Interesting Encouraging Encounter

Today I had a wonderful experience.   While on our annual summer vacation in the Catskills, my family and I decided to take a trip to the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, NY.  The museum was certainly comprehensive and engaging, enjoyed by all.  My favorite part, however, was not what occurred inside the facility, but what happened before we even stepped in.


Arriving around 1:00 PM and hungry, we headed to the tent we saw set up on the lawn.  We noticed a group of young boys, obviously a camp group, which was finishing up.  To our silent question of, "Can we eat here?" an older man with the group generously gestured to open tables.


As we sat, getting our lunch organized, this same man came over to say hello and asked us if we had everything that we needed. We answered that we were fine and exchanged a few friendly words. 


Then, before he walked away, he showed me his bare forearm, with its tatooed numbers and asked, "Do you know what this is?" 


I shook my head in solemn acknowledgement.


He went further, "Do you see that boy in the yellow shirt?  He's my grandson.  He's six years old; the same age that i was when I arrived in Auschwitz.  Can you imagine how I feel every time i see him?"  He ended with a blessing for our family.


My wife turned to me and said, "It's like your song!" 


How ironic.  I had just finished writing a song entitled The Blessing, which is based on an experience that I about 25 years ago while walking in the Old City of Jerusalem with a friend of mine, a holocaust survivor.  A woman approached us and asked him for a blessing, relating that her parents told her that if she ever meets a survivor, she should be sure to ask for one.  The blessing that she received was heartfelt, given with tears in his eyes.  Seeing this, I made sure to ask him for a personal blessing before we parted.


Feeling that something special was happening here in Hudson, I gave my new acquaintance a copy of my latest CD With Help from Heaven, which happens to include A Knock at the Door a song i wrote years ago about another survivor I'd known. 


As we talked a bit, I mentioned a new project that I'm working on, The Brooklyn Open Mic, a venue for Jewish artists to share their music. Excited about this concept and its potential to inspire, he gave me a heartfelt blessing for the success of this endeavor.


Now as my family readied to enter the museum, i knew that the purpose for my visit had already been realized.  I thought back to that other blessing I'd received 25 years ago and how I've seen it fulfilled.  Today's encounter encouraged me that The Brooklyn Open Mic is going to be a very special event.



All good things to everyone,




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