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Posts Tagged ‘Peri Smilow’

I was 5 years old in 1969 when several hundred thousand people converged at the Woodstock Festival just 100 miles from where I grew up in New Jersey. Although my family and I were not at the festival, I do remember listening to many of the bands as my sister and I started to develop our own tastes in music. I remember, too, my dad playing Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie records for us, and most of all, I remember listening to the messages.

Forty years have passed since Woodstock and a lot has happened since then. But some of us — about 1400 strong — managed to recapture that peace, love, and harmony through music and art at M’korstock on Sunday, May 31st.

M’korstock, a festival of music, arts, and shalom, was held on Sunday, May 31st throughout the day at Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ . It featured a juried craft show and a variety of musical acts including, but not limited to:

There were so many special moments throughout the day. But for me, one of the highlights of the day was meeting Peri Smilow and singing with her. The M’kor Shalom and Antioch Baptist Church choirs and ensembles had the privilege of singing two songs with Peri on Sunday. One of the songs we were scheduled to sing with Peri was called One Small Step, about the crossing of the Red Sea. But if one listens carefully to the lyrics, one realizes quickly, that the story is not about Moses, but rather, about a simple, ordinary man named Nachshon. During rehearsal, Peri explained to us that the song comes from a midrash that tells us that maybe — just maybe — Moses was a little busy when they left Egypt. When the Israelites reached the Red Sea they had Pharaoh’s Army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. The Israelites were arguing about what to do, when Nachshon took a step forward towards the water. You see, he figured that if Pharaoh’s Army was behind him, then that direction certainly meant going back to slavery. Surely that had to mean that freedom was the other direction. And so Nachshon took One Small Step towards the water. And then another. And then another. Until finally, the water parted and the Israelites escaped to freedom.

The true message of the story, of course, is that change requires that we all take one small step forward. You see, Nachshon is all of us. Peri, if you’re out there and reading this, thank you for reminding us of the importance of taking action.

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