Monday, May 30, 2011

Radio Waves

I had the opportunity to appear on the radio twice last week. Both shows were broadcast yesterday. I talked about how my upbringing affected my life on Judy Simon's show Lifestyles on Israel National Radio:
We spoke for more than an hour, and the time flew by. Judy edited the show down to whatever length Arutz 7 Radio needs, and while some stories hit the cutting room floor, the show ran smoothly and was really fun to listen to. Judy did a great job!
And I talked about the Raise Your Spirits Theatre Company, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary, and our celebratory appearance in Jerusalem on June 12 at the Gerard Behar Theater. (Tickets through Bimot, 629-8061,, 02-623-7000.)
That broadcast on Rusty Mike Radio of the AACI was a real radio experience. Together JUDGE!'s music director Gayle Berman and I sat with radio earphones on our head to block out any outside noise, and we chatted with radio host Rafi Poch, who is also a theater director.
Overexcited and speaking without any notes (I didn't know radio people have notes - no wonder they can just keep talking without pregnant pauses), I forgot two important details about Raise Your Spirits. The details are actually people - composers. I should have (and would have, if I had notes) told the listeners that Raise Your Spirits first original show, ESTHER and the Secrets of the King's Court, had music by Rivka Hatten. And our subsequent productions were musically composed and arranged by Mitch Clyman of Muso Productions. Rivka's and Mitch's music brought to life the words written by Toby Klein Greenwald, Arlene Chertoff and myself.
They are brilliant, sensitive people, and it was a pleasure to work with them.

A Quiet Place

Judy really did a great editing job on her show, because she let me sound faddiddled, which I definitely was when she said the words, "Let's welcome Sharon Katz...."
I had been in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital visiting my brother, who was recovering B"H well from surgery, when I had to find a quiet place for our interview.
The head nurse on my brother's floor was so lovely, and offered me the therapy room, which she said would be empty for the next hour. I went into the room, set up a chair and sat quietly, patiently and comfortably, waiting for the phone to ring. Suddenly someone came in to get bandages. In the next room, one nurse called out to another. The cleaning man clopped around. I realized that this was no quiet place at all.
And since the phone was going to ring in just a minute, I had to find another place. I ran, R-A-N, from porch to porch looking for a quiet spot. On one porch patients were chatting. On another, folks were smoking. On another, workmen were clanging nearby.
I ran to the other side of the building, looking for a hallway, an alcove. I was ready to close myself in a broom closet. The nurses wouldn't let me.
I went to the Administration Offices and begged to sit anywhere, even in their copy machine room. No, sorry, someone might need to make a copy.
I was racing through the hallways of Shaarei Tzedek frantically when I saw my daughter's friend Sarah Beth, a bat sherut (national service volunteer) at the hospital. I almost fell on to her. "Sarah Beth, Sarah Beth, I'm so happy to see you. I'm going on the radio in just seconds and I can't find a quiet place in this entire hospital for the entire. Can you help me find one?" Immediately she found me the perfect spot. Thank you, Sarah Beth.
No sooner did I sit down and wipe my brow, then the phone rang and I was on the air.
It's amazing I knew my own name at that point.

Wish I Could Have Said...

The interview was very lively. Judy asked great questions, and one of the reasons that she's so terrific on the radio is that she's interested in her guest and relates to the conversation in real time.
I spoke about my childhood and some of my projects today.
I would have spoken about more. All good projects need some promotion.
Judy edited the show for length, and added in some segways after our taping.
When I listened back to the show last night, I heard her say something like, "So, you had a Jewish school education and then how did you end up where you are?" Or something like that.
Either it flew by me, or Judy edited the comment in later so that we could continue to the next topic. But if I had rightly heard it, I would have changed my answer completely.
I did not have a formal Jewish day school education. Yes, I went to Hebrew School and later to Hebrew High School, but I did not attend Jewish day school.
I was raised in a modern Orthodox home with all the suburban touches. Besides the Jewish upbringing I had at home, my real Torah education (Tanach, halacha) came from a child. Well, maybe she wasn't a child, but she was younger than I by two years.
I grew up in a brand new neighborhood where houses were added day by day. My best friend was my Rabbi's daughter, Chaya Sara Jungreis.
I went to public school and Chaya Sara went to TAG (Torah Academy for Girls). We played together and hung around together, and Chaya Sara taught me the Torah lessons she had learned during school at TAG. She was my first Torah teacher, and she was fabulous. She still teaches today in New York City at the Hineni Heritage Center. Everyone who attends her classes for Wisdom Wednesdays is surely inspired by her deep knowledge and warm caring heart.
Since my second home was that of Rabbi Meshulem Jungreis, ztz'l, and may she have a long life Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, their influence on me was life-changing. Their Torah teachings and way of life were a pivotal part of my life.
Chaya Sara and her parents were three of the people, who in addition to my grandmother, o'h, gave me a burning love of Torah. They influenced me to keep the mitzvot with great care. I remember when I came back from my first semester away in university. The Rebbetzin called me over in a loud voices, "Come here, Sarah Leah. Open your mouth. I want to make sure that no treif had entered there."
And you can be sure, I was superduper careful from then on about everything, even when I was away from home.
When I returned to New York to study closer to home, I also attended Hineni School, which was a weekly Bible class, given by Rebbetzin Jungreis. I learned there for many years and even met my husband there (with a push from the Rebbetzin and her beloved father, Zayde, ztz'l).
An important part of the foundation of my belief and love of Torah came from the inspiration I found thanks to Chaya Sara and her parents.
If you live in New York, your life will be enriched if you attend classes at the Hineni Heritage Center, .

My thanks to Judy Simon and Rafi Poch for inviting me to their shows. It's fun to think someone in Hoboken or Kalamazoo or right next door is listening over those radio waves.

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