By Lewis Molot.
I have had the pleasure of singing ‘back up vocals’ for our wonderful cantorial soloist, Lindi Rivers, as a member of the Holy Blossom Temple Singers for the last 10 years. I have also had the pleasure of singing with her in Cantor Maissner’s Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir. Our connection has been music. But our connection has changed.
I have known her husband, Steve, about 35 years longer than I have known Lindi, going all the way back to high school and summer camp in the Ottawa Valley in the 1960s, the same camp that Bob Smolkin attended. The Jewish community was small and tightly knit then and teenagers knew virtually all other teenagers, regardless of age differences. The Ottawa community of that era still maintains strong ties even though time has spread us out geographically. I know Steve well but oddly enough, only Lindi knows for sure if he can carry a tune.
Sadly, the Rivers family is encountering tough times. Steve suffers from Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a progressive and fatal neurological disease in which the afflicted gradually loses control of all voluntary muscles. One eventually loses the ability to walk, answer the phone, open a door, speak and brush one’s teeth – the many daily, automatic tasks of life. Increasing amounts of personal care are needed. Recognizing how difficult and exhausting this is for the family, in the spirit of Bikur Cholim a group of Lindi and Steve’s friends, family and colleagues have been providing many different kinds of assistance to ease the family’s growing burden of care. Last July the Friends of Steve Rivers Care Project was created to raise funds for Steve’s personal care. The response has been heart warming. While successful, more needs to be done.
Most singers will tell you that music is a balm, a soothing influence unless you are listening to the Ramones. Recognizing this, the Friends of Steve Rivers is holding a benefit concert at Holy Blossom Temple on June 2nd to raise money for the Care Project and to support MSA research. The Ramones will not be on the program. The music has been carefully chosen to celebrate and to lift our spirits in recognition that even in tough times, there can be joy. Come hear the performers and choirs and enjoy the moment.
We hope to see you on June 2nd. If you cannot attend the concert but would like to make a donation to support the Care Project and MSA research, please contact Lewis Molot via [email protected] for more information.