The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Story About My Dad, Z'L

I received the following email tonight:

Here's a story: Our good friends, Chaim David & Penny (Saracik) were with us for shabbos w/some of their kids. When my husband walked them out to the car, Chaim David handed him the new disc he'd been working on. He brought it in, handed it to me & I flip it over to look at it. I see this familiar face on the back of it. I open it up and there is a picture of a guy who looks exactly like Chazan Chassid! I still didn't 'get it'. Then I read the l'zecher…and STILL DIDN'T GET IT! and then I finally yell to my husband –Hey! this is Chazan Chassid!

Still trying to absorb what I am holding in my hand, I began reading your dedication & when I got to the part where you mention your siblings, I realized – this is Mo Chassid! Don't know if you remember me – Old Friend.

I read all the beautiful things you wrote about your father which are so true. I think my sister told me that she'd heard that your father had passed away. Chazan Chassid was a major part of my childhood. Derech Emunah (our old shul) was such a pillar of my childhood. Your father introduced me to music and tefillah. When I was little I stayed in shul for the entire davening because I loved your father's tefillah so much. I remember the choir and how he used to introduce new tunes into the davening all the time. He was a beautiful soul. His smile, his warmth, his caring – are all remembered with love by me and all of my siblings. May his memory be for blessing always.

I'll end this e-mail with this story: We moved to Israel 22 yrs. ago. I was never able to find a shul I liked. Even after we moved out of Arverne & before & after I married, I never ever enjoyed shul. I was always conscious of the fact that nothing- NOTHING matched up to what we grew up with. Nothing is like Chazan Chassid's tefillah. We lived in the Shomron for 12 yrs and nothing on the yishuv was for me. We moved to Petach Tikvah about 11 yrs. ago and after about 5 yrs. I met someone (while trying out, yet another minyan) who told me that someone was starting a Carlebach minyan the following wk. I went – hoping maybe this would be what I was looking for.

I was in 7th heaven. I was HOME. I sang my heart out. I closed my eyes and I was back in Derech Emunah and it was 1966, ya know? Red velvet curtain on the mechitza, red carpeting, wooden benches… After the davening 2 or 3 women whom I'd never met approached me and asked me how I know the Carlebach nussach. I told them – I didn't even know these tunes were Carlebach. I grew up with this nussach! When I was a little girl, this was the only davening I knew. For decades I've been trying to recreate this experience. I've finally found it – B"H.

So I called Chaim David right away and told him that I can't believe Mo Chassid put out this disc and I felt so emotional I wanted to cry. I had a house full of guests –all special - and shabbos was over; we'd shared a simcha together in Petach Tikvah and now everyone was gone and it was as if Hashem – no it WAS Hashem sending me a sparkling prize after a beautiful light filled shabbos. Thank you so much for doing this fitting thing in your father's memory. May this and all future projects raise his neshoma ever higher.

Feel free to share this with your family if you think it will warm their hearts.

Shavua tov,
Yes, Old Friend, it will certainly warm their hearts, as it did mine.



Post a Comment

<< Home