by Lester Lampert, Lester Lampert Jewellers

Considered one of the world’s finest violinists, Itzhak Perlman, who contracted polio in childhood, walks with leg braces and crutches. Each time Perlman performs, his journey from the wings to the stage is a slow and arduous one. When he painfully reaches his chair, he lowers his crutches to the floor, unclasps his leg braces, then tucks one foot back and extends the other forward. Situated, Itzhak bends to lift up his violin and then begins to play.

Once, at an Avery Fisher Hall concert at Lincoln Center in 1995, Itzhak came on stage, situated himself, and soon after began to play, but something went terribly wrong. After finishing a few bars, a string broke on his violin. You could hear it snap! A sound that silenced the auditorium… The stunned orchestra stopped… the audience held its breath…Know that it is nearly impossible to play a concerto with just three strings.

To everyone’s astonishment, Itzhak continued to play as he modulated and recomposed the work in his head. And, when finished, a sense of wonder shrouded the room. Moments later, people sprang from their seats and filled the hall with thunderous applause. Perlman smiled, wiped his brow, and then raised his bow in an attempt to quiet the crowd. Then, in a pensive tone, said, “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

This is such an inspirational story, especially when recognizing how Perlman’s talent transcends any thought of physical challenge. Itzhak’s three-stringed performance can serve as a catalyst for finding the motivation to guide others to find and follow their own paths to a successful life filled with meaning and validation.

I have witnessed the residents of the Ocean Reef Community open their hearts and contribute to many worthy causes year after year with unequaled passion and drive. Your consistent generosity is impressive, and the differences that you have made in the lives of others truly tugs at my heartstrings.