Sunday, February 26, 2012

Remembering My Father

Memories play tricks on us. Sometimes we remember exact details and sometimes we can’t even remember what year something happened without using a clue. It’s been ten years since my father died. I have a picture of him and his father looking over me in my study. The pictures are there to remind me that they came before and they are my teachers.

This past week (Feb 21) was the anniversary of the death of the person whom my college is named after. He was a powerful speaker for the black community. He was controversial and eventually killed by his rivals. While I don’t agree with much that he preached, I do believe in following Perke Avot 4:1 “Who is wise? One who learns from all people. “ I prepared one page guides with quotes, book, and web sites.

Since I sold the idea that one should learn to commemorate a yahrtzeit to the college library, how could I do anything less for my father. It is common to learn in honor of the memory of parents and other relatives. This past Shabbat was one of song. I heard the Tel Aviv Cantorial Friday night services and they sang at dinner. I missed the luncheon. The rabbi talked about the power of song. Song can stir one’s soul more than plain words.

My father loved to sing in the choir and perform for the Yiddish Theater in St. Louis. I made a video with a recording of one of his songs to use as the background to a montage of his pictures. The last five seconds I grabbed “to life” from another song. Visit:  to see the video.

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