Instead of boring you with the usual response, let me tell you the story of an unforgettable moment I experienced just a few hours ago….
I volunteer at my local Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, CA.
For the record,I am not Jewish, nor am I religious, but I respect the rights of those who wish to worship in any way they choose. I also think there is a lot to be learned through studying the history of every religion and its people.
The people where I volunteer are lovely and I love my job and get to help out during a fantastic, weekly cultural arts event called Community Tuesdays(open to the public).
Today, the program featured an amazingly talented singer and accordionist of Yiddish music, Jeanette Lewicki. Her show was entitled, Belarus to Brooklyn: A Time-Traveling Tour of Yiddish Song.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but she led us through a history-rich, captivating tale of song and story that was both interesting and beautiful.
She explained each song’s translation, origin and any special history, prior to preforming each song in Yiddish. She eventually came to a particular song with a story old as time, about a woman, that had originally been recorded and/or sung by a man.
I will recount the introduction she gave as best I can:
“A young woman of meager means from a small village in the old country,comes to rest at the edge of a green river, holding a new baby close to her full breast.
She calls to the little fish in the river, so she can whisper to them a story. She has a secret to tell them. She wants to introduce them to the babe in her arms.
She tells the little fish that they will soon know and then forget her baby, who she will never forget. She drops her baby to the bottom of the river for the fish to feed upon and walks away.”
That was it.
You could have heard a pin drop for a slow second in that room, right before a collective, loudgasp, after which, many exclaimed, “That’s horrible!”
Without missing a beat, she said matter-of-factly,“Yes. It is horrible that this story is still as relevant today as it was when the song was written. Women who aren’t in a position to support a child and have no access to control whether or not they will have a baby are still going to the [real or proverbial]side of the river today and will keep going to the river as long as they have no other choice.”(Paraphrased once again)
And without giving any time for response, she proceeded on with the song while we all sat there dumbfounded and thought about what she had said.
At the end of this song, there was a noticeably longer pause before people applauded. She paid that no attention and went on with the rest of her outstanding performance.
I can promise you that due to the timing, delivery, and words she chose, that everyonein that room thought good and hard about what she had said.
The world needs more collectively conscious moments like this to seriously evaluate how we feel about certain issues facing humanity now and throughout history. We also need more people like Jeanette Lewicki, who are able to bring these poignant moments to the masses.
I hope that I have conveyed even 1/10 of the feeling that was in that room today.
Now, what was the question?
”Apathy is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.” ~ Laura H. KutneyTweet