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The gift of 'Shabbos'

Friday, 12 October, 2012 - 2:09 pm

Dear friends,

Last Friday I was humbled to be given one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received. It wasn't only who gave it to me and its content, it was the presentation...

Many of you know Dr. Peter Gary, an accomplished composer who retired on the Island. Dr. Gary, a survivor of Bergen Belsen, dedicated much of his late years to educate young children and students across the Island about the Shoah (he doesn’t approve of the term "holocaust"). He had inspired thousands of young men and women to fight hate and to stand up for what's right and moral.

When Peter asked me to meet him on Erev Shabbat at the Shul, while we see each other regularly, I knew that this was something of a different nature.

Dr. Peter placed a thick booklet and a CD on the table. "Over the last few months” he started “I've written a piece of music which is dedicated to you and Chani. I'm giving it to you because, as you know, I watch you very closely and I appreciate your work and accomplishments; This septet of original music is on the theme of ‘Shabbos’ because your and Chani’s efforts are to me a form of Shabbat".

"When I think of Shabbat I remember the few Jews, weak and broken, who gathered on Saturday morning in Majdanek concentration camp to pray by heart, because there were no books, but Shabbat to me is also coming to this Shul, shaking hands with smiles and singing the prayer with great joy…

"While those experiences seem to differ so much – it is the same Shabbat.  This one day a week has a great significant to us as a people; I’d define Shabbos as the core of our identity and the secret of our survival”. 

We sat together to listen to the music. I think I was table to hear in the composition Shabbat in our Shul but also Shabbat in Maydaneck. So far yet so close.

Comments on: The gift of 'Shabbos'

Ireta Fisher Cowall wrote...

Oh what a beautiful thought and gift. What could be so personal and so much from the heart as a special piece of music written for Chani and Meir, an outstanding couple. Kol Ha Kavoed to Peter and Kol Ha Kavoed to Meir and Chani. A beautiful Shabbos for everyone. Ireta

Elisabeth Gelb wrote...

Dear Rabbi,
Dedicating a piece of music is a form of pure love. Is it possible to hear the special Shabbat composition?
Shabbat Shalom.