Had lunch today with my parents and the previous cantor at Beth El, Emil Berkovits, who's in town because he performed a wedding last night. Emilio moved on from Omaha, what, five years back, I think, and semi-retired to Florida. He and his wife now live in Swampscott, MA (which is just a great name for a town) where he's cantor of a surprisingly (to me) large Jewish population.
Here is a fairly old (I can tell because of the hat) picture of the two of us. I have no idea when this was taken or for what occasion, though it looks like it was taken in my kitchen. Part of me wants to say it was taken around the time of my sister's wedding six years ago, but for some reason I think it's older than that.
Always did like Emilio. He and my father have stayed in touch since he left town, and I've seen him a few times since then. I half-jokingly told him that I hadn't been to the synagogue since he left, in protest. Half-jokingly because, odds are, I wouldn't have gone very often had he still been here, but the chances would have been greater, that's for sure.
Ever since Emilio left, and the old rabbi, too, I dunno, the synagogue doesn't feel the same anymore. I don't know any of the new people, which is certainly my own fault as much as anyone's, but, I dunno, I guess I don't like the idea of starting over at my own synagogue. For as long as I can remember, Emilio was there. He helped me with my Bar Mitzvah, like he'd done with my brother's and sister's, too. He was there for my sister's wedding. And then he left and the place just didn't feel as inviting as it used to.
But, oh well. That's life, right? Things change.