Sunday, January 4, 2015

Letter to the Sunshine State

Dear Florida,

My mother visited you only a handful of times during her life.  Before her first visit (for a URJ Biennial in Orlando, I believe), she told a friend that she was going to Florida for the first time to which her friend responded, “Are you sure you’re Jewish?!”

Like my mom, I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I’ve been to see you.   My first visit was a business trip to Fort Lauderdale (in August!) in the mid-1980s.  Early in this century, I passed through Jacksonville a few times, mostly because it has the closest airport to Jekyll Island, GA, where, for several years, my parents spent a part of each winter.  In 2011 and again in 2012, I attended a conference in Orlando, but never even played hooky to check out the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.  Some tourist, huh?

What I wouldn’t give to be coming to visit you now.  But not just for your sunshine and warm weather.

On Saturday, January 10, you’ll be hosting the 2015 Winter JewishMusic Concert in Miami.  That night, for the seventh time in as many years, more than a dozen musicians from throughout the country will gather in the historic Bertha Abess Sanctuary at Temple Israelof Greater Miami to perform Jewish music, including Ladino, Israeli, Yiddish, and Sephardic tunes in a variety of styles from cantorial and classic to Klezmer, jazz, pop, and folk.

Hundreds of tickets have already been sold and fewer than 100 still are available.  They can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-838-3006.  I guess the rest of us will have to settle for live streaming of the event. (Tune in here on Saturday at 8 p.m.)

I presume that’s how, once again, I’ll watch this year’s concert.  But maybe next year, Florida, I’ll make it to Miami to visit with you and to take in the event live and in-person from a seat in the sanctuary.  I sure hope that’s how it plays out.  In the meantime, though, I hope you enjoy the events in Miami this coming Saturday night.

Your “Jersey Girl” friend,