6mm-Minis is Maksim-Smelchak's blog to discuss gaming, miniatures, books, movies, food, Israel, Judaism, life in general and other funny crud. My favorite scale of miniatures is 6mm, which is also called 1/285 or 1/300 scale. I enjoy many different kinds of games including ancients, Napoleonics, WWI, WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Car Wars AKA Autoduel (a sort of crash'n'derby automobile combat game), 6mm Godzilla AKA Kaiju games, and science fiction games. I'm open to everything though!

Friday, February 09, 2007

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS: Rental Cellos & Red Violins.

. Hi Everyone,

Omayn that yet another week has almost passed...

Yet again Treppenwitz has written (or borrowed) the kind of story that warms hearts over...

I highly recommend the Treppenwitz story to this one:


The Rental Cello... an Israeli Story
[Some stories just have to be shared... this is one of those.]

My company recently finished a long and complex project in which we had partnered with a German company. This project required several engineers and specialists from the German company to spend extended periods of time here in Israel.

On one such scheduled visit that was to last three weeks, one of the German engineers decided he wanted to bring his 13-year-old daughter along with him. It would be a mini-vacation for her, and he figured she would keep him company in this strange desert city of Beer Sheva.

However, as this German engineer was preparing for the trip, a problem arose. It seems his daughter is an accomplished cellist and was scheduled to perform at a festival two weeks after they returned to Europe... so she would need to practice daily while she was in Israel. The problem was that her instrument was extremely valuable and their insurance company wouldn't cover it in a 'war zone'.

The German engineer contacted my coworker and explained the situation... and asked if there was anywhere in Beer Sheva to rent a cello for three weeks.

My coworker did some asking around and quickly discovered that finding a rental cello in Beer Sheva would be only slightly less likely than finding a lake... so he expanded his search. After umpteen phone calls to friends and associates he finally received a lead... the phone number of a place in Jerusalem that repairs violins.

He called the repair shop and spoke with a pleasant individual who owned and managed the place.

The problem was presented and the question asked: 'Did he have a cello that could be rented to the young visiting musician for three weeks?' Without missing a beat, the repair shop owner replied that it shouldn't be a problem, and gave directions to his shop. My coworker promptly relayed the news to Germany via email and the plans for the father-and-daughter trip went forward.

Fast-forward a few weeks.

The day the German engineer and his daughter arrived in Israel my coworker and his family hosted the two visitors at their home for dinner. Over the meal it was agreed that they would drive to the Jerusalem workshop the next day to pick up the rental cello.

The hour-and-a-half drive to Israel's capitol went smoothly and by late morning they were all standing in the 'violin repair shop' chatting with the owner... a mid-thirty-ish Israeli with a ponytail.

In truth the place was far more than a violin repair shop. It was a workshop filled with violins, violas, cellos and double basses. Repair was only a tiny portion of what went on in this shop as the owner was the third or fourth generation in his family who had been crafting and repairing classical string instruments by hand.

Every wall, nook and cranny was filled with stringed instruments of every type and vintage...the smell of wood and lacquer were heavy in the air... wood shavings littered the floor... and several work tables were strewn with components of unfinished instruments.

The owner of the shop brought my coworker and the two German guests tea and asked how he could be of assistance. My coworker reminded him of their phone conversation and all attention turned to the young woman in need of a practice cello.

The owner sized her up with his eyes and grabbed a cello that had been standing in an open case near his workbench. "Try this one to see if it's a fit" he said in a mishmash of English and German, handing her the instrument.

The young German girl sat down and began to expertly tune the cello and rosin the offered bow. After making a small adjustment to the height of the bottom peg she began to play one of the Bach Cello Suites. The instrument sang beautifully in her hands and the owner looked on appreciatively... clearly surprised at the young musician's skill.

After a few minutes he stopped her and had her try two other cellos... one which was slightly larger and finally a third that seemed older than the first two.

When she began to play the third cello the room was suddenly filled to overflowing with the sound coming from the instrument. The first two cellos had sounded nice to my coworker's untrained ears, but the third seemed to make everything in the room vibrate and resonate with each note played.

The girl stopped abruptly and stared in disbelief at the instrument. A few rushed words in German were translated to English by the engineer and then into Hebrew by my coworker for the shop owner:

"What kind of cello is this? I've never heard or felt music like this in all my years of playing!"

The owner of the shop beamed with pride and replied that it was nearly 300 years old and was one of his favorites. In fact, it was normally kept locked away and the only reason it was out on the shop floor was that he liked to make sure all the instruments were inspected and played regularly. He explained that he had just finished making a small adjustment to the placement of the bridge under the strings and was preparing to put it away when they had arrived.

In a very business-like manner the owner said with finality that this was the instrument she must use while she was visiting Israel. The father hesitated a bit and began to politely protest at the idea of taking responsibility for such an old and valuable instrument... and clearly he was worried about what kind of rental fee such an instrument would command.

The owner waved off the objections and told him to take the instrument for his daughter. "After all", he reasoned, "she has a festival to perform in, so she needs to practice on an instrument worthy of her skills."

All attempts by the German engineer to fix a price for the rental were waved off by the owner. The only thing he would say was "We can talk about money when you come back in three weeks".

Story continued at the Treppenwitz blog...

Check out his most excellent blog here:


Happy Friday and a Good Shabbat to all who celebrate!


Notes regarding photos / pictures: These are not all my images. I am using various images from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).

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