen” for a special mission of being a “light unto the nations” and that means action on our part: thinking, saying, and doing what’s right all the time!

We are tested daily to do what’s right, even when it’s not convenient, easy, enjoyable, or popular. What is a Jew? We need to really ask ourselves that question. It’s not trivial and neither should the answer be. Our lives in this world and the next are depending on how we live up to the high bar that is set for us each and every day of our lives that Hashem mercifully grants to us.(Photo: My dear parents Fred and Gerda Blumenthal at my Bar Mitzvah)

Putin’s Ukrainian Hogwash

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Putin’s Ukrainian Hogwash.”

“Talk less and do more.” Unfortunately, Putin apparently didn’t learn this lesson as a child and is now, as they say, having to learn it the hard way later in life. He and his henchmen signaled to the world how they would bring Ukraine to its knees, surround and capture the capital, Kyiv, overthrow the leadership and install a pro-Kremlin puppet, and demilitarize the country. However, Putin spoke very big, but after a whole month of fighting now, things haven’t turned out the way Putin had counted on. With Russian casualties, wounded, captured, and missing now estimated at up to 40,000, and with the Russian forces on the retreat, no one in their right minds could’ve imagined such a modern David and Goliath scenario playing out with Ukraine as the David. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)