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Crossing Boundaries

December 18, 2010

It really happened, No. 1. Setting: two owners of a photoengraving shop on West 45th Street, Manhattan, hosting a Christmas Party for employees; one, an Irish Catholic, the other, a German Jew. The name of the shop: Reimann-Conway Associates. The time, 1950, just five years after the War. Conway leans against the wall near Reimann, both trading songs and jokes with the men. Suddenly Reimann leans away from the wall, takes a few steps, sweeps his outstretched arms for space, and attention, breaks into a thunderous bass which moves through the assembled men - thunderous - yet ... the words ... intimate, gentle, even glorious, and then sad, "Oh, Tannenbaum, sweet Tannenbaum ... . The German Jew, a man, no longer a boss, bringing us all together in joyous tears, at the time of a great Christian holiday. Not to be forgotten.



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