Friday, June 28, 2013

Misunderstandings and Manipulations

Last Shabbat we thought Nora had gone for a walk.  We couldn't figure out how she would have gotten outside without opposable thumbs to open the doors, but since we searched the house multiple times, it seemed the most logical conclusion.  Actually she'd managed to get locked in one of Gavi's dresser drawers.  She was comfortable, and so, she was quiet.

In the midst of our worry Jesse and I took a late evening stroll through the neighbourhood.  Sean, knowing we were on top of this, and having to be at shul in the morning, went to bed.  Every Shabbat morning, when he's in town, Jesse reads the fourth aliyah at Pride of Israel.  It gives Larry a break (not that he needs it).  It presents an image of lay/teen involvement (if only more individuals would follow in Jesse's shoes, although some have). It gives Jesse a chance to hone his, already impressive, skills as a baal koreh, (proud mom alert) for which he's already been paid by another congregation to read Megillah on Purim.

What does this have to do with Nora?

Jesse, as a prodigious Torah reader, rarely learns his reading before Friday night.  Unfortunately our Friday night was spent searching for a cat who was not lost.  Additionally, since we didn't find the not-lost cat, Jesse's morning was also focused on the search.  Before we left on our evening search, Jesse went into our room to tell Sean that it was too late and he was too worried to learn the reading, and could Sean please do it.  If you have read "Twenty Snippets for Twenty Years," you may remember that Sean can have complete conversations in his sleep, and that he cannot remember these conversations.  Well this was one of those times.  Unfortunately for Jesse and for Sean, Jesse did not know Sean can do this.  I asked Jesse multiple times if he'd told Sean he wasn't reading in the morning. Jesse assured me he had.  Sean assumed that Nora was still missing when he came home, and that was the reason Jesse did not come to read.  However, after the story of Nora not being lost was made clear, and after I stopped laughing, I realized the misunderstanding between Jesse and Sean about the Torah reading, and explained to Jesse that Sean can do this.  Yes really, entire conversations, seemingly coherent, although with eyes closed.  And then the light bulb went off.  You never know what Sean will say in these conversations.  It's the perfect time for Jesse to ask for permission (like can I take the car) for things I'll never say yes to.  Luckily, I am a light sleeper.  I'll be listening too.

Parashat Pinchas- Why I Am a Conservative Jew

U’Tz’lafchad ben Cheifer lo hayu lo banim ki im banot v’sheim banot Tz’lafchad Machlah, v’Noa, Choglah, Milkah, v’Tirtzah.
(B’midbar 26:33)
Vvtikravna b’not Tz’lafchad…. Vata’amodnah lifnei Moshe v’lifnei Elazar Hakohein v’lifnei ha’n’si’im v’chol ha’eidah… leimor. Avinu meit bamidbar v’hu lo hayah b’toch ha’eidah hago’adim al A’donai… u’vanim lo hayu lo. Lamah yigara sheim avinu mitoch mishpachto ki ein lo bein t’nah lanu ahuzah b’toch ahei avinu. Vayikreiv Moshe et mishpatan lifnei  A’donai. Vayomer A’donai el Moshe leimor. Kein bnot Tz’lafchad dovrot naton titein lahem ahuzah nahalat… et nahalat avihen lahen. (27:1-7)
…V’haita livnei Yisrael l’hukat mishpat ka’asher tzivah A’donai et Moshe. (27:11)
And Tz’lafchad ben Cheifer had no sons, but he had daughters, and the names of the daughters of Tz’lafchad were Machlah, Noa, Choglah, Milkah, and Tirtzah.
And the daughters of Tz’lafchad approached…. And they stood before Moshe, and before Elazar the Kohein, and before the leadership and all of the community… saying. “Our father died in the wilderness and he was not among the community that gathered against God… and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be lost from within our family therefore give us a portion among our father’s brothers. And Moshe brought this judgment before God. And God said to Moshe. The daughters of Tz’lafchad speak correctly; you shall surely give to them a portion of inheritance… their father’s inheritance shall go to them.
And this shall be for the Children of Israel a statute of law that God commanded Moshe.
This is a fascinating piece of text. Already in the Torah comes a case when the law, so recently given, does not fit the situation. What is the response? Is the circumstance made to fit the law? No. The law evolves in order to adapt to the conditions of the moment. It is not a change in law. The previous law is not negated. It is an evolution building upon the precedent of the previous law. This is why I am a Conservative Jew, because I can point to this moment in the Torah and see that the halakhah is meant to evolve and adapt when circumstances require it to do so.
The Movements are often defined like this: The Orthodox do everything. The Conservatives do some things. The Reform do nothing, and the Reconstructionists are confused. Unfortunately this says nothing about the reality of what each movement professes. Reconstructionism is actually trans-denominational, viewing Jews as part of a shared legacy and culture. The values of the individual and the modern society come first, and a Reconstructionist Jew can be from anywhere along the movement spectrum. Belief is not the object; connection to the People is.
The Reform Movement believes that Torah and mitzvot were created by humans to help bring them closer to God. Mitzvot are not commanded, but created. They believe in educated choice, not a whole scale rejection of Jewish practice. It too focuses on the individual. Each person should study to discover which “mitzvot” will help bring him/her closer to God and to the Jewish people. “Mitzvot” that do not do this can be discarded.
The Orthodox Movement believes that both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah, the codes of law from the Mishnah and the Talmud, are Divine in origin and given at Sinai. As such they are unchanging. The rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud were illuminating the teachings rather than speaking them themselves.
Conservative Judaism believes in Torah miSinai, but there is an understanding, dating from the Torah itself, that the halakhah evolves over time based on need and precedent. We do not reject the laws that came before, but we also view the law as living, vibrant, and ever evolving to meet the needs of an ever-evolving Jewish community.
As a student of Jewish history and halakhah, from the Torah to the modern day, I see Conservative Judaism as the most authentic movement, capturing both the letter and the spirit of the law in its ability to adapt to new circumstances based on past precedent. The Torah teaches us to act b’tzelem Ehlohim, in the image of God. The Talmud tells us lo bashamayim hi, that the law is not unchanging in heaven. Parashat Pinchas gives us precedent. Conservative/Masorti Judaism balances all these, acting in the image of God while understanding the law must be a living, evolving system of law on earth.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Hate Cats

Yesterday Nora disappeared.  She's an indoor cat, so this is particularly weird.  It does happen that sometimes she goes out into the yard with us.  We have to keep an eye on her because she can jump the fence.  This means her time outside is heavily supervised and limited.  Still, every once in a while she has managed to leave the yard.  Yesterday, she did not go out.  At least we were all sure she did not go out.  But by 11:00 PM we still could not find her anywhere.  Jesse and I took a walk around the neighborhood shaking a treats bag.  That's the universal sound for come home.  Another cat answered the call, but not Nora.  Finally we gave up, and went back inside.  I assured Jesse she'd found a place to sleep, and she'd turn out today.

This morning there was still no sign of Nora.  Jesse was outside in his robe shaking the treats bag.  I decided to check the house one more time.  I checked my closets and the drawers under my bed.  No Nora.  I spoke with Gavi, who had been asleep during the previous evening's search.  He assured me Nora did not go out.  Then he said he'd heard her this morning.  She woke him up.  "Really?"  so I called her.  "Nora?"  "Meow."  "Nora?"  "Meow."  Where was she?  She kept meowing.  I stared opening Gavi's drawers.  At the fourth drawer Nora jumped out.  She'd climbed in to sleep when the drawer was open just a little, and someone (maybe even me) closed it later.  She was comfy and happy, so she didn't meow to get out.  This morning when she wanted out, she meowed and woke Gavi, but he didn't know where she was.

Hours of worry and stress, and she was safe and cozy all the time.

I hate cats.

Kitty Blog #19, By Gandalf The Grey

Nora's back!  She was never really gone.  She went to sleep in Gavi's drawer, and someone closed it without looking.  How silly those people are.  And they made us all worry for no reason.  Nora was home all along, and she found the best sleeping place!  I had to share the bed with Jen & Sean, and she had a space all to her space.  Life is back to normal!  Yeah.  Maybe tonight I'll share my food with her, and she can have her space on the bed all to herself.

It's My Turn #21, By Nora T. Cat

Last night I was looking for a quiet place to sleep.  I found a wonderful place in Gavi's room.  Comfortably lined with cotton and flannel.  It was small and dark and very cozy.  Perfect for sleeping.  Gandalf would never find me there.  Later I heard the treats shaking.  But someone had closed my space.  It was still comfy, still dark, still cozy, but, no matter how I tried, I could get the opening open again.  Eventually I just went back to sleep.

Today, I was awakened by Jen's voice.  She was talking to Gavi, then I heard my name- "Nora" so I meowed.  Jen turned to me.  "Nora."  Meow."  Nora."  "Meow."  "Where is she?  Nora?"  "Meow."  I heard drawers opening and closing.  Finally, she got to my spot.  The drawer opened, and I gracefully leapt out.  Jen gave me a whole bunch of treats.  Yum.  Then Jen went to the front door to call Jesse back inside.  She said, "She's here!  We found her!"  Found me?  I was never lost.  What's up with that?  I went back to find my sleeping space.  It was closed.  Bummer.

Kitty Blog #18, by Gandalf the Grey

Friday, June 21, 7:30 PM- It's a quiet evening.  Nora is nowhere to be found.  She was here earlier, but I can't find her.  I'm kinda enjoying the quiet.  No one is picking on me, well no one except Keren who keeps picking me up.  No one is eating my food.  I have the bed to myself.

10:30 PM- Now it's too quiet.  I have the bed all to myself; no one to cuddle with.  There's no one picking on me; the family is eating Shabbat dinner, and it's not food I want.  No one is eating my food.  It's lonely.  Where's Nora?

11:45 PM- Jesse & Jen just got back from a walk looking for Nora.  They keep saying they're sure she's in the house, but then why did they go looking for her?  We can't find her anywhere.  It's very creepy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parashat Balak- Noticing the Miraculous Around Us

Vateireh ha’aton et malach A-donai nitzav baderech v’harbo shlufa b’yado vteit ha’aton min haderech… vayach Bilam et ha’aton…. Vateireh ha’aton et malach A-donai vatilaheitz el hakir… vayosef l’hakotah…. Vateireh ha’aton et malach A-donai vatirbatz tachat Bilam… vayach et ha’aton bamakeil. Vyiftach A-donai et pee ha’aton vatomer l’Bilam meh asiti l’cha ki hikitani zeh shalosh r’galim…. Vatomer ha’aton el Bilam halo anochi atoncha asher rachavta alai mei’odcha ad hayom hazeh hahaskein hiskanti la’asot l’cha ko Vayomer lo. Va’y’gal A-donai et einei Bilam…
And the donkey saw the angel of God standing in the way and his sword drawn in his hand and the donkey turned from the way… and Bilam struck the donkey…. And the donkey saw the angel of God and she thrust herself against the wall and again he struck her…. And the donkey saw the angel of God and she lay down under Bilam…and he struck the donkey with his staff. And God opened the donkey’s mouth and she said to Bilam, “What have I done to you that you hit me three times?” … And the donkey said to Bilam, “Aren’t I your donkey upon whom you have ridden all your life until today? Have I ever done such to you?” And he said, “No.” And God opened Bilam’s eyes (Excerpts from B’midbar 23-31)
The story of Bilam and his donkey is a fascinating one. Bilam, a supposed prophet, cannot see something directly in front of him. He cannot see a thing that even his donkey has the sense to avoid. To her the angel of God is clearly visible. She sees its form. She sees its weapon. She sees its intent, and, caring about Bilam, the master whom she has served for his whole life, she seeks to avoid the danger to Bilam. At first she merely tries to turn him aside, but is thanked with a blow. The second time she thrusts herself into a wall, trying to force her way away from the danger. Again the thanks comes as a punishment. The third time she merely sits down, refusing to be part of this charade any longer. And once again Bilam strikes her. Even when God first opens her mouth, Bilam is not immediately struck by the miraculous nature of this experience. Only when forced to confront the truth of the situation does he finally acknowledge the strangeness of her behaviour and suddenly recognize the danger before him. Only when forced to think upon a question in order to answer are Bilam’s eyes finally opened.  Even then, they are opened by God. Bilam, even confronted with a miracle, refuses to open his eyes to what stands directly before him.
How often do we in our everyday lives manage to ignore the miraculous around us? We see the rain, but do we see the rainbow or the beautiful colour of the stormy sky? We see the mud, but do we see the joy and wonder on the muddy child’s face? We see the traffic slow-down caused by a fire truck or ambulance, but do we see the heroism of those inside? The story of Bilam and his donkey is odd, and in that sense we may never fully comprehend it. However, it is also a story of miracles, wonder, and heroism, and that is something about which we can always use reminding.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Dvar on Why We All Should Support Israel

The following is a d’var Torah I gave on Monday at a MERCAZ Israel Advocacy Seminar in Connecticut. 
I’m going to start with a fact you all know. From June 5-June 10, 1967, just 19 years after its rebirth, Israel fought its third war for survival. In six days, 275,000 Israeli soldiers had beaten the better-armed 456,000 enemy forces. Despite the imbalance, in just six days time, Israel had not only won, she had reopened the holy cities of Hebron and Jerusalem to the worldwide Jewish community. It was a decided victory and a miracle, but in the modern world many miracles come with a cost. Israel was left with 759 soldiers dead and close to 3000 wounded. Arab casualties and deaths were significantly higher. In addition, Israel’s advancing armies gave us the terms “The ’67 Borders” and the “Green Line,” which have been used by both Israel’s supporters and detractors ever since.
Later that year, Israel’s Navy Band preformed a song that had been written by Rachel Shapira in memory Elad Krug, a young man from her kibbutz who had been killed in the war. Mah Avarech asks “Mah avarech lo bameh y’vorach zeh hayeled she’al hamalach.” An angel asks, “How will I bless him, with what shall I bless this child.” The song recounts blessing after blessing- a smile bright as light, wide eyes to take in all of life, and legs to dance. The child grows, and the angel continues to ask, “With what shall I bless this youth? With what shall I bless this man?” The blessings change. Instead of legs with which to dance, legs that are strong and mighty. Instead of a voice that sings out in song, a voice that calls out in cadence. Unfortunately, the blessings are for naught. The boy becomes an angel. The lyrics end “Elohim Elohim Elohim, lu ach berachta lo chayim.” “Dear God, If only You had blessed him with life.” It’s a difficult message wrapped in a beautiful tune.
It’s an interesting choice for a military band to play. I have heard many a military band. They play songs like “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Oh Canada.” Mah Avarech is not a typical tune for a military band, but we understand it is no less patriotic. Kohelet teaches us, v’ha’chai yitein libo; and the living shall take it to heart. It is said in reference to mourning. Those of us left behind must learn from the ones we’ve lost. It may be that we’ve lost someone close to us, whose lessons we know well. It may be that we’ve lost someone we barely knew, or did not know at all, but they still have lessons to teach.
Israel, like all things, is not perfect, but it is our land. It is a land of holiness, of amazement, and of miracles. It is also a land that has learned its lessons in very difficult ways. As a result, the State of Israel and we, as Jews, understand that we must always ask for that blessing of life. This requires knowledge of and support for Israel to ensure its survival in the world. We must never allow Israel to become that boy, that youth, that man, only an angel who can never again dance, explore, wonder or smile.
To hear Mah Avarech (possibly sung by Tzahal's naval group) go to

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Shabbat

We had friends over for Shabbat.  We like having people over, and it’s a shame we don’t get our act together in advance more often to make plans.  In previous homes, we were on the walking paths, and people dropped in.  This is not the case anymore, and we miss it.

Shabbat lunch was a series of light easy to throw together food.  That’s what we do in the summer: challah and/or pitot, hummus, techina, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips.  Most of that simply needs to be opened and dumped into a bowl.  I made the hummus, techina, and guacamole, plus hard-boiled the eggs and mixed the tuna.  I forgot to make the salad.  The entire meal preparation, not including the challah, took under an hour, and only the eggs needed to be prepared before Shabbat.  The most important piece is to share with friends who don’t care if you eat with your hands.

Guacamole:  6 ripe avocados, 1 lemon, 1 TBS lime juice, 4 large cloves of garlic- crushed, 1 ½ tsp cumin.  Peel and mash the avocados.  I use a hand-held pastry blade, but a fork or potato masher works just as well.  Add the other ingredients; mix, and voila, you have yummy guacamole.  You can also add pepper, salt, olive oil or less cumin.  Ess and enjoy.

Hummus: This is harder to quantify.  I tend to toss things together, but here’re the basics.  1 can chick peas- well rinsed, 4-6ish TBS techini paste, 6 cloves garlic, 2 TBS olive oil, 2-3 TBS cilantro or parsley, 4-? TBS lemon juice, ½-1 cup water.  You can use a pastry blade or masher, but I like to make this before Shabbat and use my hand-blender.  Toss everything into a 4 cup measuring cup, but use only 1/2 cup water at first.  Add more if the hummus is too thick.  The straight sides on the measuring cup make it easier to mix.  Blend until smooth.  You may need more lemon juice or water.  Add these slowly so as not to overwhelm or make the hummus too watery.  I like lemony hummus.  Fresh lemons are stronger than lemon juice.  You can also add all or any of the following: cumin, pepper, salt, za’atar, whole chick peas, pine nuts, roasted peppers or almost anything else. 

Techina: I will often mix this up at dinner for a dressing or a dip for raw veggies.  Again, measurements are relative to my taste.  Start slow with seasonings and work your way up.  You can always add more but you can’t take any out.  Mix about ½ techini paste with ½ cup water.  Add 3 TBS lemon juice, 3-4 crushed cloves of garlic, a dash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and/or pepper (optional).  Dip, drizzle, and eat.

If we get fancy I'll make a chicken salad do a salad bar.  Take all the veggies you'd put in your salad, but put them out in different bowls.  Add bowls of nuts/seeds, some dried or fresh fruit, maybe cheese.  Make 2 dressings.  Let everyone make his/her own salad.  Simple, refreshing, yummy.  Shabbat is supposed to be about God, relaxation, food, and friends.  Come on over.  We always have extra food.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Conversations at a Stoplight

I am a New Yorker.  I was born in NY.  I spent the first 18 years of my life in NY.  It was the place I returned to when not at Brandeis or camp and in between moves with the kids. Sean and I lived there another 7 ½ years between JTS and one of our homes.  Being a New Yorker is in my blood.  New Yorkers are supposed to be brassy and loud.  They are supposed to be rude and crass.  I believe I am none of these things.

Now I live in Toronto. Torontonians have multiple stereotypes.  There is the Canadian niceness.  Yet, Toronto is supposed to be cold and unfriendly to outsiders. We love it here.  We found a welcoming community where we have made amazing friendships.

On Thursday night I returned home from New York.  I had meeting with a colleague and the Rabbinical Assembly Executive Committee.  On Wednesday night I stopped at Estihana Noodle House to get take out.  Yum.  Even though I was ordering take out, the maitre’d gave me a seat and brought me a glass of water.  It was a terribly hot day, and I was grateful for the nicety.  Leaving on Thursday, I was rushed to get to the airport.  I arrived at Penn Station just in time, ran downstairs and jumped on the train, the wrong train.  My train had just pulled out.  It was not a terrible mistake as I could pick up the right train at the next stop.  Three people helped me to find my way, only one was the conductor.  The man sitting next to me offered to list my bag to the luggage rack.  Everyone was very courteous and helpful.  No one was brassy, loud, crude, or rude.

I arrived back in Toronto where Sean was waiting for me.  (Thanks hon for picking me up.)  We left the airport; drove up Bathurst to the second light.  We stopped.  It was a lovely night, and we drove with the car windows open.  Sean (also a native New Yorker BTW) turned to the couple in the car next to us and said, “Hi.  How are you?”  The conversation continued.  They were also coming from the airport.  She had been in Chicago.  I shared that I was in New York.  We were all from Toronto.  After a few joking sentences about what a great city Toronto is (it really is), she replied, “Yeah.  You could never have this conversation in New York.  They’d just look at you and say, ‘F*&% you.”  We all laughed.  The light turned green and we drove on, continuing our conversation at the next light.  We all lived northward.  We were all (now) from Toronto.  When the light changed we went our separate ways with a little more laughter in our evening.

On Shabbat we shared the story.  The response, “Where were they from?”  “Here.”  “No, originally.”  “I don’t know.”  “They must not have been native Torontonians.  Native Torontonians aren’t that nice.” And that response from native Torontonians.

Go figure.

My New York Summer Minute

Okay, I know it's not yet officially summer, but it sure feels that way.  I spent Wednesday and Thursday in NYC.  Actually, I spent half of Wednesday at Billy Bishop Airport waiting for Newark weather to clear so we could take off.  My 12:30 lunch meeting became a 3:00.  But this entry is not about my flight or my meetings.  It's about the NY experience.

I took the bus from Newark to Grand Central Station.  The reviews for this service had been iffy, but it was fine.  The trick was appreciating the brusque manner of the driver as a bit of local flavor.  He was helpful and polite, but stereotypical NJ.  I walked from Grand Central to my meeting.  It was hot and humid, like pea soup.  The NY humidity hits you like a brick.  I've lived in NY, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, Israel, North Carolina, and Ontario, and no where has the humidity come out and smacked me like it does in NY.  The city is worse because the asphalt holds the heat and the skyline, as wonderful and unique as it is, blocks any breeze.  (Of course in the winter those same buildings create frigid wind tunnels.)  More on heat later.

Unfortunately the kosher, Indian, fleshig restaurant was closed from 3-5, so we went to Mendy's Deli instead. I had a pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard, a kasha knish, and a sour pickle.  Oh so good!  Montreal smoked meats are wonderful, but they're their own breed of deli.  NY deli can't be beat or duplicated.  I've learned simply not to order pastrami outside the Tristate.  Mendy's pastrami was just the right lean to fat ratio, the knish flaky, and the pickle perfect.  As I took that first bite of the pickle I realized I hadn't had a really good sour pickle at least a year.  Bottled brands cannot compare.  Bob, my lunch-mate topped his off with a Dr. Brown's cream soda.  It's the perfect accompaniment, but I don't like carbonation, so water had to suffice.

After meetings, I met friends for drinks.  Adam met me back at Grand Central Station.  I was easy to find.  I was the only thing not moving in the throngs of people heading home from work.  We walked from Grand Central to 55th & 8th to meet Ally.  It's not so far, about 16 blocks.  Then after our drink (Adam & Ally were meeting Ally's Dad for dinner), I walked  to Columbus Circle for the subway.  Three trains passed packed with people before I could get on.  To 79th and Estihana Noodle House.  I got take out and headed to my hotel to peel off my clothing and relax.

Breakfast was a great NY onion bagel with a schmear of cream cheese.  I walked about 30 blocks before getting on the train.  I love walking in NY.  There is a flow to the foot traffic that is uniquely NY.  More deli for lunch.

Heading home after my meetings, I took the subway to Penn Station.  It's like going home.  I thanked the guardsmen for their service.  One replied, "Thank you for your appreciation."  They're a constant presence since 9/11.

It's amazing how easily I fall back into the flow of NYC.  It's so much faster than the life I lead, but it's comfortable and feels natural.  I don't think I ever want to live in NY again, but I'm always happy to visit!

Wednesday morning found me sitting at Billy Bishop airport waiting for a flight that was supposed to leave at 8:55. I started writing this at 9:45. I woke Wednesday morning feeling surprisingly well rested, a rarity in my life. I am not a morning person, the news reported that the overnight rains had caused major flooding, closing a number of routes to the downtown. Sean and I scrambled to check traffic, flights, trains. All seemed well, but Sean called the cab for an earlier pick up just in case. It was a smooth ride to the ferry, perhaps people were staying home to avoid the flooding. I arrived just before the ferry left (not that that matters, there's always another). Turns out I'd left my boarding pass on the printer. No problem. To the full check-in line. Really no problem. The flight is delayed to 9:20. Go in to the lounge. Email meeting I'll be slightly late. Porter is great.  Computers and food provided in the comfortable lounge. Grab a Tazo earl grey tea and cookies, shortbread (yum), kosher, dairy, and peanut free, some salty almonds. Breakfast- check. Settle into the lounge. It's crowed since the flooding and fog has delayed many flights. At least mine's not cancelled.

As the morning dragged on, my flight crept later and later.  From floods and fog in TO to bad weather in Newark, mother nature was clearly working against my lunch.  I kept emailing my meeting.

As I sat wondering when we'd actually take off, and if I should get up to check the board again, accordion music begins to play through the lounge. Then a soft drum.  Finally a violin.  It's a bit 
like being in a Jewish movie. The tones are slow and mournful, yet with a promise of hope. Is it a promise that someday, maybe even today my flight will take off?  For a moment loud, then quiet, the music speeds up a bit, but maintains that wonderful, folksy sound only an accordion can provide.

Our flight did finally take off.  I flew to NY with the musicians.  They were part of the Lemon Bucket Orkestra [sic], Toronto's only Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk- super band.