«Jewish Observer»
November 2002
5763 Kislev

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A cosy four-storeyed building under a red tiled roof houses the Kiev center for social care "Khesed". That day the house was overcrowded with hundreds of the elderly. Hammer rattling was heard from a second-floor room of a shoemaker. Queues of patients crammed the corridor with doctors' consulting-rooms.

But we were only interested in a "Musical drawing-room". In the corner stands a piano, which master that day became my friend, constructor-architect whose musical abilities appeared a pleasant surprise to me. Five minutes past he began playing the walls seemed to move apart, and a time machine took us to the years of our youth. For me they were post-war years with "Rio-Rita" and "Sun valley serenade", for hoary with age veterans - melodies by Tsfasman, Eddy Kozner and, naturally, Leonid Utesov.

Eyes were burning; legs and hands were beating time. Some couldn't stand it any more and broke into a dance. Then it came to a compere Semen Bruk. A variety performer in his past, he became the life and soul of the party.

The audience turned into a single choir enthusiastically joining in his Odessa songs. Wrinkles on the faces of these people who had survived much smoothed out. Undoubtedly, such "musical therapy" for people of "the golden age" was a wonderful remedy. Such meetings are held daily. Musicologists tell about outstanding works of the Russian and world classics, composers, genres. Performers demonstrate their skills. I was also given the floor. I told about the situation in Israel, about Ukrainian fellowship there. The audience responded with a concerted performing of "Eveinu sholom aleikhem". They, thus, expressed their solidarity with Israel, the country which is now in the focus of the attention of world Jewry.

October 2002

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