Bridging a Great Divide

I had a post about morality planned for February but it’s taking longer than I thought to write.  Instead, I’d like to share a video which to me relates very much to morality.

I found the video on one of Eva’s posts and I was very moved by it:

In the video, Naomi Feil, a Jewish woman, makes a connection with a woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s by singing Christian songs.  I think this made an even deeper impact on me given that I know of the aversion to Christianity that exists in the Jewish community.  This was very clear to me growing up in a Jewish home, and I also found it to be true, albeit to a lesser extent, in a more liberal Jewish congregation I attended several years ago.  There’s a lot of history causing that aversion, but happily I believe it is dissipating.

To me this is just one example of someone crossing over the boundaries of religion to make a beautiful connection with another human being.  I have always highly valued all human beings no matter what their beliefs are and my beliefs about ultimate questions have never changed that.  This was one of the things that attracted me to Christianity back in college – I believed that it represented true goodness and that it matched this value that I had within my heart.  That strong value didn’t go away after I left Christianity though, and no matter what my beliefs are about the existence of gods, that value of mine will remain unchanged.  To me this is an important part of what morality is all about.

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19 thoughts on “Bridging a Great Divide

  1. Thanks Nate! Well I may ruin it for you then when I publish my next post on morality because then it won’t look so simple! 😉 Nah – actually the way I’m writing it one can still see the simplicity of it.

  2. I couldn’t finish watching the video…my mother has dementia and I was afraid I’d start bawling. The connection that people with dementia have to music is an amazing thing. I’ve spent a lot of time in memory care with my mom, and you wouldn’t believe how long that musical connection remains. There was a woman entertaining the entire group with her piano playing and singing. I talked to her for a minute and realized very quickly that she had dementia. While she was playing, I had no idea of her condition. She remembered all those songs that she had learned as a school teacher and from her church and she did a spectacular job in leading the group in a sing a long. As my mother progressed in her dementia, she did more and more singing. There’s something going on there. I don’t know what, but it’s a fascinating connection that we have to music.

  3. Hey Tina – yeah that was a very difficult video to watch, but I liked it so much I’ve watched it several times now. My father has dementia as well although it is not very advanced yet. That’s very interesting stuff you mention about music. I never really thought about it that way, and I hope I can remember to make it a point to ask what my dad’s favorite music is when we visit him for spring break. I don’t really remember him listening to a lot of music as I was growing up.

  4. Such a very moving video Howie, and it brought back certain fleeting and fragmented moments of connection with my father who died of Alzheimer’s several years ago. I’m choked up as I’m writing this, not because of memories, but because there are people in the world like Naomi, and I had the privilege of meeting two or three of them. With thanks, Hariod.

  5. I’m glad it had a positive impact on you Hariod. Those moments of connection can be so precious. I am very grateful as well to have met a handful of Naomi’s in my lifetime.

  6. Sorry to hear about your father. If your father didn’t listen to a lot of music, maybe it won’t be as meaningful for him, but who knows? It’s definitely worth finding out what he likes. You may find that later in his progression he finds that comforting. I saw this video a while ago in which a guy goes from absolutely non-verbal to singing along with the music. He even begins to talk a little bit while he’s listening to the music.

  7. That’s pretty amazing Tina. I’m very intrigued by this connection that music has for us. There are some songs that have such a powerful effect on me that it makes total sense. I wonder even if it makes sense to try and make connections between songs and important details in our lives, much like lovers always have “their song”. Perhaps this could be a way of preparing for an aging mind.

  8. I too have strong connections with music. It’s all a bit mysterious, but I’m inclined to think music must be more important than just entertainment. I definitely make those connections to music in my life, equating certain songs with certain times in life. If I hear Counting Crows, I’m immediately transported back to middle school and some good times of hanging out in my bedroom. I sometimes wonder what future assisted living homes will look like. Will they play Nirvana and Weezer for me instead of Frank Sinatra? 🙂

  9. Yeah, there’s a reason why we sing songs to babies and also why music is an integral part of worship services. Some groups even use it to manipulate (which reminds me a little of this post).

    Oh, and I think I’ll choose the home that plays Beastie Boys for some nostalgia. 😉

  10. Haha! I’m picturing the Beastie Boys blaring through the stereo while we bob our heads from our wheelchairs.

    Yes, music as manipulation…good point. That’s another illustration of how powerful music can be!

  11. Oh and if I’m physically capable I would definitely be the one bobbing my head. I can’t turn it off when I’ve got a good rhythm going in my ears. Just this morning I was jamming to Black Dog by Led Zep on the way to work. If I end up in a wheelchair I also plan on pimping my ride – hydraulics and purple lights on the underside for sure. I want to have fun as I age. 🙂

  12. I love Zep! That’s definitely a group that brings back a certain era for me. I learned how to play guitar by working my way through Stairway. 🙂 Nursing homes could prove interesting!

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