Yesterday was one of those days that reminded me what journalism is all about.
I spent the majority of the day frantically running between the classroom and building stairwell, Carlene’s phone within my death grip, making calls to just about every Sephardic rabbi and community leader in the United States. I sent countless e-mails and navigated dozens of websites and databases. What I got were a lot of voicemail boxes, a few disconnected lines, a number of “I can’t speak to that”s and by the time 4 p.m. rolled around I was a sweaty, disgruntled mess who was on the verge of giving up.
I had found a foundation online that was dedicated to the advancement of Sephardic culture in the US. There was no contact info listed for its leaders, however, and I was apprehensive to start calling up random New York-based doctors who I suspected might be one of the guys I was looking for. But I did. I happened to get the foundation’s president on the phone after explaining to his secretary that no, I wasn’t a patient or looking to book an appointment. We had a great conversation about Sephardic culture in the US, his own family history and connections to Sepharad, and what the new law means.
Just as we were wrapping up our lengthy conversation, Carlene came out of the school doors, as everyone had already left for the day. It was 5 – the day had literally flown by me. I heard Carlene, Chloe and #23 whispering in the stairwell, where I sat hunched over in the dark one floor above them.
I handed Carlene her overheated phone and we all left for the day. I felt extra deserving of the caipirinha I ordered at a nearby outdoor cafe later.
This morning after going over my final draft, a familiar wave of relief flood over me. Despite the roadblocks I hit starting day one with this story, I had pulled it together, and it’s now ready to be published. I spoke to a number of great people for this piece and wish I could have elaborated more on what they and others had to say on this topic, but perhaps that’s for a future endeavor.
I still have an entire third story to report and write by the end of the week, but I can’t help but take a moment to revel in this sense of relief. I did so over a short lunch featuring arguably the best sandwich in Madrid.
Now, it’s time to hit the ground running on story number 3. Stay tuned for pictures of me attempting to keep up with Hayley on adventurous tourist activities like rollerblading and rock climbing…