I have to admit I was nervous about coming before 140 people for the Sunday Concert yesterday. What could I do that was new since I have been singing at Maimonides now for over 15 years? All I could think of was to sit down and as Tevye from Fiddler always did, I looked up and asked God to help me. I knew that this week we will have Holocaust Remembrance Day and next week is coming Yom Atzmaut, the Israel Day Rally. I took out my music and little by little an idea began to formulate in my mind. As we get older we become more interested in where we came from than when we were young. Perhaps that is why our Creator tells us to repeat His principles and stories from generation to generation. Eventually we are going to get it. I thought about the Holocaust and what I read from one or two rabbis and from the teachings of my own rabbi.
The suffering of our people didn’t begin in 1933 with the rise of Hitler, nor with the pogroms that brought my great- grandparents to Canada from Kiev in the early 1900s; nor did it begin with the Spanish Inquisition. I kept going back in my mind to the beginning of our suffering and could trace suffering to the story of Adam and Eve in Gan Eden after their decision to disobey our Creator’s command. Imagine and they only had one at that time. We don’t want to admit it but it is so clear when we read Torah that the Almighty warned us in Devarim 28: if we disobey His Commandments we fall away from His protection and He will allow the enemy to come against us. It is so easy to blame others for what happens to us in this world, but so hard to take responsibility for what we do. Thank God that He is always ready to take us back like a loving father whose child has been disobedient and comes running to him with tears waiting for forgiveness. We have that opportunity to do teshuva. I don’t mean to become religious; I mean to turn back to God and make things right.
I had written a song about the Story of Adam and Eve so it occurred to me to sing it and to recount the story line of our people heading up throughout history — through Abraham, Moses, the various captivities starting with Babylon until the reinstatement of our nation Israel today. There are so many songs that speak of these things and the ones I didn’t have, I wrote. I went from Adam and Eve all the way to the coming of Mashiach ben David who will bring us back to the times of Gan Eden – full circle.
When I ended the concert, Barbara came up to me and said that she had been sent by her parents to Folkshul, Jewish school for seven years but she learned more about our history from me in one hour than she learned in all those 7 years. I quickly thanked our God above for helping me. The feedback was wonderful from so many people and I am so grateful that at my age I have been able to find the thing that fulfills my purpose in this life. It is not always easy, but I know that He is always by my side and will give me the strength to go on. May I be able to continue healthy and strong until Messiah comes.