Love Your Neighbor Like Yourself

Before I share my thoughts about today’s message, I want to thank all of those who have been asking if I am okay since I have missed several weeks of Blogs.

Yes, dear friends I am fine. I took some time off to go though the usual series of health exams which my doctors advised I must do since I am now the ripe old age of 89.

So, what did I learn? The final diagnosis is that I am quite okay although I do have a disease called AGE, which they tell me is not curable, but manageable. I can’t tell you how good that has made me feel.

During my pause in writing, I gave a lot of thought as to what has been going around in our society and that process came to a conclusion yesterday when I participated in a an incredible interfaith luncheon.

Held under the auspices of the Peace Committee of Rotary International, of which I have been a member since 1954; holding many offices and receiving High Honors. The luncheon was held at the West Valley Chamber of Commerce facilities in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, and was sponsored by my Rotary Club of Woodland Hills.

The meeting was lead by the remarkable Paul Gross, President of the Woodland Hills Club and featured Rabbi Paul J. Kipnes, Ross Porter, Director of Faith Formation and Evangelization at St. Mel’s Church and Shaykh Mulla, Resident Scholar, Islamic Society, Canoga Park, Ca.

The close to 100 attendees enjoyed lunch, listened to the three speakers give their view of what we need to do to heal our society, then broke into discussions groups which were tasked with proposing questions to the speakers.

What came out of this discussion, was almost uniform agreement among the attendees and leaders that all religions, regardless of differences in ritualistic practice and theory, believe in loving and respecting our neighbors; that we each individually need to reach out to the ‘the stranger in our land’ and learn who they are and share our values with each other. By doing that, and teaching our loved ones to do that, we can, regardless of the politics involved, take a big step in healing the world.

That message was never more true as it applied to my own life:

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. My parents founded the largest Orthodox Synagogue in the Midwest and I lived in a predominantly Jewish/ Catholic neighborhood.
In fact, I lived just yards away from a 95% Jewish High School and my neighbors were Rosa Parks and Joe Lewis, the latter with whom I ran track on weekends.

!n 1944 I made what turned out to be the most important decision in my life, one for which I have been rewarded every day—although I did not realize that at the time.

I wanted to be an architect and so, instead of going to the neighborhood high school, I chose to go the still famous Cass Technical School, eight miles for my home, in downtown Detroit. We had thousands of students from every faith, creed, culture, race, and origin of birth. I spent three years (two as Student Council President) living, eating, and at times sleeping in the homes of my fellow students and learning about my neighbors.

What a difference it has made in my life and how I see those who I am today told are somewhat “different” than me.

Trust me dear friends they are not !!!!!!!

So, do yourself and self and our society a favor. Reach out to your neighbors; go to their churches, spend time with their families, break bread with them and discover the beauty that exists within each human being.

Bernie Otis is a well known Writer, Author, Speaker, as well as a highly respected Food, Beverage and Laundry Consultant, Marketing/Sales Consultant. During his lifetime he has been involved in the Design and supplying of All major Hotels in Las Vegas, Disneyland and major hotels, hospitals and universities nationally and restaurants (he has been involved in the Design of almost all restaurants in Southern California.

Bernie’s 2 Books; “How to Prepare for Old Age—Without Taking the Fun out of Life” and “Revenue Generation Through the Sale of Kumquats——And Other Things” are Best Sellers on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. His weekly blogs can be read at

Bernie also is an advisor to families needing information on Senior Living Facilities and other issues related to Aging

Bernie can be reached at–818-519-8347

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