Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Phantom of the Choir

In a previous post, I mentioned singing in the choir of the Jewish Community in Oradea. In fact, this period is worth more than a mention, as I sang there ever since I remember myself as a little girl until I left Romania in 1981. This choir attracted many young (and old) singers along the years, while its sheer existence was and still is a miracle, after most Jews left Oradea after WWII and  gradually till the revolution in 1989.

I loved being part of the community, singing songs on festivals and holidays for the community members, and touring on Hanukka and meeting Jewish youngsters from other Transylvanian cities. One of my strongest memories is the Kol Nidrey tunes we sang with the cantor and pipe organ on Yom Kippur. As if I knew how much I'll miss this, I recorded the entire evening on a casette, but with my moving to Israel, the casette was unfortunately lost.

During the last 30 years, I sang some tunes for my children, until I myself questioned the existence of these different tunes in the gloomy past. It felt like I was the only one on Earth still singing them. Last week, a choir member whom I haven't met for 30 years, came to visit and brought me a CD recorded by the choir. What an intravenous shot of pure nostalgia!

Thanks to my recent choir experience and learning, I am now a critical listener. I can hear the imperfections in the singing, breathing, attacks, scooping and the cover-ups by the accordion accompaniment, but that is not the point of this music. It brought back one of my best childhood memories and for that I am thankful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A New Type of Present

The time between end of August and end of the year is full with family events and Jewish holidays. It starts with our anniversary, then our birthdays, the high holidays in September-October, the children's birthdays, and finally Hanuka and New Year. Naturally, on some of these events I either get or give presents. For my birthday this year, I got lots of wishes on Facebook, I held a modest celebration at the office, dined in a French restaurant with my family, and got flowers and a "present" from hubby.

In case you are wondering what the quotation marks stand for, here is the story. For some time now, my gym sneakers were falling apart and I needed a new pair. Since I hate sports (yes, all sorts of it), I don't invest a lot of thought in sport apparel, I usually buy the first item I see and get over with the boring task of shopping for it. This time, hubby convinced me to buy myself a better brand than I originally planned. So I went to the Saucony shop, tried some models on the treadmill and finally bought a lightweight pair. The actual present was convincing me that I don't need to be sporty to allow myself and enjoy quality shoes. Not very romantic, but clever.

Why do I frequent the gym even though I hate sports? Self-discipline and the knowledge it's healthy. And BTW, the dinner at the French restaurant was not up to our expectations.