Thursday, December 31, 2009

Something New

Dedicated to Eric Most, who needs to be healed, quickly and completely, along with all those who need healing.

This week: a challenge, an announcement, and an inspiration.

The Challenge

At this time of year, most non-profits are holding out the hat. Get in that last-minute tax deduction! (who needs more tax deductions THIS year??)

If you are a long-term subscriber, you know that I have a different year-end message for you. I seek your wisdom, rather than you nickel.

Kindly take a few minutes to answer 10 questions - click here.

(all anonymous, so be brutally honest!)

If you are so inclined, this website rates non-profits. You can help us by clicking here and tell them what you think of JSL.

(If you need a reminder of the scope of JSL’s work, click here)

Thank you!

The Announcement

After some six months of labor, I am pleased to announce the launch of the fourth edition of the Art of Amazement. It has been completely revised and expanded, and now includes a study schedule and extremely useful index, not to mention a snazzy new cover. If you have one of the old editions, you’re probably going to enjoy the new. If you know someone who might enjoy it and have been wondering where to get a new copy, search no more. And if you’ve never read it....I, I just don’t know what to say!

Here’s your Amazon link:

The Inspiration

I know that you may not always take the time to watch at the amazing videos I post here, I know they can’t be printed out for sharing at the dinner table, but please make this one of the ones you look at. You will not be disappointed:

It’s so special it isn’t even on youtube.

You can tell the folks at your table about it and ask them this question: Why do you think people were so inspired by Alon Nir?

Shabbat Shalom and l'chaim in 2010

Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old. - Churchill

Friday, December 25, 2009


Thank you for all the good wishes on the birth of our daughter Tehila Yehudis.

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated life and everyone except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her.

She told her boyfriend, “If I could only see the world, I will marry you.”

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, “Now that you could see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them for the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: “Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.”

This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

What’s the antidote to this kind of blindness?

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Try this: before you complain about the taste of your food – think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife – think of someone who’s crying out for a companion.

Today, before you complain about your life – think of someone who left this world too early.

Before you complain about your children – think of someone who desires children but is barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house someone did not clean or sweep – think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive – think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job – think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.

When depressing thoughts get you down – try smiling and being thankful you’re still alive and still around.

Shabbat Shalom

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. - Churchill

Friday, December 18, 2009

Darkest Before the Dawn

In honor of my beloved wife, who delivered a healthy girl to the world
Wednesday night (sorry, big-brother Avrami!). Holding her for the first
time, I was thinking, "How could anyone hold a newborn baby and not consider
this a complete miracle?"

Here's a trivia question you can ask at your table:

What is, quite literally, the darkest time of the year?

Most people who know a little bit about astronomy would say Dec 21/22,
because that's when we have our longest night and shortest day in the
northern hemisphere.

Those people would be wrong most of the time.

Why? Because sometimes Dec 21 is accompanied by a full moon. The full moon
is quite bright.

Rather, the darkest time of the year is around the new moon CLOSEST to the

Think about it.

And that's exactly when Hannuka falls on the luni-solar Jewish calendar.

That's Hannuka: At the darkest time of the year - light a candle.

When times are dark, be a candle.

Light a candle, be a candle.

Think about it.

We haven't named our daughter yet, but we are thrilled that she joins us
during Hannuka. We hope we'll be able to give her what she needs (including
an appropriate name) to grow up worthy of the auspicious timing.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hannuka!

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The goal of Table Talk is to be a conversation-starter for the dinner table. Please print and share.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sorry, Charlie

In honor of the birthday of Daniel R., a friend indeed.

What is the hardest phrase to say in the English language?

"I'm wrong."

What's the second hardest phrase to say in the English language?

"I'm sorry."

Question 1 - Why is it so hard to say these two phrases?
Question 2 - How important is it to say these two phrases?
Question 3 - How can a person become better at saying these two phrases?

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Hannuka!

“I am right, you are not. But for your freedom to be wrong I will fight to death.” - Churchill

Friday, December 04, 2009

How to Win and Influence

What do the following items have in common:

Red paper clip
Pen shaped like a fish
Doorknob shaped like a face
Keg of beer
Holiday in Yahk, BC
Small truck
1-day recording deal
1-year home rental
Day with Alice Cooper
Kiss Snow-Globe
Speaking part in a movie
House in Kipling, Saskatchewan

You may have seen this story back in 2006, or maybe you missed it.

You can watch the 8 minute report from ABC, and then get a lot of mileage from it at the dinner table:

Try telling the story over at your dinner table. You can print this page to remember the colorful details.

The question is... What’s most impressive – his creativity, his resourcefulness or his altruism?

Shabbat Shalom

“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” - Churchill