Todah and Shalom
By Lindajoy Fenley
The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble began most of their workshops this year teaching students two words in Hebrew—Shalom, a word meaning hello, goodbye and peace, and todah, thank you.
As the tour comes to an end, I must use both words to bid adieu to six friends who have shared five wonder-filled weeks with me. Todah Talya for insisting we go to pilates and yoga classes and inviting me to a delicious Shakshuka meal in Aberdeen. Todah Aviad for running the trails of Presque Isle and walking along the sacred Wheel of the Sun in Valley City with me. Todah Sefi for telling me about your life quest via Judaism and other spiritual paths. Todah Avri for telling me enough about Jaffa to interest me in going there and for giving me a beautiful Debka Fantasia CD. Todah Evgeny for your smile and cheerfulness as you set up sound equipment for innumerable workshops and five great concerts. Todah Yonnie for your sense of humor. And todah to each and every one of you for sharing your beautiful music and stories of your culture with me as well as the people we met on this tour.
I would also say thank you to each of our local partners who welcomed us to their communities and created the best opportunities for sharing Israeli culture with people of all ages. I don’t have room to list everything they did, but each one went way beyond setting up lodging, receptions and workshops.
Thank you Daniel Truckey for playing your guitar at the dinner you hosted at the Landmark Inn. Thank you Tom Robbins for opening the door to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum for us and for delicious food that included a personalized cake at the reception and an Israeli-style luncheon at the Rotary meeting. Thank you Bernice Wimmer for making sure members of the ensemble had a Halloween experience and bringing homegrown food to a potluck dinner. Thank you Stacy for making the most delicious butternut squash that the ensemble is still raving about, and for inviting us to your pottery class and giving me one of your clay creations. Thank you Wes Anderson, Dr. Madeline Luke and Sharon Buh for orchestrating a delicious Thanksgiving harvest meal and some of the most interesting workshops of the tour.
At the end of this week, the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble flies east and I fly west. I say “Shalom” as a way of saying peace to us all as well as saying goodbye. Should we meet again someday, I’ll say “Shalom” again. It’s a word big enough to mean everything good about our 2010 tour.