Reported by Patricia Fripp and spoken by Robert Fripp

My brother, internationally acclaimed Rock and Roll guitarist, Robert Fripp, founding and on-going member of King Crimson spoke at the National Speakers Association conference in February. While we were there we attended the Jewish service. Although we are not Jewish we enjoyed the fellowship of wonderful friends. Brother said a few words that made a lasting impression on everyone in attendance. Enjoy…and learn how much you can say in a few words!

“In 1966-68, when I was 18-21, I paid my way through Bournemouth College, where I was studying economics, economic history, and political history with a special paper on social conditions 1850-1900, by playing at the Majestic Hotel in Bournemouth. The Majestic was a well-known Jewish hotel, run by Fay Schneider. The Majestic Dance Orchestra (a quintet) played 3 nights a week during the Winter and 4 nights in the Summer, accompanying visiting cabaret acts on Sundays. In addition to foxtrots, quicksteps, tangos, Jolsons fast and slow, from time to time we also played for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. At one particular Bar Mitzvah, the Chief Rabbi addressed the congregation, and the directness of his advice and delivery continues resonating to this day. The Chief Rabbi spoke very little English, so he got to the point quickly.

He rose and spoke:

“When you go into your shop, say Hello God! and you will have good business.”

The Chief Rabbi might have said…

“May we open ourselves to the unconditioned world, that our wishing for what is real and true and moves from conscience, hope and faith, acceptance and love, moves into and permeates a world governed by fashion, advertising, taste, habit, inventions, prices of near substitutes, expectations of trends and changes in price, changes in the distribution of income and the quantity and quality of the money supply, that our professional lives might be mediated by the imperatives of necessity and sufficiency.”

But he didn’t say this: firstly, because his English wasn’t very good; and, secondly, because he wasn’t taking a course in economics at Bournemouth College.

What the Chief Rabbi did do was to convey a complex and difficult notion the impossibility of an endless and benevolent Grace entering our ungrateful and uncaring world in 15 words: 12 words of one syllable, 3 words of 2 syllables, and one word of three syllables but pronounced as if having two (business):

“When you go into your shop, say Hello God! and you will have good business.”

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