My trip to Kiev involved spending a night in London. For some odd reason, I could get to Kiev cheaper through London than flying straight. I really don't mind, as it gives me a chance to hang out with my brother Luke.We don't get to see each other nearly enough. It was at his urging that I will take the super discounted route back home with 4 days - including a Shabbat - in London. Luke lives in Edgware, and after adamantly being anti-religion for over a decade, recently joined one of the orthodox congregations there: the same one where his mom and stepdad (Luke is no biological relation to me) had been long time members. The place is well known (at least by me) for its awesome choir and the succession of great cantors (Shimon Craimer of the previous two posts was one of them before his move to the States) and wonderful community that caters to all levels of orthodoxy. Luke is still not particularly observant, but he says that a bad orthodox makes more sense than a good reform to him. While we slightly disagree there, I'm happy he has found a community he likes -- it's a very important thing. It was at this shul where his GF -- soon to be wife -- and their daughter converted recently. It is where he will get married.
After watching this video from two years ago and then watching this one from earlier this year, I realized that I'm not the only one who is getting a little rounder in the face. I feel like I am starting to grow up, and I do wish I had voice like Craimer.
It was great to spend 20 hours with Luke and do weird things that we like to do together, like play matchbox races and wet sponge fights, which drive his GF crrrrrazy. We watched videos that Luke made at various musical events in the evening and ate cheese and bacon muffins. Yes. THAT observant. We stopped by a bookstore and drooled over some first editions sold there.