The concert was held in Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, and the featured performer was singer/actor Art Garfunkel, half of the legendary 1960’s iconic duo, Simon and Garfunkel. In a witty tribute to Mr. Garfunkel and Chai Lifeline Canada, Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline International, described the organization as being like “a bridge over troubled water” (the title of one of the most popular songs performed by Simon and Garfunkel).
For the many baby boomers in the audience, time reversed as Garfunkel, despite looking a bit more mature than he did 40 years ago- sang the sweet ballads and songs that have been etched for decades in their hearts and memories. He also recited poetry, interrupting himself to sooth, in a gentle, mellow voice a baby crying in the balcony.
It was no surprise to anyone that Mr. Garfunkel, a father of two, including a six year old, (a ben zekunim) lent his talent and fame for such a worthy cause.
To alleviate the somber mood that goes hand in hand with the word “pediatric cancer,” actor/comedian Elon Gold had the audience in stitches with his sharp wit and humor. In one instance he shared his puzzlement over our reciting,” mah nistana halaylah hazeh?” at the second Seder. Isn’t it exactly like last night? He then expressed his chagrin that the Israelites were baking bread instead of chocolate chip cookies when they suddenly left Egypt. Instead of matzah, he said ruefully, we could have been eating cookie dough!
It was a night of laughter, nostalgia and tears as a video was shown of Chai Lifeline volunteers, figuratively and literally, embracing their young clients and their overwhelmed parents and siblings. The message however was obvious, and inspiring, to all. As these sons and daughters of Yaacov attempt to get away from their own personal Mitzrayim, they will have a life line every step of the way.
(Photos courtesy of Chai Lifeline Canada)