I am not a violin player or fan of its music. In addition, I am not Jewish I am Cuban.
As most Cubans, I am a also Roman Catholic. I was even an altar boy back in the old country!
However, probably because my last name is Simon (Simón in Spanish), I have been mistaken as being Jewish since I first arrived in this country.
In high school, I used to received Hanukkah and Passover cards from my dentist and doctor, never quite understanding why but I did like getting the cards.
I spoke very little English then and was very happy to receive correspondence from anyone.
You see, at that time I was here with just my brother living in my aunt’s apartment at 186th and Amsterdam avenue in Manhattan.
My parents were still in Cuba and would not get here until several years later.
I remember that there was (and probably still is) a Yeshiva University dorm right across the street from us.
That neighborhood, Washington Heights in uptown Manhattan was, at the time, predominantly composed of Irish, Jewish and Greek families.
Puerto Rican kids lived mostly in Spanish (East) Harlem, which starts around 97th street and 5th avenue and extends north to 143rd street and the Harlem river.
The black kids lived mostly in Harlem, which starts around 110th street (the end of Central Park) and extends north to 155th street. the beginning of Central Park (110th street), about 30 blocks south of where I used to live (186th street).
We all went to the same high school, George Washington High School.
While in high school, the Irish kids never thought I was Irish (I wonder why?), but the Jewish kids thought I was Jewish because of my last name.
I also think that my wife, a Jewish girl herself, only agreed to marry me because of my last name.
Greek kids thought I was Greek because of the way I looked then and could not figure out why my last name wasn’t Kalogeropoulos or Stefanopoulos or Papachristodoulopoulos or anything ending with poulos.
Good thing because I would have been able to spell my last name then nor could I now.
Having lived in a communist country for a few years, I know what it is to live with no freedom of expression. You do not know how precious liberty is until you lose it.
You should now that politically, I am a conservative.
There are very few things worse than not being able to speak your mind or told what to think and say.
The reason I have told you a little about myself, is you should understand that I am not posting the video below because I am Jewish or because I am a conservative, like the performer. He is however, one of the brightest individuals I have ever encountered.
I am posting it because it is beautiful music.
Ave Maria – Performed by a nice Jewish boy.