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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for November, 2006

Making Music With the What You Have?

Monday, November 20th, 2006

A friend, Paul DeCeglie, email1317ed me this moving message from Thailand
where he lives. I share it with you
”On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist,
came on stage to give a concert at Lincoln Center in
New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman
concert, you know that getting on stage is no small
achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a
child, and has braces on both legs and walks with
the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the
stage one step at the time, painfully and slowly is
a sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until
he reaches his chair.
Then he sits down, slowly, put his crutches on the
floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot
back and extend the other foot forward. Then he
bends down and picks up his violin, puts it under
his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They
sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage
to his chair. They remain silent while he undoes the
clasps on his legs, they wait until he is ready to play.
But this time, something went wrong. Just as he
finished the first few bars, one of the strings on
his violin broke. You could hear it snap — it went
off like gunfire across the room. There was no
mistaking what he had to do.
People who were there that night thought to
themselves: “We figured that he would have to get
up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches
and limp his way off the stage — to either find
another violin or else find another string for this
one. Or wait for someone to bring him another.
But he didn’t. Instead he waited a moment, closed
his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin
again. The orchestra began, and he played from where
he had left off. And he played with such passion and
such power and such purity, as they had never heard
before.
Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to
play a symphonic work with just three strings. I
know that, you know that. But that night Itzhak
Perlman refused to know that. You could see him
modulating, changing and recomposing the piece in
his head. At one point it sounded like he was
de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them
that they had never made before.
when he finished, there was an awesome silence in
the room. And then people rose and cheered. There
was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every
corner of the auditorium. Everyone was on their
feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything they
could to show how much they appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his
bow to quiet the audience, not boastfully, but in a
quiet reverent tone:
“YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES IT IS THE ARTIST’S TASK TO FIND
OUT HOW MUCH MUSIC YOU CAN STILL MAKE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE LEFT.”
What a powerful line that is. And who knows? Perhaps
that is the way of life — not just for an artist
but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared
all his life to make music on a violin with four
strings, who all of a sudden, in the middle of a
concert, finds himself with only three strings and
the music he made that night with just three strings
was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable,
than any that had ever made before, when he had four
strings.
So perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing,
bewildering world in which we live, is to make
music, at first with all that we have, and then when
that is no longer possible, to make music with what
we have left.
In this year where so much has been taken from us
all, let us stop for a moment during this holiday
season and think how we can make beautiful music
with what we have left.
IN THAT SPIRIT I WISH YOU
SHALOM”

A Father’s Love

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

There was a very touching story in the October 20, 2006 Washington Post
(”Marathon Dream Team” by Lyndsey Layton) in which a father bundled
up his deaf and developmentally disabled daughter, strapped her into a
running stroller and pushed her 26.2 miles in the annual Marine Corps
Marathon. It was his way of displaying the love that he had for his
daughter. The father, Tim Mullen, figures this would have been the
year that his 65-pound, 17 year-old daughter, Leah, ran her first
marathon along-side him.
The article says that Mr. Mullen’s brother ”came from New Jersey to
pedal alongside them on a bike that towed a trailer stuffed with Leah’s
medications, disapers, food, extra clothing and a walkie-talkie.
”Several friends took turns escorting them on the course, jumping on
the route and running for several miles before jumping off. At the
windiest section…where Mullen worried that gusts would make it
difficult to push the stroller, four friends ran with him and formed
a windshield.
”Dozens of family members and friends, including babysitters and
teaching aides and therapists…cheered them from the road.”
There is something wonderful about how a community of
family and friends facilitated this father’s goal of ”running” with
his daughter. There is something wonderful about how this father
wanted to take his daughter with him on his marathon dream.
What do you think?