Kazimierz and Lublin
We stayed in Radom on Sunday night after the concert in a brand new hotel. It was lovely. Then we traveled the next day to Kazimierz to begin the long-awaited seminar. We started on Tuesday with an in-depth journey through the weekday evening service, exploring the history, the language, and the music. We then learned with Professor Spiewak about Pirkei Avot. Afterward, we had a wonderful zoom lesson on Mussar from Rabbi Dina Rosenberg from the United States. All of these learning opportunities led to the extensive conversation about Jewish life in Poland--both historical and religious. The discussion was always lively, at times too enthusiastic (LOL), but always led to the same conclusion--we need in Jewish communal life in Poland so man things. When the time is right, I will reveal!
The most beautiful aspect of our seminar was that we came together with quite disparate points of view and managed to converse b'shem shamayim for the sake of heaven.
And we sang and played music!!
Thursday night, we traveled to Lublin and checked in to the Ilan Hotel. This hotel was the dormitory of the Chochmei Lublin Yeshiva, the place where my teacher Rabbi Lipman Radzik z'l studied. Quite odd that the dormitory was now a hotel with all of the trimmings of a four-star hotel. The wonderful thing about this place is that the synagogue is still intact--refurbished, but the same. I faced the ark and davened ma'ariv--it was chilling, inspiring, sad, and joyful. Just plain emotionally charged. Then Marcin and I did a concert. It was stunning. The UN sound of the sanctuary, the reaction of the public, and the venue felt dream-like. We finished the program and, on Friday, headed to Chelm for a Shabbat service at the museum in the courtyard.
But before leaving, we visited a school doing a summer program for Ukrainian and Polish children. I played music for them, and then we gave a donation to the school. Thank you, Irina, for allowing me to do such a mitzvah--the school is supported by Princess Irina, and she encouraged me to donate. It is an extraordinary place--the photo you see is a Ukrainian teacher in a Polish classroom--so that everyone can be encouraged to learn in the other's language. Also, there are many differently-abled students as well.
More about Shabbat in the next blog!!