I just returned from one of the most special trips around the world. I was traveling through Egypt, Jordan and Israel with my parents and sister. All the stories would fill a novel. I write to you about a very moving part of my trip. Even before crossing the Atlantic, I knew I wanted to leave a note with the names of David Arben’s family at the Western Wall. I wrote them on a small sheet of paper, folded it up and carried it in my jacket pocket, safely next to my passport. When we arrived at the wall in the Old City of Jerusalem I felt nervous, mainly because I wasn’t sure what the traditions were and hoped I wouldn’t do anything “incorrectly”.
Most obvious was the way the wall was organized– to the left were the men and to the right were the women. As I walked towards the wall, I noticed people walking backwards away from the wall. There were many women crowded against the wall. Most were standing, some with their faces in small books, bobbing as they prayed. A woman in front was seated in a chair leaning against the wall, quietly crying. I patiently waited to try and find a spot next to the wall to leave my note. As I reached forward to rest my note on a protruding part of one of the stones I reached above and laid my palm flat on the cold surface. A wash of sadness came over me as I thought of David and his precious family lost during the Holocaust, Abraham, Chaya, Israel, and Zisla. The impact of this experience has fueled me with more wonderful visions for next year’s Music in May in which I will honor my mentor.