A Pianoman with a Story to Tell

February 17, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Gershon Wachtel is heading Down Under to appear at the Sydney Yeshiva’s Gala Dinner next week…he is a pianist for whom life has composed a sad sonata.

Gershon Wachtel

Wachtel, was a young man in his native Buffalo in New York State with a great gift for music and languages when his life took a strange new turn. He told J-Wire: “I was not religious and was looking forward to furthering my studies in Vienna when I heard people speaking an odd language unknown to me, Curious, I asked them what it was and they told me ‘Ivrit'”

He added: “For reasons which remain mysterious, I cancelled Vienna and went instead to Israel.”

Now a member of Chabad-Lubavitch and living in Toronto, Wachtel and his wife Chaya have had to deal with tragedy for the last seventeen years.  They had been on a visit to their son at his summer camp. As they prepared to go home, they could not find their 4-yr-old son Pinchy.  Gershon told J-Wire: “We were getting more and more worried. Then I saw a crowd on the beach. I thought thank goodness they have organised a search party.” But it was not a search party. As Wachtel drew closer to the group, he could see his son lying on the sand. His child had drowned.”

Gershon Wachtel told J-Wire that he had four secrets to stop him going crazy over the years. He said: “I am 61 but I look 45 and I have no wrinkles. I should look 85.”

My first secret is to let people know that everyone has problems. No-one escapes. It’s best not to think about your problems. Delete them from your mind

My second is to show kindness at every opportunity. Making others feel good helps me.

My third secret is the solace I get from davening. At every opportunity I ask Hashem for help.

My fourth is secret when I am totally in despair. I can be in shul. I will simply take off my tallit and head home and let Hashem know that I submit and He and do what he wants.

But Wachtel’s biggest secret is the full 1 hour 15 minute show he performs in which he tells the story of his personal tragedy interspersed with humour and music.

Next Tuedsay night at the Yeshiva Gala Dinner at the Sydney Convention Centre’s Park Side Ballroom , Gershon Wachtel will perform alongside James Galea and Vince Sorrenti.

He told J-Wire: “I will play some beautiful melodies and will tell a special story at Yeshiva function.”



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