Ten Years and Counting | Illini Chabad Celebration Event
October 20, 2013 • Bryn Mawr Country Club

College is one of the most developmental periods of a young man's life. For me, it was the period of my life when I chose between walking the most-tread path of comfort and mediocrity, or the less-tread path of striving for greatness. I made the choice between sleeping in at dawn and frat parties at night, or getting up early to take that extra class and staying up late to practice the piano. Needless to say, I took the latter choice.

So I asked myself the other day, why did I take the latter choice? Why did I have the discipline to sacrifice sleep, sacrifice recreation, to work and improve myself to the best of my ability? Of course, there was something within me that made me want to be the best human being I could be. But there was also something outside of me to remind me that I could reach greatness if I really tried. There was something in my environment to rest a warm hand on my shoulder when I was tired and tell me I was doing great. To invite me every friday night for a warm, home-cooked meal with a community of people who embraced me for who I was. And a man, who always recognized my achievements, encouraged me through my struggles, and offered me a family when, for the first time in my life, my family was hundreds of miles away.

This was Rabbi Dovid, and the Illini Chabad. I can say without doubt that a piece of who I am today belongs to the Chabad, for they gave me a home and a community that I couldn't have found anywhere else in my college experience. I'd like to thank you all for your generous support of the Chabad, because I know that there are hundreds, probably thousands more college students, like I once was, who are deciding between the two paths in life. With our support, Chabad will continue to foster, develop, and give comfort to these outstanding Jewish youth as they begin their journey towards being great Jewish adults.

So, on that note, I'll keep my speech brief, and give you a sample of what I'm actually good at. Firstly, I'm going to play an instrumental piece I composed entitled "Hills", which I'm proud to say was recognized on the voting ballot of the upcoming Grammy Awards this year in the "Record of the year" category. Then I'm going to play a song entitled "No Rest for the Weary", which is a new piece to be included on my upcoming album, with lyrics by my good friend and collaborator Peter Yastrow, who is here tonight. I hope you enjoy.