The New Millennium: 1979 until present
The New Millennium
Since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked Rev. Jesse Jackson to start “Operation Breadbasket” as a subsidiary to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Chicago, I had been a frequent attendee at their meetings and stayed on after Rev. Jackson changed the organization into Operation PUSH (People to Save Humanity)Over the years, I participated from time to time in boycotts and marches and became very active in Jesse Jackson’s two Presidential campaigns. In more recent years, Operation PUSH joined with the Rainbow Coalition and is now called the Rainbow/PUSH coalition. Since 1997 I have represented Community Insurance Center at every Saturday meeting of the International Trade Bureau of RPC, usually attending the weekly Broadcast Forum as well and I have traveled twice to New York for their Wall Street Project and attended conferences in Chicago.
In my private life, I have always enjoyed music. As a child, I took piano and violin lessons -I didn’t get very far with the piano but I became quite proficient with the Violin and added Viola when my High School music teacher needed that instrument in the School Orchestra and I played in quartets and the orchestra. For my 13th birthday my parents gave me a ticket to a concert by Yehudi Menuhin who was just one year older than I and from that day on I have seen and heard every great classical musician of the last century. Among them come to mind Fritz Kreisler, Mischa Elman, Artur Rubinstein, Wladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifetz, Pablo Casals, Marian Anderson and so many others, too numerous to mention them all, I also had the privilege over the years to listen to many of the greatest composers of our time conducting their own works, among them Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Aram Katchaturian and many others; I listened to such eminent conductors as Klemens Krauss, Arturo Toscanini, Erich Leinsdorf, Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Artur Rodzinski, Claudio Abbado, Carlo Maria Giulini and obviously Sir Georg Solti and Daniel Barenboim. I have subscribed to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for more than 30 years and to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra more than 55 years. This is where these unforgettable memories come from. At the opera I have heard just about every great singer of our times.
In Sports, too, I have been very active. As a young fellow, I was given Fencing lessons and became good enough to win a tournament. During the Nazi years I even became a fencing instructor at a Jewish Sports Club in Berlin. I was a better than average sprinter and long jumper and I was a good Club tennis player. As I grew older I became more of a spectator than a participant. Over the years I was fortunate to meet such Sports celebrities as Ernie Banks of the Cubs, Muhammad Ali, the aforementioned Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis, whom I got to know quite well. Two sports events I attended deserve special mention: I was present at one of the baseball games during which Joe Di Maggio made a hit while working on his record-breaking streak and I was in Indianapolis for the 1992 Olympic Track and Field trials when Florence “FloJo”Joyner broke the World Record in the 100 meter dash.
I had the fortune to do a lot of traveling, mostly on cruises, all over the world. At last count, I have visited 55 countries. On some of these cruise ships I met such personalities as Jimmy Cagney, Vincent Price, President Eisenhower’s son John and numerous others.
Well, as you have seen by now, I am a Name Dropper of the first rank only in my case I can document that these encounters really happened. And I haven’t even mentioned that I became well acquainted with Julian Bond, Redd Foxx, Lena Horne, Helen Hayes, Nancy Wilson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and… and … had enough?
You know I am a very happy fellow and maybe now you can appreciate why. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard so much that I think I can leave you with three exhortations: 1) Always live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you! 2) Don’t use the worst word in the English language: “THE” in connection with Races, Nationalities, Religions etc. Don’t ever say “The Poles” “The Irish” “The Jews,” etc. There are many wonderful people in all ranks and it is unfair to put them all in one group. 3) Help to influence your family, your friends, your congregation, your business associates, your neighbors and anyone you come across to stop emphasizing the things that are different between us and other religions, races and nationalities. Let us stress the fact that the similarities are much more prevalent than the differences, which only lead to war, riots, conflagrations and from there to poverty and famine. We are all children of the Almighty- all Brothers and Sisters- Let’s not forget it.