Last weekend I met an amazing woman. She is the cantor at the synagogue where my nephew was bar mitzvahed. When she found out we were from Philly, she came over to our table at the luncheon to play ‘Jewish geography’ – she grew up on the ‘main line’ of Philadelphia.
Her contract was ending at the synagogue and she was planning to return to the Philadelphia area and, I assumed, was looking to make some connections. Sure enough in about three minutes I had connected her to a friend, whom I also happen to work with, who grew up down the street from her and went to the same summer camp.
We somehow stumbled upon my distant past in publishing and she said, “I am looking to go into publishing myself.” I asked what part of publishing -- being that from my now-distant point of view there doesn't seem to be much left of it -- and she said (completely matter-of-factly) “my husband has stage 4 lung cancer; I started writing a memoir about living with cancer when he was in remission. I probably should have finished it then so it would have had a happy ending, but I didn't and now I’m looking for a publisher.” I said I still had the odd connection in publishing world and if she needed helping getting her manuscript into the hands of a publisher I would try to help. She said she had a friend that was an agent but took my card and said she would reach out if she needed help.
Not knowing what else to say, I asked if she would be looking for work as a cantor in Philly, she said she didn't know what she was going to do, she just wanted to sing. In that short time we made a genuine connection. Later that night,I found her on the dance floor and we danced as if nothing else in the world mattered and I truly believe for that small moment it didn't.