Most of you know me as a wine writer, but there is another side of my writing as well.
This essay on my meeting with Nina Simone was recently published in The Jewish Forward.
Photograph by Herb Snitzer
photograph by Alice Feiring
‘Are you Jewish?” Nina asked me. This was more the kind of question I tended to get from shabbos candle-toting Lubavitchers, not the great Miss Simone. But there she was, sitting close to me in her suite, getting personal.
I answered with the truth, “Yes.”
She leaned over the couch, and in a low conspiratorial voice asked, “Have you been to Israel?”
I had indeed. It was just after graduating from college when I took off with my backpack and my fiddle. My mother had hoped that I, an ex-Yeshiva girl would find the seemingly unattainable there — the nice Jewish boy of her dreams. Instead I couldn’t wait to leave the strong sun and continue the trip to England where I’d hunt folk festivals, adventure, and Ploughman’s Lunches. “Yes,” I said.
“Perfect,” she said. “I need an assistant who speaks Hebrew. You must come with me to see my best friend, Teddy Kollek. Do you know him?”
Jewish geography aside, the mayor of Jerusalem was not in my Rolodex. And though I spent twelve years speaking Hebrew for half the day, I was far more fluent in French. I wasn’t sure if she was testing, teasing or mad.
It was 1986 and I had been working as a dance therapist. I landed on this little known profession as a compromise since I was too busty for the ballet and far inferior to my writing hero, Philip Roth. So,
Read the rest at : http://forward.com/culture/longform/324580/nina-simone-the-mayor-of-israel-and-me/#ixzz3rfDiHnPl and..............