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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Charlie Judeo

“God will never give you anything you can’t handle, so don’t stress.” Kelly Clarkson

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By Alex P. Vidal

HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey — On the eve of the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo massacre first anniversary, Charlie Judeo crossed my mind.
Charlie Judeo is the gatekeeper, inspector, and elevator operator of a synagogue in Upper Manhattan, New York City I recently “housecleaned” for five hours.
The place was a Jewish congregation, a worship community equivalent to a chapel for the Christian faithful.
While waiting for the assembly to conclude at 10 o’clock in the morning, I sat outside the synagogue and the old man Charlie Judeo engaged me in a brief but thought-provoking conversation when he saw the cross pendant on my necklace:
CJ: “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”
APV: “Yes sir, I am.”
CJ: “You believe in Jesus (Christ) as a Messiah?
APV (Digging from my Christian Living memory lane, I hesitantly replied): “We, Christians, believe Jesus Christ was a Prophet yes, a Messiah.”

SUPERNATURAL

CJ: “Man, Jesus could not be a Prophet or Messiah because he possessed supernatural qualities and was a product of a virgin birth.”
APV: “Please elaborate.”
CJ: “Jesus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David. A Messiah is born of human parents and must possess physical attributes.”
Charlie Judeo is a dyed-in-the-wool Hebrew believer, thus I relinquished any attempt to engage him in a debate over faith, which I thought was unnecessary.
I came to operate a dust pan, a sweeper, a rag and a vacuum cleaner; wash the plates, glasses, cauldrons and other kitchen utensils and collect garbage, not to join the Holy Bible versus Torah slugfest.
The steely admonition and religious lecture had to be interrupted.
I needed to hit the ground running; the assembly was over and it’s past 10 o’clock.

CHECK

A good and pleasant person, Charlie Judeo entered the synagogue to check the progress of my work after two hours.
A garbage collector beat him to the draw by 15 minutes.
“Where is the garbage?” Charlie Judeo demanded.
“The collector had taken it away,” I retorted.
“OK,” Charlie Judeo snapped back, his moustache gyrating.
Three o’clock in the afternoon. Time to go.
Charlie Judeo was waiting outside the synagogue.
The old man escorted me to the building exit and bade goodbye, half-smiling.
“Thank you, Charlie Judeo. Hope to see you again soon,” I quipped, waving my right hand.

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Posted by on January 8, 2016 in RELIGION

 

Have we met them on earth?

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” Steve Jobs

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By Alex P. Vidal

HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey –– Have you ever read a book that begins at the end?
It might seem strange to start a story with an ending, but all things are also beginnings; we just don’t know it at the time, writes Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, in his 2003 follow-up book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
This long-awaited enchanting, beautifully crafted novel “explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.”
Albom starts with a narration of Eddie’s last hour of life which was spent at Ruby Pier, an amusement park by a great gray ocean.
The park had the usual attractions, a boardwalk, a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, bumper cars, a taffy stand, and an arcade where you could shoot streams of water into a clown’s mouth, Albom describes.

FREE FALL

It also had a big new ride called Freddy’s Free Fall, and this would be where Eddie would be killed, in an accident tha would make newspapers around the state.
Albom reminds readers that at the time of Eddie’s death, he was a squat, white-haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, thich forearms, and a faded army tattoo on his right shoulder.
“His legs were thin and veined now, and his left knee, wounded in the war, was ruined by arthritis. He used a cane to get around,” Albom narrates.
“His face was broad and craggy from the sun, with saltry whiskers and a lower jaw that protruded slightly, making him look prouder than he felt. He kept a cigarette behind his left ear and a ring of keys hooked to his belt. He wore rubber-sold shoes. He wore an old linen cap. His pale brown uniform suggested a workingman, and a workingman he was.”

MOMENTS

In Eddie’s final moments, he seemed to hear the whole world: distant screaming, waves, music, a rush of wind, a low, loud, ugly sound that he realized was his own voice blasting through his chest.
The little girl raised her arms. Eddie lunged. His bad leg buckled. He half flew, half stumbled toward her, landing on the metal platform, which ripped through his shirt and split open his skin, just beneath the patch that read Eddie and Maintenance. He feels two hands in his own, two small hands.
A stunning impact.
A blinding flash of light.
And then, nothing.
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart.
With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his–and then nothing.

AFTERLIFE

He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it.
“These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever,” Albom stresses.
One by one, Eddie’s five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life.
As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure?
The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself, promises the book.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2016 in EDUCATION, PSYCHOLOGY

 

Isaac Asimov’s Guide To The Bible

“That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not.” THOMAS PAINE

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — This is one of a kind book about the Holy Bible.
Written by a biochemist from the University of Boston, the book supports critical thinking, and the author did not take his analysis as gospel anymore than the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.
Because he was a Jew, Isaac Asimov’s (born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov) commentaries and observations of the bible are from a Jewish point of view, modified by his science fiction background and thinking.
KING JAMES
Asimov brings us through the books of the Bible in King James Version order, explaining the historical and geographical setting of each one and the political and historical influences that affected it.
He went further as providing biographical information about the main characters. In essence Asimov seems to consider the bible as one of the most important history books ever written, and treats it as such.
What is so extraordinary about the book is it is just purely information and no commentary. If we want to know what’s really going on as well as what’s happened before this book to the Old and New Testament includes biblical verse, footnotes, references and subject indexes.
We should not miss this book.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2016 in HISTORY, RELIGION