The musical cabbie

“What were you before you were a cab driver?”

He had a Russia accent and anyway, I keep meeting older cab drivers in Jerusalem who were something else before.

“Well, since coming to Israel, I’ve only been a cab driver. But in Russia I was a musician. I play the piano. But I knew before immigrating that I wouldn’t find work in that. It was really sad for me but I knew I needed to come here for my family, my kids…”

“You know, you’re the generation paying for the move but your kids and grandkids get to reap the benefits.” I say this from experience. My parents moved here from Canada when we were kids and my sisters’ kids are Sabras and have none of the issues we have.

I also shared with him that I’m a fellow pianist, like himself. Actually, I also started playing in the “old country.” We moved to Israel and I had to stop for two years until we brought the piano over in a lift. I was able to continue studying piano through high school, and I even did a bagrut (matriculation) in piano and music theory.

He went on to explain how he inserts some music into his life these days.

“For all the music I learned how to play in Russia – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven – the only music I can play after all these years is jazz improvisation. That’s music you can just sit down and play. You don’t have to remember anything.”

“Really? Maybe I didn’t learn it well enough but I’ve never succeeded in improvising.”

“Well you should try. I’ve been at events with friends where I sit down to play the piano and everyone goes, ‘Wow! You’re amazing! Why are you a cab driver?’ Anyway, you should try it. Oh, and my daughter is a violinist. In Israel.”

And then we got to my destination, we said good night and I got out of his cab thinking, “I’d love to hear him play jazz one day and his daughter play violin.”

Deena Levenstein

Posted by Deena Levenstein

The founder of the popular Facebook group JLMvibe | Things to do in Jerusalem , Deena is a social entrepreneur with a focus on "her" beloved people of Jerusalem as well as local initiatives that create meaningful interactions, empower people and make Jerusalem a strong city economically, socially and spiritually.

Leave a Reply