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Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

A Chanukah to Remember

Special note: Just a few days after the event, BenZion's mother passed away. We extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to him and to the entire Solomon family. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים.
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Hello, friends. A lot has happened since my last post. My position at PC Magazine was 'eliminated.' I'm working now as a consultant, doing technical writing at a major accounting firm. I'm also keeping my eyes open for another high-profile, super-cool media gig. In the meantime, my only means of communication to the masses is this blog. And I've got plenty to report.

The first night of Chanukah, we had the unique privilege of hosting an intimate concert with R' BenZion Solomon. All credit goes to Michelle, for volunteering our home and preparing a sumptuous feast'ele for the guests, and of course, to the holiest neighbors in the world, Toby & David and Nachman & Miriam, for making it all happen.

It was a dark and stormy night. We called the concert for 8 o'clock, so people would have plenty of time to light menorah, eat, relax, and so on. By 8:30, only a handful of people had arrived. By 9:30, though, the room was packed.

BenZion and his holy wife, Dina, made everyone feel welcome and comfortable. The audience included teens, young couples, older families, FFBs, BTs, and everything in between. Strumming his guitar, BenZion started out with Shomer Yisrael, praying for Hashem to guard His children. He went on to sing various Shlomo niggunim, some of which appear on "Give Me Harmony."

The highlight of the evening, though, was the retelling of his personal miracle - his journey home to Yiddishkeit. BenZion's story is humorous and heartwarming, and it inspired everyone in the room.

It also made me very wistful. If only I had known Shlomo more closely, and for a longer time. If only I had spent some time in San Francisco, at the House of Love and Prayer. Or on the Moshav.

Granted, I was only 3 years old when the Moshav was founded, but the spiritual level and emotional connection these people have to one another and to Hashem is remarkable. I want to be a part of it. And thanks to my deepest friends and neighbors, and to Michelle, I had an opportunity to strengthen my ties to the chevra this yomtov.

Next year, we'll have a few thousand more people, and we'll celebrate the first night of Chanukah in Yerushalayim. If, G-d forbid, that doesn't happen, then everyone's invited to my house.

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