Sunday, October 04, 2009


Wanna hear a nice story? I mean a really nice story? Of course you do!

About a month ago I got an e-mail from a lady named Donna. Now, my very oldest and one of my very best friends is Donna, but she goes by Sydonia. So, it couldn't be her. Besides, the first sentence of the email went something like this: "Hi, Marallyn, my son Lee is coming to Israel..."

God forgive me, but that is where I stopped reading, and thought Oh no! Another teenager on his way for a week or two in the Holy Land and I don't think I even know this kid.

Anyway, I continued to read--and lucky I did. You ready for this? Donna went on to say that her son Lee was being flown into the country to do the sound for the Leonard Cohen concert and was I interested in two tickets if he could get them for me.

Have I got your attention yet?

OHMYGOD! Who is this Donna and how did she find me and is this a prank like 'Guess what Marallyn, this is your lucky day. Your name has been picked from a gazillion people and if you only phone this number in the Netherlands, you will receive a swimming pool filled with money.' You know about those emails. I am ashamed to admit that once I really did phone that number. Sigh.

But, then Donna went on to say that she was really sorry that I couldn't make it a few years ago to the Walkerville Reunion. Walkerville? My high school? I remembered that Guy emailed me from California to tell me about it. And then I remembered that he told me about a 'kid' from his class, Donna somethingorother, who was helping to organize it!

That Donna! Guy's Donna! And she has a kid! And he lives in Nashville ( I forgot to mention that part). And he's being flown in to do the sound for the Leonard Cohen concert in Ramat Gan!

And do I want two tickets? DO I WANT TWO TICKETS?

Let me back up a second. I did not want a ticket to see kid, Joe College went to see her with the cheap ticket of 500 shekels. The Golden Ring tickets went for 2, 500 a seat!!!

I didn't want to see any of those guys. Well, maybe Elton John a few years ago. BUT LEONARD COHEN?

Both my friend Rena and I wanted to go and I did phone the ticket place but was informed that within 24 hours all the tickets were gone.

Friends, we are talking about 50,000 tickets...sold out in 24 hours and now a lady Donna has a son Lee who can get me tickets, if I am interested!!!

I quickly phoned Guy in California and he is still in contact with Donna from ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DAYS...and yes she is real and yes she is an amazing person.

I have not heard her voice in 47 years! Maybe even a year or two longer than that! This is not an old school chum or a family member who I've been in close contact with.

THIS IS A VERY VERY SPECIAL LADY...who, when her son came home to renew his passport and told her where he was going, somehow remembered that she has an old schoolmate who lives in Israel and maybe this woman would be interested in seeing the concert.

I wrote Donna and told her that, whether or not the tickets come through, the gift had already been given. I mean that. I am still breathless from this story.

I phoned Rena and told her to keep Sept. 24th open as we may have tickets to the...You could hear her shout in Tel Aviv!

In the meantime, Donna and I began exchanging emails and bringing each other up-to-date on what has been going on in our lives the past nearly fifty years! She still lives in Windsor, and I am planning to be back this summer. I cannot wait to meet her again in person.

The day before the concert I got an email from Lee that two tickets would be waiting for me and that the concert starts at 7:45 but we should be there a bit early.

Rena and I left at 3 in the afternoon. She has no sense of direction...I have no sense of direction. She called people...I phoned people...and we sort of knew how to get there.

Now you should know it is less than an hour's drive from Jerusalem, but we were going to hit rush hour traffic, get lost, and have to find a place to park along with 49,998 people!

We did get lost. A nice lady said, 'Follow me' and like the Jews wandering around in the desert, her headlights were like a pillar of fire escorting us to the Ramat Gan Stadium.

We got there! Now we had to park. Right next to the stadium is a mall and we started serpentining through the lanes looking for an open space. I didn't know if those parked were already at the stadium or shoppers getting in some last minute shopping before Yom Kippur on Sunday.

Finally we found a space and were about to move in when a lady with a cell phone at her ear informed us that she had this space and was calling her husband to direct him to where she was standing. Then, I noticed a bunch of other women with open cell phones running after people holding keys and walking to their cars. Within moments I saw a family walk to a car in front of us and before I had a chance to say anything to Rena, I jumped out of the car and stood my ground in front of this new space.

Ok. So, now we are in the right place...we have parked the car...we have almost three hours till the concert. The next question was, do we go inside the mall and use the facilities and maybe grab something quick to eat...or do we figure out how to get to the stadium and find our tickets.

Hands down we went to the stadium. I phoned Lee and he sounded like such a nice man. He had little time as they were doing all the last minute things that have to be done before a huge concert like this and the sound is the most important element. He phoned me back a few minutes later and told me where to wait for the tickets.

Just before the performance, the COMPLIMENTARY V.I.P. TICKETS arrived. While we were waiting we saw a sign that was posted informing late comers that there were still a few seats available on the grass from rows 100 till 200 and were going for a thousand shekels a seat!!!

Our tickets came. WE WERE IN ROW 31!!!

We made our way up into the stadium and Lee called to find out if we had the tickets and where we were seated. Ten minutes later there he was!!! What a very handsome, young man with eyes that sparkled and a smile that came from his heart. I couldn't stop hugging him and thanking him. His answer was, 'My pleasure. After all, you're family!'

That was the first time my eyes filled with tears that evening. But, not the last.

I do not know if I have the vocabulary to tell you what happened during the next three and a half hours. Nothing fancy. No fireworks, no people flying through the sky, no tricks.

Just a 75 year old man, wearing a dark suit and a hat. And a voice. And the sound that Lee had perfected which travelled over the 50,000 people in such a way that we could hear every strum of each guitar...every whispered if he was sitting next to us in our living room.

One of the banks, Discount Bank put a zippered bag on each chair. Inside were a pillow and a flare. For the next three and a half hour those flares didn't stop moving. The stadium was alive.

I must stop here for one second, to say that Israeli audiences are wonderful audiences. I've been to many concerts and plays and I've always been amazed at just how receptive, responsive and intelligent the Israeli audience is.

But nothing was like what happened that night. Israel welcomed one if her own back and he thanked us by blessing us...with his voice...his songs...his love...and finally the Priestly Blessing that only a Cohen(priest) can perform.

I will never ever forget that evening. It was perfect. Just simply perfect. And I was lucky enough to be sitting there sharing and participating in one of the most exciting evenings this country has ever witnessed.

All because of a lady who remembered that she once went to school with a girl who now lives in Jerusalem!

The world can't be a bad place if people like Donna and Lee are part of it.

Thank you. Thank you so very very very much.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A truly wonderful story! ~Miriam

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Your joy and exaltation screamed from this post, and well it should. There is a God in Heaven who blesses us and knows where we are every moment of every day.

Where have you been? Why haven't you been posting? I was getting concerned about you. Missed you.

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous gayle said...

Wonderful story...I'm happy you're in my village.


At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Debby Stollman said...

What a Beautiful Story.

Chag Samayach! Moadim L'simcha.
Love, Debby

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Romie said...

Great story!

Leonard Cohen played in Antwerp a few months ago. We had tickets, bought 3-4 months earlier. A few days before the concert, my son, Michael (who is a lawyer & lives a half-hour south of San Francisco) telephoned me from India (where he was 'on business') saying - guess what?! - "I'm stopping over for 3 nights in Brussels, on my way home!" - And we've got Leonard Cohen tickets! (18,000 in Antwerp filled the joint & it was long ago sold out.) Anyhow, to make a long story short, we bought Mike a scalper ticket (seated in Yehupitz, but 'in'), & he then located a seat 2 rows, directly behind us!

What a great concert! One of my best three ever! (Along with Louis Armstrong, at a small nightclub in Winnipeg, in the late '50s - with my then teenage girlfriend, and Charles Aznavour, at Olympia in Paris - & he brought the house down.)

We're going to Toronto on Oct. 12th & will be back on Oct. 23rd. Very much looking forward to being 'home'!


At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if THAT isn't a warm sukkot fuzzy! :-)

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Judy Balint said...

Way to go Marallyn!! Awesome story!! I have friends here who are cousins of Leonard and who were supposed to get comps. but didn;t come through in the end...

Moadim l'simcha

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Neshie said...

What a wonderful story! It is so interesting how many turns our lives take and the unexpected and teriffic events that take place. I wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy New Year and look forward to seeing you in the summer. Love, Neshie

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Sharon said...

A delightful, terrifically written piece. Lucky for you, I don't live there. Then, you would have had to choose between Rena and me. As it is, you now have two offspring and one mate slightly pissed because you didn't take THEM.

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Ruth said...

DEAR Marallyn
And it couldn't have happened to a nicer person!
Please may I post this to my friends list?
Thank you for considering my request...
Moadim lesimcha aka chag sameach and shana TOVA

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

Great story. We have to keep bridges open! You never know who wants to cross them.

Love, Karen

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Lovey said...


At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Darlene said...

Great story Marallyn...thanks for sharing!!

At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Rky said...

Great story! Aren't people amazing!
Glad you had this opportunity.
take care....stay safe and at peace!

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Sandra said...

I felt like I was the one going to the concert because of your excitement. God is good!!!


At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Hedy said...

"Marallyn, I read this story, and then read it out loud to Colleen... almost felt like I was there with you at the concert! Amazing... and a blessing just to read the love and gratitude you felt that evening! Can't wait to meet you in person this summer!!!"

At 2:56 AM, Anonymous Tanti Ruthi said...

What a wonderful story--not surprising as growing up in Windsor--it would not be unusual. I could tell you so many, many similar stories of how people in Windsor were--especially your grandparents and your mom--Love Tanti

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous David said...

Marallyn. Gorgeous! What a blessed life you lead. Leonard Cohen and Marallyn Ben Moshe in the same stadium. Two great Canadians! Two real human beings. Love David

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous harry said...

What a great story!!
Love your emails, Marallyn

At 3:04 AM, Anonymous Sydonia said...

leonard cohen scheduled here October 25, at the Allen theatre, downtown, one of the smaller theaters in the playhouse square complex---being "historical" and Canadian may diminish his right to the large sports complex like "The 'Q' " where the current bigger names appear---glad you enjoyed the concert and had such a great story to go along with it----our home town keeps appearing in our lives----never did go to the
Walkerville reunion but Elaine Price worked with it ( I thought )----can't connect who "Donna" may be and haven't spoken with Elaine since the spring---nice to hear Guy is staying in contact.---nice to see you back on your blog again---love ya

At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Avivit said...

"Marallyn, Wow! this is an amazing story! I'm so happy for you...we felt bad we missed his concert In Israel but luckily he is coming to Philadelphia soon! I hope we will enjoy it as much as you did... Big kiss to you and to everyone. Shana Tova:)"

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous Sharon Hochberg said...

if you happen to be in touch with donna again, marallyn, please give her my regards (if she remembers me). we lived on the same block gazillion years ago. not only that, she wore my gorgeous dress from my sweet sixteen when she was crowned the very first miss windsor.

At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Jonny Hass said...

A great story and an even better story telling. I felt like I was in row 31!!!

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

Suzanne takes me down...

At 2:45 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

Thanks for relaying that story so wonderfully, Marallyn. I'm glad you had the wonderful opportunity to experience this historical musical event. People do not forget wonderful people, right, Donna?

At 6:45 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

dear everyone...thank you so much for your wonderful comments and kind words about my means a lot to me...chag sameach...stay m


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