A Star is born as formal religious prayer achieves crossover status into popular music
Interrupting the story at the point where it nearly began, first a message from your sponsor.
What I feel required to communicate today
I am at a crossroads in my life. The question is: Can I continue to live independently? Will I be forced to be live in a nursing home? Assistance is required. Self discipline is required. As it happens, my situation unresolved today is a significant Jewish holiday. Today celebrates God giving the Torah to the Jewish People. God did so at Mount Sinai using Moses as an intermediary. Here is an image found after entering Shavuot at the Google prompt.
Last week was extremely difficult especially considering that I am a 68 year-old paraplegic who has survived cancer three times, broken my ankle this year, and survived a serious bacterial infection that nearly killed me.
Last week I was incontinent soiling my pants and my bed sheets, requiring that I wear diapers. Bummer. I was incontinent two years ago following a spinal procedure for reducing chronic pain. It only lasted two days then when I had to wear a diaper. This time I also had to wear a diaper for two days. After drastically altering my diet, I am now well–at least in my GI-tract. When one is ill and recovers, it is as if nothing ever happened. Reconditioning myself that I not feel humiliated again by incontinence would make it prudent for me to write a post on the subject.
My relationship to God is part of my plan to prevent my being forced into a nursing home which would be tragic. I am not an Occum’s Razor kind of guy. I mange to arrive at my destination by a circuitous route. Also, I love a great story. The story I began to tell about a religiously observant Israeli singer who was expelled from her Yeshiva for singing God’s word on television is a humdinger. My plan is to interrupt the story’s flow on occasion to clarify why I am telling you this now especially since I just looked at my calendar to discover that on Thursday I am scheduled to go to New York for spinal surgery to reduce pain. I have to cancel the appointment. I am in no way strong enough to travel in a few days. Let us start with the song that caused so much trouble, Ofir Ben Shitrit singing from the book of Genesis: “I am not worthy of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou show unto thy servant.”
“Deliver me, I pray Thee,” Ofir Ben Shitrit” pleads to God in a voice so beautiful it breaks my heart. “In the media,” Ofir writes, “I was presented as a role model and heroine. However, there were other voices–those of religious extremists, who called me a ‘fake Jew’ and a ‘shame’ to the Orthodox community. Orthodox newspapers and magazines featured heated discussions on the Halakah’s prohibition on women singing in public.” Here is how one religiously observant website defines Halakah:
“Ben Shetrit—at 17, one of the youngest of the show’s more than 50 contestants—is a student at an Orthodox yeshiva for girls in Ashdod and the only Orthodox young woman in the competition. Before she stepped in front of the microphone, she briefly introduced herself. ‘I’ve loved singing ever since I was little,’ she said. ‘I’m looking for a way to cultivate my talent.’ One of the show’s producers asked her if religion would get in the way; many Orthodox Jews consider the public singing of women immodest. Ben Shitrit smiled sweetly. “I think the Torah wants us to be happy,” she said. “It wants music to make people happy. I think you can combine Torah and music, and this is why I chose to come on the show.”
Interruption that is the central focus for this post SLEEP
Regarding Ashdod, Ofir’s home town, I visited Ashdod several times in 1967, where two days BEFORE the six day war, I worked on a nearby dairy farm Kvar Warburgh. This is how Wikipedia describes Ashdod:
“Ashdodis the sixth-largest city in Israel, located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast where it is situated between Tel Aviv to the north (32 kilometres (20 miles) away) and Ashkelon to the south (20 km (12 mi) away). Jerusalem is 53 km (33 mi) to the east.
“Modern Ashdod covers the territory of two ancient twin towns, one inland and one on the coast, which were for most of their history two separate entities, connected though by close ties with each other. This article is dealing with both these historic towns and other ancient sites now located within the territory of modern Ashdod.
“The first documented urban settlement at Ashdod dates to the Canaanite culture of the 17th century BCE, making the city one of the oldest in the world. Ashdod is mentioned 13 times in the Bible.”
Why am I writing about Zionism at a time like this?
Zionism is a srong identifier of who I am as a person.
On Monday, June 5th 1967 I awoke early. I had completed my sophomore year at Colubmbia College. There I had read lovingly Agnon’s beautiful stories far too sophisticated for my vocabulary in Hebrew.
I was living in my apartment at 108th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam, then not a safe neighborhood. There I lived with Vicki Cohen whom I met during freshman week and whom I later married.
My early morning walk took me to a newsstand/soda fountain on Broadway where The New York Times was being cut out of the bundle. While drinking a vanilla malted, I read the details of the headline stating that war had begun in Israel.
One Times dispatch from Egypt was wildly inaccurate describing what turned out to be early fiction about Egypt’s early progress in the War.
I decided to go to Israel immediately. First I required a passport. After finishing my malted I then:
1. Returned home to collect my birth certificate
2. Called the Passport office
3. Dressed and went Downtime so I could be there for the office’s opening
4. Purchased a one-way ticket from AirFrance scheduled to leave from Kennedy to Orly
5. Told the passport official that a very dear uncle had died in Paris, that Jewish law required expedient burial and that I had already purchased a ticket to Paris that night, and I could not board the flight without an expedited passport.
6. Monday night June 5th, I kissed Celia, my beloved maternal grand mother, and Vicki goodbye. I could not have avoided noticing that they cried when I boarded the plane.
7. At Paris the Jewish agency was so overloaded that I could not rely on its timely assistance,
8. Tuesday night, June 6th, I purchased a one way ticket to Cyprus.
9. Wednesday June 7th I was at the airport at Athens.
10. Early Thursday morning I boarded a flight from Athens to then Lodd Airport in Tel Aviv.
11. Early Thursday morning, my plane was the first commercial plane to land at Israel’s main airport.
12. I kissed the ground.
13. When the immigration official began to stamp a visa on my passport, he asked, “Why are you visiting Israel.” I said “to help any way I can.”
14. Two days later, when the War ended with the victory at the dangerous and critical Golan Hights, I was shoveling manure on a dairy farm in the South of Israel learning the Hebrew word for “”electricity” when my farmer host tried to tell me I was about to touch an electrical wire designed to keep the cows in their place.
Jewish spiritual song – Jerusalem if I forget you (Hebrew Yiddish Israeli jewish beautiful songs)
Jerusalem Of Gold
A Lot of Additional Text
Four scor and seven years ago…
Post concludes with this song