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So I’m sitting here in the B and B hotel in Lille with Kevin watching a heavy metal music video in which the screaming vocalist is belting “America! America!” while pictures of war and death and consumerism and dirt flash by the screen.  Yikes.  

It isn’t the most perfect place in the world, but I do miss out cozy apartment in Prospect Heights.  All this driving, hotel, gig and repeat is very taxing on the body, mind and soul, though it is also fun and exciting in it’s own way.  It has been incredible meeting people from all over the country here and gaining different perspectives on life, music, food and anything else we might discuss.

Right now, we’re in Lille, north of France, after playing a gig at the University here.  Jeremy left on Friday, but we are continuing on for two more shows without him.  We stayed in Lille for Shabbat.  Luckily, I found out that the shul and Jewish community here was only a 15 minute walk from our hotel so I was able to coordinate with the Rabbi there to go to services and eat meals with him.  

When I first stepped inside the shul I was stunned.  it was a mammoth structure from the mid 1800s with beautiful stained glass, ornate wooden seats and an Aron Kodesh that was simply stunning.  It was truly a synagogue that only could have been designed 150 years ago.  While I didn’t understand most of what people said, the davening was very nice and the community very warm.  For dinner, I went with two other guests, an Israeli computer engineer in Lille on business and a Parisian businessman who wasn’t able to make it back home before Shabbat, to Rabbi Dahan’s.  The Rabbi is Lubavitch, and I think he began working at the shul around 20 years ago.  The dinner was extremely lovely, and the communication was fascinating as we were switching between French, English and Hebrew for most of the meal.

The following day, I went back to the shul and they had a lunch kiddush where the whole congregation stayed after services to eat.  The food was very different in some ways to what one might find at a new york kiddush, but the herring and cholent were still there, and that’s really what ties us all together, right?

That evening, we played the show at a small theater in the University, a venue they call L’Antre Deux.  Being our first show as a trio, certain things we different, but felt really great nonetheless.  I think a lot of the audience was a little surprised at the show, as a number of people from the shul had come, perhaps expecting something more traditional.  But it was a really nice change from the clubs we were playing, and I’m very happy we got to play there.

Now, it’s 2am (really 1am, as the clocks are changing) and we get on the road at 9am for our final show in V’al D’ajol.  For this show, Yves Weyh, accordion player from the band Zakarya is going to play with us as Jeremy’s sub.  Can’t wait to hear what that sounds like!

Bonsoir!

yoshie and pitom

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