Bernadette McComish

How to Visit Felix

In loving memory of Felix Fibich 1917-2014

If possible, take a pad and pen with you, and use them. 
Begin with the surface questions rather than the questions about Warsaw; 
research first the articles on the Internet about his career as a dancer/actor.

Study attentively the playbills of shows he’s done overseas, in most cases you 
will not be able to obtain a copy for yourself. 
Devote a little time each day to the little objects on his shelves—
fake grapes 
jade elephants.

Don’t feel obliged to see the painful side of his past.
Try to learn a few Jewish dance gestures, the ones he created 
based on the Hebrew alphabet.
Be patient. 

Remember in using these directions that there really are no rules.

Don’t expect to admire an eighty-eight year old man until you’ve learned to stop thinking of him as just an old man or just a survivor. 
Enthusiasm will come on the day that he teaches you his four favorite moves− 
rejection, compassion, it’s very nice, 
and ecstasy.

Don’t expect to like the first visit because expectations in general can lead to
disappointment; allow for the part where you introduce yourself 
to happen naturally.

For example, if you normally kiss your friends on the cheek hello, kiss Felix, 
but if you normally shake hands with people, shake his hand.

If you are tempted to quarrel with yourself about whether these visits
will become depressing or monotonous, think of all the joy he gets from just having someone 
willing to listen.

Forgive every repetition for the duration of every visit. 
Try to discover G-d through Felix.

Whenever you find yourself wanting to speak but he keeps talking, lean in, make 
intense eye contact, put one hand on your knee as if you were going to reach for his hand, then part your lips and he should wrap it up.

Think of these visits as a close look into the mind of a man whose life has spanned
across countries, wars, stages, languages, that you might never see, a lens held up 
to the sun— highlighting all of the best parts of his life.

Accept an offer to return; don’t insist that he contact you, instead always call him.

Don’t get homesick for your grandmother. 

   Felix Fibich 1917-2014

 Felix Fibich 1917-2014