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  • Cataloguing the Common Characteristics in Allegations of Luciferian Cult-Based Child Abuse


    This document was prepared in the spirit of the Victims’ Rights’ Movement, to facilitate a law enforcement system that is focused primarily on ensuring redress for those who have been harmed by crime. The method of doing so is to assist law enforcement in recognizing, classifying, investigating and prosecuting a class of criminals which is all the more dangerous for its organized nature and ability to evade justice.


    As did President Obama before him, President Trump has declared January 2018 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Five years ago, well before he was a candidate for office, President Trump declared his concern about human trafficking and the need for the death penalty for those proven to be trading in children.

    Moved by the President’s clarity and concern, I note that there is a significant lack of serious discussion and debate over the common themes reported by victims of abuse. These include figures commonly either ignored or labeled as “frauds,” “mentally unstable” or “conspiracy theorists.”

    Among the many who have written about their experiences, some of the most well-known today include: Cathy O’Brien, Dr. Sue Arrigo, Fiona Barnett, Becki Piercy, and Sarah Ruth Aschcraft and Christopher Cronsell. (In addition, there is an extended interview with “Kendall,” who appeared on the Dr. Phil show early in 2017, that received widespread attention.)

    I have also been following reports by and about journalists who have been harassed or silenced after reporting on similar matters, for example: Liz Crokin, Ben Swann, David Seaman, Andrew Breitbart, and Max Spiers. (There are also numerous activists and investigators who have reported harassment for their efforts to learn more.)

    I find it hard to believe that all of the victims’ statements, and in particular the consistencies between them, could be manufactured out of whole cloth; I find it hard to believe that anyone would go to the trouble of bothering a journalist unless they wanted to keep them quiet.

    Statement of Personal Bias

    Any investigation of data should contain some sort of statement as to the researcher’s personal motivations or biases, and potential conflicts of interest. Clearly, while I am attempting to be objective here, there is no doubt that this is a form of sociological action research. Following is a list of what I see as my personal limitations in presenting data on this subject:

    • Spiritual: I am a deep believer in God, and I believe that God has infused me with the desire and the passion to pursue this subject continuously until children are safe from all forms of abuse and arbitrary harm. I also am a grandchild of Holocaust survivors and honor my own grandfather’s work to achieve redress for Jews massacred, where the perpetrators tried to cover up their crimes. 
    • Emotional: a strong passion for protecting children and other victims of sexual violence, and an equally strong belief that they are not well-served by the social institutions which could protect them and exact justice from the perpetrators of such crimes. I personally know victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence, and child abuse, and I see the trauma they suffer for a lifetime. 
    • Qualifications: I am neither a criminal investigator nor a psychologist; I am not even a full-time researcher on this subject, and as such, I do not have the qualifications that others clearly possess to make judgments on the data. 
    • Resources: I have very limited time within which to conduct this research, and limited funding, and so the type of evidence I am predisposed to share tends toward material that can easily be collected within a self-reinforcing circle of “believers” and professed victims themselves. 

    To compensate for these limitations, it is my hope that this material impartially reviewed by as many disinterested parties as possible.


    It should also be said that any and all opinions expressed here are, as always, my own and I do not represent any individual, organization, or entity in putting them forward. This is important in particular because I am a civil service employee and a professional lecturer, and my own research and thinking stands apart from the institutions that I serve.

    The Law Enforcement Dilemma

    The allegation that there is a worldwide network of organized criminals who specialize in cult-based child abuse sounds extreme. But if indeed they do exist, such criminals would necessarily be highly motivated to cover their tracks, and prevent law enforcement from capturing them. Their tactics would necessarily take the form of:

    • silencing or eliminating victims and witnesses; 
    • blackmailing, bribing or eliminating concerned third parties, such as politicians and journalists; 
    • infiltrating the top ranks of potentially interventionary social institutions, such as institutions of higher education and religion; 
    • achieving controlling stakes in the basic levers of government, business and the economy as a whole; and 
    • disrupting the operations of police, judges, the courts, the media, Congress, and even the President of the United States. 

    It is not difficult to imagine that the dilemma of law enforcement in prosecuting such criminals, given the immense disparity in resources between them and the children they allegedly victimize, combined with the alleged sophistication of their tactics.

    Nevertheless, the fact that law enforcement is confronted with a dilemma in prosecuting organized criminals does not mean that they should shy away from taking action. This paper was developed to assist them.

    Limitations of the Data

    Others have pointed out that it’s too easy to “prove” a phenomenon by saying that others have effectively covered it up. In that spirit, and since we are talking about crime and the prosecution of its perpetrators, it is important to acknowledge why many others doubt the existence of organized Luciferian cults dedicated to ritual abuse. (The distinction between Luciferian and satanic is deliberate; the word is used to impute a theological framework dedicated to personal enlightenment outside the context of a deity.)

    Indeed, for several decades, allegations related to occult ritual abuse have been investigated, and ultimately widely discredited in mainstream discourse. This is not necessarily because there is a “conspiracy” to disbelieve survivors, but rather because the nature of the claims is so strong that a correspondingly high level of evidence is needed in order to substantiate them.

    In the absence of such evidence, the law enforcement community is left with significant concerns:

    • Preserving the right to due process of the accused;
    • Helping people suffering from psychological conditions, such as dissociative identity disorder, to obtain treatment; 
    • Disciplining members of the mental health community who may have coached (exploited) individuals into traumatic false memories; 
    • Calming a public fearful of potential dangers that may not exist. 

    Meta-Concerns In Evidentiary Discourse

    One would hope that public discourse would winnow out false information and enable investigators to get closer to the truth. However, if indeed such a crime syndicate exists, it would necessarily employ a range of “disinformation” tactics in order to distract investigators from the pursuit of justice. While it is not necessary to get into every specific propaganda tool one could use in such a case, examples might include counter-accusations related to the subject matter (e.g., terming it a “conspiracy theory), the incorporation of political agendas, insults and name-calling, and so on.

    Common Themes In Victims’ Allegations

    With all of the above said, and with gratitude for Sarah Ruth Ashcraft’s generous contributions here (much of the language comes directly from her on Twitter), what follows is a listing of allegations, themes, characteristics and statements that have emerged from the data. Please note that most of the language is Sarah’s; my own, shorter original list appears here.

    Regardless of who formulated the specific words, this is really a very rough draft developed by an amateur who cares. I hope that law enforcement (and other interested parties) will take this listing and work with it. This is not necessarily to prove that they are accurate, but rather to examine them critically from the perspective that a large-scale criminal syndicate may in fact exist and a very few victims have escaped intact enough to provide the details.

    The immediate goal is to intercept currently operational networks, if they exist, and also to educate the public about those aspects of the criminal networks which are a valid cause for concern.


    • Chronic, coordinated and severe abuse physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually throughout childhood 
    • Leveraging of ego & attachments, motherlessness, delierate abuse through attachments to teach individuals to trust no one, leveraging shame/guilt, isolation 
    • Separation of consciousness from the body (dissociation) 


    • Adrenochrome 
    • Animal sacrifice 
    • Drinking blood 
    • Cannibalism 
    • Mutilation 

    Child Sexual Abuse

    • Child prostitution 
    • Child pornography 
    • Child sex trafficking 
    • Child sex slavery 
    • Pedophilia 
    • Universal blackmail to control members; everyone has to “make their bones” by raping a child or killing an infant on film 


    • Illegal human experimentation 
    • Eugenics, genetic engineering 
    • Epigenetics 
    • Cloning 
    • Stem cell research 


    • Women as breeders 
    • Fathers as pimps 
    • Intergenerational 
    • Indoctrination in childhood 
    • Family patterns of behavior 
    • Naming conventions 
    • Forced abortion/miscarriage for any woman who is not voluntarily participating or 100% mind controlled (only those guaranteed to raise their children within cult doctrine are allowed to procreate) 
    • Strict regulation of who is allowed to marry 
    • “Keep it in the Family” including bloodlines, money, and power 

    Institutional Enabling

    • Collusion by corrupt law enforcement 
    • Collusion by corrupt media 
    • International networks 


    • Cages 
    • Hunting games 
    • Infanticide, deriving strength from human blood 
    • Forced killing 

    Mind Control

    • Neuro Linguistic programming 
    • Mind control programs/names 
    • Love-bombing 
    • Charm 
    • Force of WILL over all else. 
    • Trauma based mind control programming – assassin programs and other militaristic programs like spy, double agent, freedom fighter, etc. 
    • Weaponized mind-controlled multiples programmed for ritual murder, kidnapping, and other tasks 


    • Brainwashing 
    • Mind control such that multiple personalities are deliberately accessed 
    • Superior mental abilities as a result of mind control training 
    • Seclusion 
    • Loyalty games 
    • Secrecy 
    • Threats/punishment against anyone who tells 


    • Overturning anything natural 
    • Murder instead of natural death 
    • Trans gender 
    • “Becoming” instead of being 
    • Truth turned into its opposite, calling the victim the perpetrator, perpetrator claiming victim status, etc. 


    • Cult patterns with respect to naming convention and birth order to signal an individual’s status/role within the cult 
    • Initiation rituals at certain ages for children 
    • Initiation rituals for active/aware members 
    • Occult ritual, satanic/Luciferian/goddess worship ritual, human sacrifice 

    Social Life

    • Pretense of normal outer life 
    • Pretense of elite social status 
    • Elite social networks 
    • Fostering a belief in superiority 
    • Group rituals, robes 

    Social Control

    • Pyramid hierarchy, for group as a whole and for all individual sects within larger group. Everyone has an “owner” or “handler” higher up who controls them 
    • Entire system designed for and around top-down power & control 
    • Social engineering, handlers, orchestration of all relationships and jobs to keep someone under watch and controlled by a handler 
    • Gang stalking, surveillance, coordination among the bad actors 
    • Gaslighting, denial, dismiss and discredit victims, hospitalize victim in bogus psych ward and misdiagnose dissociation as schizophrenia or bipolar to discredit victim 

    Symbols, Signs and Code Words

    • Trigger words 
    • Hand/clothing signs 
    • Ritual practices 
    • Symbols and codes 
    • Ancient Egyptian cult symbols, Phoenician alphabet 
    • Writing backwards and forwards 
    • Seals of Solomon 
    • Hand signals 
    • Clothing/accessory codes 
    • Secret passwords 


    • Theosophy – the justification for evil in the world as “God’s will” 
    • Claim to divinity / non-human origin and DNA 
    • Copying real religion as though to mock/reverse 
    • Dualism, false dichotomies (good/evil, black/white, positive/negative, male/female, etc). Intentional employment of logical fallacies to confuse and obfuscate 
    • Psychopathic manipulation and deception tactics. 
    • Power and control tactics 

    With God’s help, may true justice be done.

    Posted December 31, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. With gratitude to Sarah Ruth Ashcraft and the many others who have gone public to describe the horrifying crimes perpetrated against them, in detail. That said, descriptions of alleged cult tactics are derived from statements made online by people not personally known to the author, and their comments have not been verified in a court of law, to the author’s knowledge. All individuals are innocent until proven guilty. This post is hereby released into the public domain. CC0 Creative Commons photo via Pixabay. Please repost and share.

  • Oh, The Old Emergency Room

    It doesn’t matter why, and everyone’s okay, but we had to go to the emergency room last night.

    It was not pretty.

    There was a man bent over himself, his face not visible at all. He was crouched over and sleeping. His shoes were nothing but rags.

    A few feet away, through the looking glass that is the barrier between the first entryway and the second, a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties sat glassy-eyed on a chair. A man who looked like he could be her father sat next to her. She was wearing her clothes, but covered as well in a white cover-like sheet.

    He was patting her upper shoulder, over and over and over, it was meant to be soothing.

    But in that way that a woman can tell when another woman has been raped, I knew exactly what I was looking at.

    And I turned to my husband and he nodded.

    Back in the late 1980s I tried to be a rape crisis volunteer.

    They sent me to the hospital to handle my first case, and I saw the victim in the hospital bed, and I turned green and ran very quickly out the door.

    I am still ashamed of how babyish I was back then, how weak and unsupportive and selfish.

    But the truth of the matter is, I couldn’t do it.

    Last night I got a taste of what true suffering is. And again, in my cold and rational way, I perceived it, while another part of me felt desperate to simply cut and run.

    A man was moaning at the nurses. It got louder and louder and finally turned into a scream, and at that part, everyone sat up.


    I am a bad person, I think, because at a certain point I stopped caring. All I wanted was to get the hell into bed and go back to sleep.

    On the television they were showing CNN’s series, “The 80s.” An extended series of interviews about former President Ronald Reagan flickered across the screen.

    “Ohhhhh,” I said with pleasure, and elbowed my husband to look. (He is less distractible.) “What a great president Reagan was.”

    And even as I said it, I said to myself, I wonder how much of that era was true.

    Leslie Stahl was there, up on the screen, and all the great journalists of the time, and she was telling how she broke a story about the budget, and David Stockman, and the numbers didn’t make sense.

    “Ohhhhh,” I said, “How I loved the eighties.”

    When everything still made sense.

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” said President Reagan. “Grenada, we are making it safe for democracy.”

    Who knows what propaganda we’ve been fed all these years. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I don’t know if CNN, or the Reagan speeches, or the other screen playing TMZ has any reality at all.

    The nurses treated us pretty well, thank God. All the people in fact, were kind to us. Businesslike and yet compassionate. (There is something about that combination that moves me. I need to work harder to balance the two, rationality and humanity.)

    One guy even offered to share his staff coffeepot, and bring us a cup of Starbucks to help us stay awake.

    I wound up sleeping with my head leaned against the side of a chair at about 1:30 a.m.

    And fortunately at some point, they decided all was well and sent us home.

    We left and the man who had escaped the cold to sleep was still crouched over in the chair.

    Other than that, the entryway to the hospital was empty, for just a few minutes of the wee morning hours.

    I left there and I fairly danced with relief. “Oh God, thank you God,” I repeated over and over again. Realizing that we have no, absolutely no idea how close we are to disaster every freaking minute of the day.

    Like children, we have no idea how much our Father’s mercy rains upon us daily.

    It is something to think about, when we feel like everything is bad.


    Posted December 30, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Photo credit: paulbr/Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons).

  • Leaving Eretz Yisrael

    It’s painful to say it but I am glad to be home.

    The human mind is weird that way.

    When I was in Israel I definitely saw myself retiring there. Maybe I still will, who knows. Because it’s holy there.

    But in the airport, and on the plane, sexist encounters with Israeli men had me thinking twice.

    In the airport I stopped to get a cappuccino (that’s what they call a regular coffee — there’s no half and half, you have to get foamed milk to get close).

    A guy lined up behind me, too close.

    I turned around and waved my hand between my body and his. “Social space?” I asked, really saying, “Step your body back the hell away from me!”

    He responded, in a British accent, “Oh, social distance. It’s different in Israel than in the USA.”

    “Yeah, I’m sure,” I said, pretending not to be really, really miffed. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when anyone, male or female, crowds me in a line.

    A few minutes later I went back for another one. And again, the same thing happened, just in a slightly different way.

    A man lined up to the left of me, not even waiting in line, and REACHED OVER MY FACE to get some cookies from the counter.

    “Excuse me!” I exclaimed, shocked at this rude behavior. I averted my face and walked away quickly.

    I’m getting shorter with age and I had the distinct feeling that these men did not even see me with a man not there.

    Now don’t get me wrong; there is a kind of gallantry as well that comes with traditional gender roles.

    But pretty much every time I was alone, I could feel the sexism present.

    Here’s a third example: On the plane, an Israeli man sat one row behind us, and my daughter opposite me.

    At least three or four times during the flight, he opened the overhead bin, standing again much too close to her, not even seeming to see her, and was rustling his things.

    When the plane landed, one of his bags fell out, and hit my daughter on the head.

    Again I confronted the offender, and again I was rebuffed as though my presence was insignificant.

    “Hey, man!” I said, sharply. “Your bag just hit my daughter’s head!”

    He looked at me as though I were the problem, me and my big mouth.

    I said, “At least take my bag down from the overhead then.”

    To which he said, “If you would ask me nicely.”

    This stranger actually said that.

    I had to show him respect, even though he clearly had none for me or my daughter.

    Before I left for Israel, people expressed a lot of fear for me. “Get there safely,” they said. “Hope you have a very safe trip.”

    But I felt safe there. I truly did.

    The mindset of Israelis is security-conscious, and they check your bag at all times, in all places.

    It’s not insane, but it’s present, and they watch you.

    At my daughter’s wedding, there were female guests who looked Arab, and it turns out that there is a sect of Sephardic Jews which dresses this way.

    I just thought they were Arab, and I went out of my way to dance with one of them, because that’s how bad I want to have peace.

    “You should write a blog about this,” said my dad.

    The point, I guess, is that the things we think are problems sometimes really aren’t.

    For example, from the propaganda you get in the West, you would think Arabs are running around Israel rioting against Jews. In Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem, I saw Arabs and Jews simply doing their thing.

    I saw a woman whose entire body was covered in black, including her eyes. Nobody got in her way and frankly I couldn’t tell if she was extremist Arab or Jew.

    But the things we think are not problems actually sometimes are. And that’s how I felt about sexism in Israel.

    It’s not something overt, but it is palpably present.

    The problem I think has to do with how women are conceived of.

    Over there, a man is just a person. He might be fat, or short, or smart, or dumb, but all the pieces and the parts are viewed as part of a complex human being.

    A woman, in contrast, is an assemblage of dualities: religious or secular, married or single, physically tough or weak, beautiful and young or old and washed out and ordinary.

    I loved a lot of things about Israel. But I didn’t love the sexism.


    Posted December 28, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo by the author. This post is hereby released into the public domain.

  • When We Avert Our Eyes From The Data

    Yesterday I had an exchange with someone about the strategic use of social media.

    Do they measure engagement? Yes, of course.

    Do they focus on content that serves a higher-level communication goal? Yes, again, for sure.

    Do they attempt to find out, among their target audience, whether their higher-level communication goals have been achieved? And as part of that, whether social media had any impact whatsoever?

    The person did not answer.

    I felt bad afterward; maybe my questions were untoward. After all, someone was taking the time to indulge my curiosity in the first place.

    But if we cannot have the data, with all its limitations and awkwardness, we cannot trust the results of any investigation.

    Having a good understanding of data is fundamental to success. This is true whether you’re running a business, investing in a stock, working as a staffer, or even doing something as mundane as going on a diet.

    Feelings are not facts, you must remind yourself. Facts stand on their own.

    And many facts are inconvenient.

    The other day I told my daughter about her great-grandfather, and his role in uncovering some facts that others wanted buried.

    It was a week before Rosh HaShanah 1944. A bunch of Hungarian paramilitary Nazi-sympathizing murderers entered Sarmas, Hungary.

    They spent a week gang-raping, among others, a beautiful, educated, and relatively well-to-do young woman, Vera Haas.

    In the town square – in front of all the people who knew her.

    They also tortured the elderly people in town, with all sorts of “dancing” and “gymnastics.”

    When they were finished having their “fun,” they marched the people out, to a remote area.

    Vera’s father could have escaped to the forest, but his soul was bound up in the brutal torment that had been visited upon his daughter.

    He stayed, and stripped as they ordered, and was tortured to death with the rest.

    What matters about this story is not only that it happened. But that the murderers warned the villagers who lived around the area to keep their mouths shut.

    My Zayde came back to town shortly thereafter. When he heard, he decided he would do the following three things, no matter how long it took: bury the victims properly, put the murderers in jail, and make sure the Sarmas massacre was memorialized forever.

    With God’s help, all three were accomplished.

    I tell you this story because I believe that history repeats itself, unless we decide to act in ways that reflect our evolution as beings.

    One of the things that is happening, right now, as we speak, is the flooding of the world with data. This, in turn, is fueling dramatic advances in every field of knowledge.

    Unfortunately, though, the moral and ethical dimensions of data are often absent from the conversation.

    And sometimes, data itself goes ignored, because some people don’t like where its conclusions might lead.

    Right now, on social media, there are two people claiming to be victims of sex trafficking, mind control, and ritual abuse as part of a larger network. Their names are Sarah Ruth Ashcraft (nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter) and Christopher Cronsell (about 3,000 followers).

    Perhaps their allegations are nothing more than a bizarre scam. The FBI did a study of occult ritual abuse in 1992 and concluded that essentially there was no there, there.

    But as a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, knowing how active the denial community is, knowing much work the Jewish community put into preserving the data, I cannot turn away from their very compelling words, and the implications of them.

    I hope that the law enforcement community will review what these two individuals are saying, and take all appropriate action.
    Originally posted December 29, 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. This post is hereby released into the public domain. All opinions are the author’s own. Photo credit: Dariusz Sankowski/Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

  • A Conversation Between Roseanne and Sarah Ruth Ashcraft

    Like many people I’ve been reading Tweets by Sarah Ruth Ashcraft (@SaRaAshcraft) lately. Sarah makes some extremely strong claims, among them that she is a survivor of ritual abuse, saw Hillary Clinton at an occult ritual at the age of eight and was molested by Tom Hanks.

    The point of this post is not to recap all of Sarah’s latest comments, of which there are many, but to point out the fact that she is now conversing with Roseanne Barr online. Roseanne, it should be noted, is the only Hollywood star I know of to openly come out and say that the industry is infested with not only pedophiles, but pedophiles who engage in mind control and ritual abuse. For example:

    You might say that we don’t know who Sarah is, but we do know Roseanne. 
    And I, personally, find Roseanne highly credible.

    Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal’s own. This post is hereby released into the public domain.

  • December 25, Jerusalem

    At the Western Wall, on the way out, everybody wanted a picture with the graduating soldiers.

    We’d visited, and prayed, and cried a lot. With God’s help, these young people protected us, and all the other visitors, too.

    The approach to the Wall is dramatic and powerful.

    But when you leave in the dark, things start to get a little bit scary.

    Israel is a free country; freedom is not the issue.

    In the Arab shuk (market), the shopkeepers sold both non-Jewish and Jewish religious collectibles. It was scary and unfamiliar but they treated us fine, even though we dress Jewishly.

    I got the distinct feeling that the conflict here is principle-based, not personal.

    Here is the thing: I fear the Jews have bigger fish to fry.

    Believe it or not, I worry that we are a greater danger to ourselves than our avowed enemies are.

    The #1 problem is materialism, scraping away at our souls.

    Here is a shop that stands in a newish lavish shopping mall, playing Western pop hits, that stands just outside the Wailing Wall area.

    Problem #2 is slavishly copying American brands and culture. Israelis in Jerusalem have their very own kosher McDonald’s.

    In Tel Aviv as in the holiest city in the world, there is an overwhelming plethora of imported Americana.

    What is the future character of the Jewish state?

    Problem #3 is sexual immorality, of which there were odd hints.

    I saw drawings of male genitalia scrawled on the parking garage wall, and in the Old City, near the Wall. There was sophisticated gay art in the shopping mall as well.

    In a surplus Army clothing store, there were playing cards depicting nude women.

    In America I would say that none of this is out of the norm, and it’s life and it’s commerce and who cares?

    In Jerusalem the sight of these things left me feeling perturbed.

    Problem #4 is fading consciousness of the Holocaust, despite educational efforts integrated with the fabric of ordinary life.

    The mall just outside the Western Wall, for example: Its walls are made of brick. There are letters and numbers like this written on the outside.

    The detail brings to my mind (and others in the family) the numbers branded onto Jewish prisoners’ wrists at the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

    In reality, the numbers have nothing to do with that; rather they are an architectural flourish with a completely different meaning.

    Nevertheless, it is the image that matters to me. As Hitler’s terrifyingly unopposed and nearly totally effective attempt to wipe out my people has a lot to do with my foundational belief that Israel, as a state, must exist.

    But then again, not for all — not necessarily. I don’t know to what extent the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community here is moved to nationalism by the Holocaust.

    I don’t know how much the younger generation thinks about it.

    Here is something I seriously like about Israel: plentiful kosher food. Meat.

    Here is something else: You can openly be a Jew. You can have fun with being a Jew. You can embrace the symbols of your Jewiness, like yarmulkes.

    All without hate and shame.

    And there are so many kinds of yarmulkes a man can choose from.

    Symbolizing that you can be a lot of different kinds of Jew, and it’s fine.

    We all, or almost all, have a special reverence for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory.

    But I am a visitor, so here is problem #5: Are the Jews who live here, the holiest place on earth, maybe a little bit jaded?

    I don’t know. I can’t answer that question, but I think that it would happen to me.

    I think that ordinary people, working hard and struggling to make ends meet, struggle always with faith in God.

    Israel is a place of unbelievable meaning. People flock here. They do. It’s like drinking water for the soul.

    But for Jews to keep Israel, we need to keep our values and morals alive.

    Holiness, the sacred — not just vague pangs of conscience — living in some sort of agreed-upon national Jewish way — needs to seriously matter.

    A good example is the Sabbath. For the Sabbath, Israel visibly shuts itself down.

    But aside from the ritual, how do people feel inside their hearts?

    Again, I really don’t know. But it is the not knowing that worries me.

    One lady in Tel Aviv tried to give me directions to Jerusalem, but admitted she only drove when she made the trip.

    So she asked the other guy in the store. And he sort of made a gesture, as if to say, “Nah I don’t go there — and why would I?”

    That, right there, is the existential threat to the State.

    That is what we need to fight for.

    That, and not only to vanquish omnipresent Arab military threats and the accompanying propaganda.

    All opinions my own. Photos by me. Updated 12/26 to note that the numbers on the walls of Mamilla, the shopping mall, are not related to the Holocaust. Thanks to my friend Melissa Danto Rayman for pointing that out.

  • On Zionism

    The central tenets of Zionism are these:

    • Jews have a right to statehood in the historical land of the Jews.
    • Jews have a special need for self defense because we are targets.
    • Especially since we are targets, Jews have an affirmative duty to preserve the human rights of others.

    The Israeli flag is a symbol of Zionism.

    It is a symbol of sacrifice.

    How many have died for all three beliefs.

    Israel has a “mini-Israel” museum and it honors Jewish religion.

    Muslims and Christians too.

    The central question of Zionism is how far is too far?

    What do we do about corruption, extremism, abuse?

    These are questions that have to be answered not with words but action.

    With a true commitment to the three ideals of the dream.

    All opinions my own. Photos by me.

  • I Want To Remember Tel Aviv

    I am here, and I am happy.

    With God’s help, forty-six years of tumult over what kind of Jew to be is over. “Chayim Sheli,” it says on the balloon.

    My life, my choices.

    I love that in Tel Aviv, a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (z”l) is plastered everywhere I go.

    I love that there are thick, sumptuous chocolate rugelach here.

    In Tel Aviv, they still have payphones.

    They make jokes.

    They sell pink pajamas for grownups to wear on the street.

    They have pride in the Mossad, the Jewish version of the CIA.

    Edgy street culture.

    Love for America.

    Love for its culture.

    A special love for McDonald’s.

    There is so much to love as a thinking, feeling, creative Jew in in Tel Aviv that it makes my soul scream with pleasure.

    I feel that God is close.

    There are 613 commandments in the Torah, and all of us can keep some of them, even if none of us can keep all.

    He reminds me of this constantly.

    I am okay just like the other Jews here are okay. Even if our way of exhibiting Jewish identity does not conform to any known category.

    Religion is a little like getting a schwarma on the beach. It’s traditional to offer a salad bar.

    Meat and bread: the same basic ingredients. And then everybody chooses whatever toppings they like.

    Religion is social but it’s also very personal. Nobody has the right to tell us exactly how to be.

    But we still haven’t solved it. And no matter how beautiful it is here, sitting by the beach, reflection makes all of us pensive.

    The key is to never, ever lose your joy.

    And don’t let anybody steal it from you, either.

    Israel, and Tel Aviv in particular, celebrates all kinds of Jewish heroes.

    Not just rabbis.

    Paratroopers, doctors, academics, archaeologists and artists of all kinds.

    It gives me so much pleasure to be here.

    And I am grateful for the chance to share this joy with you.

    Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Cover photo by Andy Blumenthal. Other photos by the author.

  • Some Unfiltered Observations From A Trip To Israel

    We’re here to celebrate the wedding of our daughter, to an Israeli young man of Moroccan descent.

    But along the way we observe things.

    And, each in our own way, we feel a duty to capture them.

    Why we do this is unclear. Nobody reads anything anymore.

    Trying to make a difference through blogging is very much like trying to roll a boulder uphill.

    Maybe it’s out of duty. We know that we are hated, and the hatred feels so unfair. So we try to “prove,” over and over, that the Jews are just like you and me, just ordinary people.

    For example, even in Israel, we drink Coca-Cola just like you.

    No matter what I write, say or do, though, people will still believe bad things about Jews, about Israel, and about Zionism.

    Even if the signs here are trilingual, representing not just diversity but the inclusion of many different pasts into the life lived here in the present.

    Maybe it’s for the sake of posterity.

    I want to remember that Israelis have a great sense of humor. They are honest and direct. And so an ad about babysitting shows the babysitter totally repulsed by a dirty diaper.

    I want to remember the coffee here, too. How they don’t even know what half-and-half is. But they foam up the milk for you, they lean out of street bakery windows to give you your coffee, and they make it fancy whether you’re at a gas station or the equivalent of a 7-Eleven.

    Here’s what the coffee looked like at Breadly, in Tel Aviv.

    I want to know what it means.

    This is a painting by Chagall, that shows a man with a Torah. But he’s sitting next to a creature that looks vaguely devilish. (The horns.) An angel is flying overhead. A violin sits next to him on the ground.

    And clearly the man looks very, very depressed.
    What is the significance of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, in Israel? And why doesn’t he get the same airplay in the United States?

    This sign says “Na Na Nachman” and it refers to a song, that is a Jewish mystical “formula” having to do with a belief in the era of Redemption. It is a very big deal over here.

    So are images of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, for much the same reason: waiting for Redemption, for the positive End of Days.

    But maybe it isn’t for posterity. Maybe it’s just for my brain, which turns over and over again the riddle of what it means to be a Jew after all.

    I am trying to figure out how high religion coexists with high-tech skyscrapers.

    I am tired of trying to figure it out.

    What does it mean that global brands are housed on old-fashioned brick buildings so newly built they’re spotless?

    No matter how many times I ask these types of questions, looking for a single coherent answer, I wind up feeling frustrated.

    Israel is the most sophisticated nation on earth. So much so that I thought to check the hotel room for bugs, but unfortunately my cheap iTunes app registered even my cellphone as a match.

    I didn’t like all the things I saw here. Some of the art at the museum frankly disturbed me. Some of the things I heard bothered me too, and the manner of some of the people…maybe in my mind I expected such a holy place to contain only the holiest of people.

    In my mind I have an image, but the image is not the reality on the ground.

    The only truth is that we invent ourselves, and reinvent ourselves, every minute we’re alive.

    Just like branding: best represented not a constant in time, but as a story best understood in motion.

    A mosaic best seen both up close and from a distance.

    A dance, and we’re dancing it. Evolving.
    Copyright 2017 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal’s own. Photos by Dr. Blumenthal; museum photos taken at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.This post is hereby released into the public domain.

  • Engage Civil Servants, Don’t Attack Them

    I read with dismay this morning about a no-bid contract let by the government to conduct opposition research on civil servants themselves.

    Aside from the legal question, and despite the unprecedented “resistance” movement launched from within the civil service in the aftermath of the election, the appearance is disastrous and it is a disastrous employee engagement move. 

    For most Feds see themselves as “the good guys.” This is true whether you look at survey results, anecdotal reports, or just talk to Feds themselves. So instead of reflexively attacking civil servants who express principled dissent, it makes more sense to reach out and engage them.

    The problem is corruption and it happens everywhere, because criminal deviance is a fact of social life. Scapegoating civil servants just perpetuates the problem.

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