Todah and Shalom

By Lindajoy Fenley

The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble began most of their workshops this year teaching students two words in Hebrew—Shalom, a word meaning hello, goodbye and peace, and todah, thank you.

As the tour comes to an end, I must use both words to bid adieu to six friends who have shared five wonder-filled weeks with me. Todah Talya for insisting we go to pilates and yoga classes and inviting me to a delicious Shakshuka meal in Aberdeen. Todah Aviad for running the trails of Presque Isle and walking along the sacred Wheel of the Sun in Valley City with me. Todah Sefi for telling me about your life quest via Judaism and other spiritual paths. Todah Avri for telling me enough about Jaffa to interest me in going there and for giving me a beautiful Debka Fantasia CD. Todah Evgeny for your smile and cheerfulness as you set up sound equipment for innumerable workshops and five great concerts. Todah Yonnie for your sense of humor. And todah to each and every one of you for sharing your beautiful music and stories of your culture with me as well as the people we met on this tour.

I would also say thank you to each of our local partners who welcomed us to their communities and created the best opportunities for sharing Israeli culture with people of all ages. I don’t have room to list everything they did, but each one went way beyond setting up lodging, receptions and workshops.

Thank you Daniel Truckey for playing your guitar at the dinner you hosted at the Landmark Inn. Thank you Tom Robbins for opening the door to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum for us and for delicious food that included a personalized cake at the reception and an Israeli-style luncheon at the Rotary meeting. Thank you Bernice Wimmer for making sure members of the ensemble had a Halloween experience and bringing homegrown food to a potluck dinner. Thank you Stacy for making the most delicious butternut squash that the ensemble is still raving about, and for inviting us to your pottery class and giving me one of your clay creations. Thank you Wes Anderson, Dr. Madeline Luke and Sharon Buh for orchestrating a delicious Thanksgiving harvest meal and some of the most interesting workshops of the tour.

At the end of this week, the Israeli Ethnic Ensemble flies east and I fly west. I say “Shalom” as a way of saying peace to us all as well as saying goodbye. Should we meet again someday, I’ll say “Shalom” again. It’s a word big enough to mean everything good about our 2010 tour.

Woman walking along a curved path into the sunset.
Tour Manager Lindajoy Fenley heads west at the end of the tour. Photo by Aviad Ben Yehuda.
Group photo
Lindajoy Fenley and Chicago friends Devorah Peltz and Cheryl Cohen with the ensemble in Marquette. Photo by Shigeyo Henriquez.


Beautiful writing, great message!

Lindajoy, thanks so much for your wonderful message. We had the best time with you folks here in Marquette. Your concert was wonderful but getting to know all of you was the best time of all. I encourage the group to come back to America for the summer festival season in the future. I’m sure they would steal every show.

Toda Raba (thank you so much) to you Lindajoy for being there always with us, caring and helping hours and days to make us feel comfortable and welcomed.
thank you so much as well for all beautiful people, hosts and students we were honored to meet.
Special thanks to Arts Midwest incredible crew for an unforgettable cultural experience. we already miss you all.
Shalom and Love from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Todah dear Lindajoy, it was an amazing journey for me, i feel that i learned a lot about many things. i also had a wonderful time with the ensemble and with you. thank you very much for being with me on those wonderful five weeks. hope to see you again soon.

You’re welcome. We all gained so much. Please keep in touch. (via e-mail)

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