Fly, thought, on wings of gold

In my senior year of high school they canceled our class trip. In response, my mother made plans for me to go to join dear family friends for a trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland. So I was off to Milan with my mother, Jacob Laufer, a classmate, and his father Igor. Igor a world-renowned radiologist had a conference in Davos. While the Duomo, the Last SupperLa Scala, and the Alps were all very impressive, the highlight of the trip was our visit to the synagogue in Milan. When we got there they did not want to let us in because we did not have papers to prove that I was Jewish. I clearly did not have anything on me in that there is no eruv in Milan, but I wanted to go to services.( I guess it was already in the cards that I was going to be a Rabbi)  After I motioned that I was about to unzip my pants, the guard let us enter. (OK a rather unorthodox Orthodox Rabbi)

The synagogue was everything you would expect in Italy. They served little pizzas for kiddush. But the highlight of the trip was sitting next to Igor. He loved hazzanut as much as he loved the opera, and he did love his opera. So in the middle of the Mussaf service he turned to me with elation. Igor said, ” I am not saying who took it from whom, but the nusach is the same as  Va, pensiero, The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, by Giuseppe Verdi the famous 19th century composer from Milan”. It was a great moment to be able to see how the whole world can truly fit together if you are open enough to take it all in.

This last week marked the passing of a great man. Dr. Igor Laufer z’l was a lover of science, art, family,and community. Igor will be missed. I feel like it is a fitting goodbye to share with you a quote from The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves:

Fly, thought, on wings of gold;
go settle upon the slopes and the hills,
where, soft and mild, the sweet airs
of our native land smell fragrant!

And to his family we say:

HaMakom yenachem et’chem b’toch shar avay’lay Tzion vee’Yerushalayim. -May the Omnipresent comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


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