The Voice Heard Round The World
‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Hans Christian Andersen
I love to be able to travel when I am home. I watch The Voice. Reality TV and coffee are my vices. If you happen to live under a rock, it is a singing competition with celebrity judges. I love the Blind Auditions where the judges have to pick their team by hearing them. The audition is the only reality TV that we have left. You can’t fake an audition. You are actually watching someone vulnerable who’s life can be changed. I like seeing new talent emerge.
One night I was trying to catch up on some auditions, and I came across videos of blind auditions from The Voice Around The World. I was hooked. I’m obsessed with the Italian and the French judges. The Ukrainians and the Russians love heavy metal music and they like to make comments. The Voice originated in Holland. I have no idea who any of these judges are. I watch the British version now as well. Here are my favorite auditions in no particular order. One is a battle round.
italy, France, Germany, Australia, Ukraine, UK, China, Russia, Holland, Poland.
Music always makes me feel that we are more the same than different.
Yad Vashem, Holocaust Memorial, Jerusalem
“A country is not just what it does – it is also what it tolerates.’
Kurt Tucholsky (quote on the wall as you enter)
Yad Vashem is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial. I had been here many years ago. I knew what to expect. I went again now because I am going to visit Auschwitz in the spring. It was a winter weekday afternoon and the museum was not as crowded as usual. No photos are allowed. I knew what to expect and yet I was once again newly affected by the inhumanity of systematic cruelty.
The Holocaust History Museum was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, and occupies over 4,200 square meters. This museum takes you on a journey through in-depth displays telling the story of the Holocaust. There is a ten and half hour guided audio tour. You choose what you want to listen to. In many cases, the photos are enough.
Yad Vashem, means “a place and a name” in Hebrew and comes from the Book of Isaiah. It refers to the millions who were not given the dignity of a Jewish burial with a specified burial plot.
The chilling Hall of Names is a memorial to each and every Jew who perished in the Holocaust, housing an extensive collection of over two million “Pages of Testimony” – short biographies of each Holocaust victim, with room for six million in all.
Yad Vashem also recognizes and honors a number of non-Jewish people who helped save Jews during this bleak period. These heroes are called The Righteous Among The Nations.
The Children’s Memorial is located in an underground cave, enveloping you in darkness.
As your eyes adjust, you can make out flames of light representing the 1.5 million children who died during the Holocaust.
Recorded voices call out the names and ages of these innocent souls. A few days later there is another school killing spree in the United States.
I return to the hotel. On Israeli news that day, they report that Poland has passed a law making it a criminal offence to suggest that “the Polish nation” was in any way responsible for the murder of six million Jews. I spent a long time in the Polish section of the museum as I will be going to those places. There were photos of Polish people “colluding” and stories of Jews being reported by their neighbors. Three million Jews died in Poland – more than any other country.
It is impossible to visit the Holocaust Museum at Yad Vashem and not be moved, horrified and ashamed. How does this story relate to the present? It began with words, indifference and silence. Indifference and inaction never help the victims. It is our responsibility to speak for the children, the elderly, the abused women, the poor and the refugees. “Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he or she has saved an entire universe.”
Twenty-Five That I Want to Do In 2018
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula Le Guin
Mediate every day. Maybe if I write it first I will have more luck.
Do More Yoga. Maybe if I write it second……
Go to Auschwitz.
Go To Poland.
Do a street art tour in Kraków.
See the Schindler factory.
Go to the Galápagos..
Read at least twenty books.
Follow a healthy diet.
Spend some time in London.
Peace in the house.
Go to the Warsaw Ghetto.
Go somewhere in Scandinavia.
Go To Israel.
Pay it forward.
Cook something besides eggs.
Work on being fearless.
See the sunset on the beach every day when I am home.
Sail through Peruvian or Ecuadorian Amazon.
Go to beaches of Los Organos and Vichayito, Peru.
Walk my dog every day.
Be more politically active.
Spend time with my god-daughter in Tel Aviv.
Do the Graffiti tour of Tel Aviv.
Go to Garachico, Tenerife.
Happy New Year and Fly Safe,
Countries My Friends And Family Have Emigrated From To America.
“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire
Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.
Growing up in New York, with immigrant grandparents, the Statue of Liberty meant something. “Tell us the story of when your parents saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time again” we asked. My mother would say that to her parents and many like them, the statue meant freedom to live in a country where you could be whatever you wanted to be. America was the place to go to flee from oppression, racism, class-ism and poverty. We understood that it was something special to be born in a country with ideals like that.
America is not perfect. We have racism and poverty. But that doesn’t destroy the dreams it was built on. Millions of people came to America to build a better life for themselves and for their families and still do to this day.
On the Statue of Liberty, there are words I know so well: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” That’s the spirit that made me feel like an American. I wouldn’t be here without that philosophy.
Twenty-Five Things That I Want To Do In 2017
“The moment you put a deadline on your dream, it becomes a goal” Harsha Bhogle
Take a helicopter ride to the top of a glacier.
Meditate every day.
Do more yoga.
Go to Copenhagen.
See the sunset on the beach whenever I am home at sunset.
Go to Sydney Australia.
Drink less coffee.
Drink less Spanish Lattes and Thai Iced Coffee. (I love condensed milk coffees)
Take more Ubers in the US.
Go To Sweden.
Be more positive.
Be better about making plans with friends.
Spend more time with my family.
Go to Israel.
Pay more attention to politics and get more involved.
Go To Grouplove concert. (missed them so far this year).
Go to Poland.
Go to Over Film Festival in Oregon.
Go to Anderson, Wakeman and Rabin again-they are amazing . Congratulations Trevor on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame .
Think more before I speak.
Eat less sugar. (I put this one in every few years)
Fly safe and Happy Holidays,
Sugarloaf and Christ The Redeemer
“Some people travel for the culture, or the place’s history, or the sheer experience. Our aim is total dissolution. We travel from Egypt to Estonia, big clunky blocks of metal hanging from our necks, naïve and stuttering and asking all the right questions at all the right times—“Is this the Great Wall I’ve been hearing so much about?”—flashing a few photos and no one looks twice, except maybe to point and laugh but we are just harmless Americans come for a tour of life on the other side.” Chris Campanion
Rio’s two biggest tourist attractions are on two famous hills overlooking the city.
Christ the Redeemer is one of the most visited sites in Rio.The famous statue is the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the second largest of Christ. The largest is in Świebodzin, Poland, built in 2010. Designed by Polish-French sculptor Paul Landowski, it took nine years to build and finally opened in 1931. The ceremony was supposed to have been lit by electric lights remotely turned on by Marconi in Rome, but the weather was so bad the signal couldn’t get through.
it is located on the top of a mountain known as Corcovado. You can take a van or a train from Cosmic Velho. If you go during any global sporting event, the lines will be ridiculous.
If you are adventurous, you can hike up. We took a jeep tour with a tour guide who knew everything about everything. We got a lot of World Cup and Olympic inside information.
You will experience the ninety eight foot statue with hordes of tourists all trying to take the perfect selfie.
The security guards are the nicest ones in the world. If you climb on something to get a better photo, they so nicely ask you to get down that you aren’t sure if they mean it.
The guards are busy taking pictures of everyone and showing you where to go to get the perfect shot. Im so used to security guards who think their uniform means they have to be large and in charge.
Risto Redentor (as it is called in Portuguese) is an architecture wonder, a tourist attraction, a religious symbol and a Rio de Janeiro’s landmark. The views from up there are amazing but check the weather before you go up because the weather in Rio changes quickly and the Christ is often covered in clouds.
The giant statue is struck by lightning several times a year and is constantly being repaired. The city seems willing to pay for multiple restorations, even though the pale gray-green soapstone that covers the statue is becoming hard to find.
It is at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. (Olympic water events will be here)
Sugarloaf Mountain is 1,299 ft high above the harbor in Rio de Janeiro.
The mountain is named for its resemblance to a traditional shape of a concentrated refined loaf of sugar.
You can take a bus, taxi or tour to get there. It is called Pao De Acucar in Portuguese if you need to tell the driver. (my name is there now)
A glass-walled cable car carries 65 passengers on to the mountain every 20 minutes. (the first cable car is there)
Sugar Loaf Mountain is also one of the largest and most popular urban rock climbing destinations in the world. There are 270 different routes to explore in the area as you climb high above the Atlantic Ocean and the sprawling Rio de Janeiro. Or if you are like me, you can watch.
The views are stunning and even with a lot of people, you dont feel cramped and can always a find a good place for photographs.