Last night I was honored to be part of a glorious event and a testament to one family's love. I've worked for the last three years with Betzalel. Off and on, while making lunch in the kitchen or grabbing a coffee, we've chatted about our families, our backgrounds and our passions. Betzalel has often asked how Stella is doing and has followed Yarden and Stella's story closely.
A number of months ago, while in the kitchen, Betzalel very quickly mentioned that his mother's cancer had returned. Tiptoeing around the topic, I asked a few questions, asked for her Hebrew name and told him that they would all be in my prayers. Awhile later, beaming, Betzalel said to me, "Romi, you know how Yarden has done these bike races in honor of Stella's recovery? Well, we are doing our bike race in May. But we don't bike. We sing."
And he explained that he and his five siblings would be putting on a musical performance in honor of their mother's recovery. He invited me to attend and I promised I would. While I knew that I would only know two people in the entire room and the performance would be over an hour away in Petach Tikva....and that it would conclude much past my bedtime...there was no decision to be made. I would be there.
The performance was last night, and it far exceeded any expectations that I could have had. First of all, this family can sing. And I mean really sing. I can't imagine what their Shabbat table is like. They selected a medley of songs that included Disney, Hebrew music, playful selections, and more. There were solo numbers by Betzalel, his 3 year old son (how adorable was that?), his sisters and even his father.
Now these six siblings are all grown. They all have their own lives, their own children, jobs and obligations. But they got together weekly to practice and prepare, to get ready to show their outpouring of love for their mother.
And they put everything they had into the performances. They filled the 300 seat auditorium with family, friends and co-workers and had everything from lighting and sound equipment to tickets, playbills and professional videography.
At the beginning of the performance, Betzalel's brother explained to the audience that their family motto while growing up was to stick together. Family, they were taught, needs to be there for each other no matter what.
And they certainly learned that lesson. As the evening drew to a close, Betzalel's father sang a love ballad to his mother. And I believe we all cried.
And as the evening ending with an incredible rendition of "One Day More" from Les Miserables, I was left stunned, uplifted and awed. I have, unfortunately, been surrounded by quite a good deal of cancer stories in the last few years, and particularly in the last few months. And while the cancer is overwhelmingly devastating and certainly leaves the victim and those who love her feeling helpless, I have been truly overwhelmed and inspired to see what people DO in these situations. And how they show their expression of love and how they take control of the aspects of their lives that they can to do good and to bring positive results.
The evening, by the way, raised over 20,000 shekels for two organizations that help breast cancer patients and others in need. As Betzalel's mom said during the evening, the focus on charity, prayer and good deeds are supposed to help to bring about a complete recovery.
Certainly, this night encompassed all three. May Hashem hear this family's prayers, see their charity and witness their incredible good deeds in the merit of a compete recovery for their elegant and beautiful mother.