Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
It is not a surprise that in the aftermath of the Israeli elections and the foreign policy has been the focus of media coverage both Jewish and general. American Jews also seem again to view events in Israeli solely through the prism of Iran or the Palestinian issue. But the more interesting aspect of the election and certainly the far less reported one is the implications of the rise of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party on issues unrelated to foreign policy.
It may not be apparent from next week or even next year’s headlines that important new trends are emerging in Israeli life . But in the longer term there is potential for tremendous change in the areas of education and relationships between observant and non observant Jews in Israel . The opportunity exists for a “reboot “ in relations between American Jews and Israel with an agenda far broader than foreign policy.
Lapid (yes not particularly democratically) personally recruited and handpicked the Yesh Atid list for Knesset candidates. Thus it’s hard to believe they don’t reflect his vision for Judaism’s role in Israeli culture and society . It’s pretty clear his views reflect more of the trends in the broader center of Israeli society, observant and non observant. And those views are far more than simply pushing for the Charedi (ultra orthodox) community to receive less government benefits and to serve in the IDF.
In fact his “atid” (future) as reflected in his personal behavior and parliamentary list shows an openness to a Judaism that has many aspects that would appeal to American Jews: Orthodox, Reform ,Conservative and “just Jewish”. The list includes Mayors from outside the center of the country, the first Ethiopia and woman Knesset member, former journalists and a judo instructor. Lapid delivered on his promise not to include any professional politicians on his list.
Four new Knesset members from Yaish Atid should be of particular interest to American Jews. They offer an interesting window into what could be a new future for Judaism in Israel and a focus for productive interactions with American Jews.
Number 2 on Yesh Atid candidate list is Rabbi Shai Piron. He is a leader of the moderate Tzohar rabbinical group which has fought the Chief Rabbinate of Israel on many issues of divorce and conversion. It has also been a pioneer in education programs aimed at the non observant population.
Rabbi (and now MK) Piron recently won praise from the gay and lesbian community for recanting what he acknowledged were wrongheaded views that gays could be “reformed” to heterosexuality. While no one would argue that he doesn’t have views that differ sharply from Reform and Conservative Jewry his views are certainly in line with the more moderate wing of American “modern orthodox”. hardliners.
As of this writing there is talk of him as future Education Minister. That will be a far cry from current Likud non educator Education minister Gideon Saar. During Saar’s tenure he has pushed for and in many cases implemented a right leaning ideological curriculum much to the dismay of many educators . There is little doubt Rabbi Piron’s view of education would be far different.
Prion’s Tzohar colleagues may be responsible for even more change in the religious establishment. One of its Rabbis David Shatz is running an uncharacteristically public campaign to be the next chief Rabbi of Israel..taking it out of the hands of the ultra orthodox.
Professor (now MK) Aliza Lavie was # 7 on the yesh atid listis Aliza Lavie a feminist Modern Orthodox Professor and author. She has authored two books on women and Judaism: Women’s Prayer (the English edition A Women’s Prayer Book won a National Jewish Book Award) and Womens’ Customs . Both books trace the long traditon of distinct religious practices reated by and practiced by women.
Lavie’s biography also includes service as an emissary for Bnei Akiva in South Africa and writings on relations between the diaspora and Israeli Jewish communities. As a sign that she doesn’t fit any particular mold she also took a year to travel through Nepal with her husband….very common among non Observant Israelis…far less so for observant ones. After hearing her lecture in Jerusalem it wouldn’t be hard for me to conclude she would make a strong positive impression in the states as well as a different public face for Orthodoxy in Israel.
Thirteenth on the list is Dr. Ruth Calderon, non observant and with a PhD in Talmud. She is the founder of Alma an institution created to educate non observant Israelis in Jewish sources….with no expectation that they change their level of observance. Her wonderful book the Marketplace and the Home is a retelling of Talmudic midrash often with a feminist slant.
Alma is located just off trendy Shenkin street in Tel Aviv, known as the center of hip secular young Tel Aviv. The well attended classes are filled with people who probably were sitting in a café on Shenkin immediately prior to class. Her dynamic teaching of midrashic material in the Talmud is inevitably met by her students with the startled reaction that they never thought the Talmud was anything other than a dry book of laws. I have attended classes and programs at Alma and can personally testify that they represent an Israel few Americans know exist. Certainly they would not expect to find it in the trendiest part of Tel Aviv. Dr. Calderon has lectured around the world and Alma has classes in English in Tel Aviv. If you are in Tel Aviv or she is speaking in your community I highly recommend attending.
And Alma is not at all alone, there are dozens of similar institutions growing throughout Israel many putting observant and non observant Israelis together to encounter the texts of traditional Judaism. These groups represent what is called in Israel the jewish renaissance “ movement. Many are allied in the group panim
Alma and similar institutions represent a great potential model for American Jewry: study of Jewish sources outside the framework of a synagogue or a particular religious denomination. If the fastest growing denomination in American Jewry is “unaffiliated “this may be a way to reach them and also breach the gaps across denominations.
Another new MK from Yeish Atid is Rabbi Dov Lipman . At #17 on the list he has made it into the Knesset due to Yesh Atid’s extremely strong showing in the elections. Lapid is American oleh who is more charedi than modern orthodox. Nonetheless he has been at the forefront of fights in his hometown of Beit Shemesh against excesses among charedim. Outside of the Charedi mold he is ferverently Zionist and he has been an outspoken advocate for charedi participation in the military and workforce.
Rabbi Lipman can be seen as close to the views of the large parts of the charedi community in the US. That population maintains their distinctive communities and religious practices but integrate into the workforce and provide their young people with the education and skills to do so while of course emphasizing intensive study of Talmud and other jewish traditional texts. Lipman’s father was a Federal judge in the US.
Haredim make up the fastest growing community American Jewry….and in Israel. Greater integration into economic life and Army service by the Israeli Charedi community is a top priority for Yesh Atid in a sense making them more like the American charedi community in the lifestyles.
Lipman also plans to work as an “American Style” congressman to the American oleh community. He plans to open a “constituent services” office with English speaking staff to help Americans deal with the often byzantine Israeli government bureaucracy. American aliya (immigration to Israel) is tiny –a bit over 3,000- last year. But this is just one of many examples of the great success of many American Jews in bringing a different perspective to Israeli society one that doesn’t always match Israeli categories. Alon Tal, the leader of the Green party (allied with Tzipi Livni’s party) is also American although he didn’t make it into the Knesset.
In a post election interview with Lipman in the mainstream orthodox zionist Makor Rishon newspaper had a hard time putting him into one of their predetermined categories. They had trouble reconciling the external appearance, the level of religious observance, the political affiliation and his views on various political issues….a very good thing in my view.
As for Lapid himself, there are definite signs of optimism for pluralistic Judaism in Israel. There is l an opportunity for greater positive interaction between American Jews and Israel with a far broader agenda than the often divisive issues of foreign policy.
Lapid for a time was involved in Beit Daniel the reform congregation in Tel Aviv. Party colleague Ruth Calderon observed in a recent interview that she never would have associated politically with Yair Lapid’s aggressively secular father Tommy. But she finds Yair far different in his relationship to Jewish sources. Calderon observed that he has been involved with the Jewish renaissance movement for at least a decade.
However, Lapid is no longer associated with the Reform congregation. There is a message here too. Israelis are likely to take a path to Jewish pluralism and “renaissance” that takes a different path than the approach presented by the Conservative and Reform movements in Israel.
Rather than fixate on the labels associated with the Israeli “ Jewish renaissance” groups, American reform and Conservative Jews should let go of the misguided “dream” of mass numbers of Reform and Conservative congregations in Israel Instead they should embrace the distinctly Israeli versions of Jewish pluralism. After all, with the fastest growing part of the Jewish community “unaffiliated” there will be increasing opportunities for common ground with both the established Jewish denominations as well the established denominations.
There are also signs that Lapid sees the agenda for American Jewish cooperation broader than” Israeli advocacy”. Yes Lapid did make the near obligatory appearance at the 2012 AIPAC conference. But he also took the time to address the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative Rabbis) convention last May. His column upon his return reflected on the somewhat surreal appearance of sitting in his Atlanta hotel room while receiving an endless stream of emails describing the shakeup in the ruling coalition in Israel.
The rise of Lapid represents the potential for a new relationship between American Jews and Israelis in an area where outcomes are less dependent on the behaviors of both Israeli governments and Palestinian decision makers. By building on an exchange of ideas on areas of education and expression of Jewish identity there is potential to build a better Jewish future. But it will take work and patience on both sides. A great first step would be for American Jews to move beyond looking at things from the categories of American denominationalism and reach out to these distinctively Israeli approaches. Many Israelis already acknowledge they have much to learn from the greater openness of American Jewry across denominations while they don’t necessarily see it developing into American style denominations. And with the post denominatonalism the buzzword in American Jewry for the 21st centrury there seems little reason not to find much potential common ground.
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July 29, 2012 | 7:22 pm
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
If there was one term I could remove from the Hebrew language it would be cheloni certainly as it used a counterpoint to dati. Dati means religious (although it is only used for halachically observant jews) and cheloni (with its root from the word sand (chol) or in traditional language the opposite of holy (the havdala prayer notes the ending of the kadosh shabbat and the chol of the workweek). The term masorati (traditional) seldom used although it virtually never refers to the Conservative movement in Israel which uses that title. “Reformit” is used for anything resembling American Conservative or Reform almost always used as a term of derision by the observant or as some kind of American version of Judaism which few Israelis that havent spent time in the states.
Survey after survey most recently the Third Guttman study finds a high level of religious belief and observance among Israeli Jews…far higher than Americans.. With only 9% of the population defining themselves as “secular anti religious"16% saying they don’t observe Jewish tradition and 80% believing in God ....obviously using a dichotomy of religious/secular (dati cheloni) is ridiculous.
Increasingly this is reflected in public observance, study and culture. One example is Beit Tefilla. I met this group when I sat in on a program presented as part of officer training at the Hartman institute on “streams of judaism”. Ironically the presentation was “the secular stream”. The presenter, Rani Jager one of the founders, now a friend I check in with during all my Israel visits described his group Beit Tefilla. He called it non orthodox (not dati..again unfortuantely) and stated that the American reform and conservative dont fit the Israeli context in which tradition plays such a part in ways as major as the jewish calendar as the civil calendar and as minor as a talmudic expression encouraging riders to leave a seat for the physically disabled.
Of course if you are in Tel Aviv on a Friday in the summer I encourage you to attend….even the Orthodox… it begins well before candle lighting time.
I have attended serveral observances by tefillot including a moving “havdalla marking the tradition from yom hazikaron (Israeli memorial day) to Yom Haatzmaut independence day…the ceremony is replicated throughout Israel.
The highlight of their year is the summer kabbalat service at the nemal (port) of Tel Aviv. The tefillot (services) are now sponsored by the Tel Aviv Yafo Municipality and the beach is filled with banners promoting it. The crowd has reached close to 1000 this summer. Throughout the year Beit Tefilla cant keep up with the requests to run kabbalat shabbat services for the army.
Here’s a view of the tefillot with many elements familiar to non orthodox American Jews. The crowd has grown far larger since this 2009 video.
The congregation has one partner in the US, Kehillat Bnai Jeshrun in NY which is unaffilliated with any movement. Wouldnt it be great if other kehillot even those officially associated with an American Jewish movement put aside their concerns with labels and partnered with this group ?
July 25, 2012 | 12:18 pm
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
Although Israeli television has become a major source for material for US television, it loses all of its function as a window into Israeli society when it gets adapted to the US. Not so of course for the actual Israeli programs several of which can be found with English subtitles on DVD or on the web…and usually in the annual Israel Film Festival that tours several major cities each year.
Israelis are big on reality shows, they have their versions of top chef (including one version for kids), “American” idol and The Voice…also including one for kids, as well as Survivor and Big Brother. They are hugely popular. I have only caught the music shows and they can be interesting. Last year’s American idol (Kochav Nolad) winners were a young man of mizrachi descent and a young woman, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants from Sderot. The family was rushed after Shabbat to prepare for the huge outdoor final. The father exclaimed that now he truly felt like an Israeli. Of course the entire town of Sderot was on the streets celebrating. Is she extremely talented ? yes. Was the fix on ? I’ll let you decide. Here’s the link to the current (10th !) season.
Another big hit is eretz nehederet a topical satire show…think Saturday Night Live with much sharper humor. Here’s their take on Birthright as you can see they can be pretty tough on their subjects.(the definition of birthright/taglit as propaganda trip” is not mine or one I agree with btw)
Here are three excellent shows that can be found in English. on the web and often on DVD
Mesooderim (roughly the set ones) think Entourage but with fellows who have hit it big with a “high tech” “exit” (selling out to a larger company or going public) and going from rags to riches. The crew includes a flashy big spender (the marketing guy “Mr. Outside), a hippie type, a shy serious type and of course the geeky socially awkward member of the crew. The series gets particularly funny with bang on satire when the flashiest member of the crew decides to enter politics complete with an image consultant (just keep repeating “you will do things differently” without any details) and cameos by actual politicians.
Here’s the full first episode in Hebrew. Even if you can’t follow all the Hebrew watching the first few minutes will give you a great idea of the show.
For those comfortable with the hebrew all the episodes can be found here.
Serugim (from kippa seruga=knit kippa) this one is already very popular in the states—at least among some circles. It tells the story of young dati (think US modern orthodox) singles in Jerusalem and their trials and tribulations seeking love in the big city while balancing religious observance and their new lifestyle. The characters include the guy that cant settled down, to the couple that does, to the successful career woman who intimidates her matches and the woman who gradually becomes dat lash (dati le sheavar)/chozair b sheeyla (returning to questioning…the opposite of chozair be teshuva/baalar teshuva). Here’s a clip. The series is extremely popular and has gone through 3 seasons all available on DVD and many can be found on you tube.
Here’s a short clip with english subtitles, much more available some with English on you tube. All three seasons are available on DVD. The show was hugely popular and gave much of Israel insights into a part of society they actually knew little about.
Avoda Aravit : the title itself is ironic, the term is used by Israelis to describe shoddy work regardless of who produced it. The series is a real breakthrough the story of Amjad and his family successful Israeli/Palestinian yuppies living in West Jerusalem among middle class Israeli neighbors and their dilemmas of fitting in while juggling their relationship to the family back in Amjad’s birthplace village. The other major characters are their friends, a couple: a successful Israeli/Palestinian and an Israeli Jewish photojournalist. The Arab characters speak Arabic, the Jews Hebrew. The satire is brilliant and hilarious. The show is also hugely successful it just completed its third season with an amazing…not so funny final episode. It is written by Sayeed Kashua—a serious novelist—and regular columnist for Haaretz with a satire column.
Here’s a short clip with english.
All of the episodes in hebrew are available here And here is a site with some more clips with english
July 19, 2012 | 8:53 pm
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
This week I got a chance to catch a concert by Israeli pop superstar Moshe Peretz at a great small venue call Tzafta in Jerusalem. This was particularly a treat since Peretz usually plays to sold out crowds in Israels Nokia Center in Tel Aviv (Israels staples center/msg/universal ampitheatre) or Caesaerea (Israeli’s Hollywood Bowl/Greek Theatre….l’havidil).
Peretz is part of the wave of mizrachi (middle eastern) Israeli music that dominates the pop scene other superstars include Eyal Golan aand Sarit Hadad. This music is not well known among American Jews. At the LA Yom Haatzmaut Golan was the featured performer at the end of the day. As the day wound down one could see the Americans heading home and the Israelis arriving. In fact my friend Yossi Klein Halevi a scholar at Jerusalem’s Hartman Institute oftern lectures on modern Israeli music (although our tastes differ a bit) but told me that when he suggests this topic on his scholar in residence visits to the states at synagogues they almost always prefer he talk on politics. I hope Yossi doesn t mind linking this short clip of a presentation on this subject I attended at the Sephardic Education Center in Jerusalem, (yes that’s Rav Bouskila in the clip too) maybe it will inspire more congregations to invite Yossi to speak on this subject.
The music represents several trends in Israeli society:
The rise of Mizrachi empowerment particularly since the election of Menachem Begin. Up through the late 1980s the Israel broadcasting authority didnt even play this music. It was called musica ha casetot, most of the performers didnt have record contracts and sold their tapes often from performances at weddings outside the tel aviv central bus station.
The breaking down of cultural barriers between mizrachi and ashkenazi jews….although more elitist ashkenazi types favor more rock oriented musicians some israeli but mostly american/european.
Great comfort with Jewish tradition. Several collections of traditional songs performed by prominent artists feature performances with Moshe Peretz, Eyal Golan and others.
Comfort with their roots in the muslim countries with use of traditional middle eastern instruments and songs performed in Arabic.
Sarit Hadad performing Shema Yisrael
Here’s an amazing one: Nisren Kadri an Arab Israeli from Haifa (you can check a Haaretz article on her here)performing the same song on Eyal Golan’s :Eyal Golan is Calling You TV American Idol style TV show…she was a winner(the voice cracking is due to nerves she can cetainly hit the notes)...she is now touring Israeli with Eyal Golan
Koby Peretz (no relation to Moshe) perfroming with Ishtar Alabina an Egyptian born Israeli singer…I saw this one in a live performance the crowd obviously went nuts. This won an MTV world music award
The next one represents both the mizrachi influence and another trend among both ashkenazic and mizrachi pop stars returning to roots. Prominent among these are meir and evyatar banai and bary sacharof. This one is from Koby Oz a mainstream rock star (with the group Teapacks) who took a break from performing and then released an album called mizmorim neboochim (songs of the perplexed a pun on Maimonides guide to the perplexed). Here is an electronic duet with his grandfather who was a mohel, shochet, chazan and paytan (poet) in Koby’s hometown of Sderot. I heard him perform in concert where he dismissed the idea that a retun to jewish themes is a “trend” but rather simply traditionl. OZ teaches a daily talmud class at Alma the “secular” center for study of Jewish sources right of trendy rechov Shenkin in Tel Aviv.
Finally here is one that Yossi gave me the background of by Ehud Banai . Banai has also returned to his roots in performances and personal observance. This clip however is his decades later response to a poem beat poet Allen Ginzberg wrote after a trip to Israel in the 1960s. Yossi, in a presentation to young American Hillel staff he gave in Jerusalem called it the ultimate statement on the differences between American and Israeli Jews….and to think I had just loved the song while having no idea what exactly it was about.
July 16, 2012 | 5:10 am
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
It wasn’t easy to get into many of the films at the Israel Film Festival that closed last night. But Friday morning I was able to catch Sharqiya which won the award for best Israeli film at the festival. As is often the case the film and its success point to all the complexity of Israel. From the official description of the film:
Kamel lives with his brother and sister-in law at the edge of the Negev desert on land that has been in their Bedouin family since the Ottoman Empire. But since they have no paperwork to prove their ownership, their claim is disputed by the Israeli government. State officials eventually hand down an order for demolition of the family’s few small shacks. These strains take the toll on the family, exacerbating existing tensions. Kamel serves as a security guard at a central bus station. Khaled resents his brother’s willingness to work for the very government that is causing their problems, despite his reliance on Kamel’s income. When the brothers try to appeal the demolition order, even the Bedouin Authority office advises them to accept compensation and abandon their land. The situation seems hopeless, until Kamel comes up with a plan
Here’s a clip that will leave you in suspense as to the outcome of the film
The film, made by an Israeli crew is largely in Arabic with Bedouin actors(or more likely non professionals) portraying the plight of the local bedouin population living just outside of Beersheba. The film was underwritten by the Israel film fund , upon accepting the award the screenwrite r stated that he hopes the film reaches a wide audiences and changes peoples’ image of the Bedouin population in the south. As someone involved with both an Israeli student group committed to fulfilling Ben Gurion’s vision of the future of the Jewish people in the Negev and a bicultural Jewish Arab school in Beersehba—-it definitely gave me much food for thought. As with everything I encounter in Israel, just get more complicated the more you examine them.
I caught another prizewinner from the fesitval last night at the Jerusalem Theatre. Hamashgichim (God’s Neighbors in English)tells the story of some tough guys turned followers of rav nachman who decide to take it upon themselves to set the neighborhood straight in terms of its religious observance. More on the film here. In my view the twist at the end is a comment on religious coercion in Israel
The trailer is here
This is just another example of how culture, in this case film can give such a great window into Israeli culture. Fortunalely several major cities have Israel film festivals but there’s no need to wait for that. Netflix/Amazon and other sources including some libraries are full of Israeli films. Here are a few of my favorite older films that give different views of Israeli life
Summer of Aviya (1988)/Under the Dunam Tree: Based on the autobiographicalnovel by Gila Almagor now the grand lady of Israeli theatre which gives great insight into the early days of the state of Israel as seen through the eyes of a child refugee from the Holocause making her new life in Israel.
Turn Left at the End of the World (2004): the world of new immigrants in a development town in the south of Israel in the 1960s as seen through the idea of two young immigrant women: one from North Africa and one from India.
James Journey to Jerusalem (2003) A young Priest sent from his African congregation on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem his trip becomes a bit different and a great insight into both the plight of foreign workers and the meaning of that great Israeli sin “being a a “fryer”.
July 12, 2012 | 4:30 am
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
I have had on my to blog list (which is long and getting longer) writing something on the cultural connection. A few recent chavayot (experiences) have gotten me motivated to begin a series of entries on contemporary Israeli culture.
I was particularly motivated after attending an evening program connected with the seminar for American Rabbis which takes place every July. One of the presenters was Arthur Green who like his co presenter David Ellenson (Dean of HUC) was not shy about criticizing current Israeli policies and expressing a deep close connection to the country.
Green was certainly a stronger critic. But he might have surprised the group in his response to a question from the audience. When asked how the Rabbis could create a greater connection to Israel among his congregants I have no doubt that many (including me) expected an answer connected to politics. Instead his response was that the American Jews should gain greater exposure for the great cultural outpouring from Israel ranging from popular culture to the Jewish scholarship as evidenced by an academic conference on kabbala he was attending.
I couldn’t agree more. The cultural output is overwhelming. Everyday I open the “galereya” section of Haaretz to find notices for art exhibits, concerts, and academic conferences open to the public, pop concerts, etc etc.
Two examples: tonight July 12 at the Israel Museum is Contact Point an all-night event (actually until 3 am) with interactive exhibition. It seems Israelis are very into all-nighters Btw I learned that layla lavan the name of that all-nighter in tlv has a double entrendre layla lavan refers to tel aviv as the white city and an all-night training mission in the army is called a layala lavan
For something quite different there is the international festival of puppet film and theatre in Holon. The Tel Aviv suburb of Holon h itself has become a center for the arts with lts of public art a cutting edge arts museum and many arts education programs….and the year round puppet theatre.
Why is the cultural connection so important? It has the potential to give a more multifaceted connection and insight with a dynamic culture rather than what is often a limited view dominated by political issues. Even if American Jews often do not share a common language with Israelis—-or the common language they share is English—there are plenty of opportunities to gain access to Israeli cultural life even without making the trip. In future blog entries I will be writing about film, literature and music.
July 5, 2012 | 12:16 pm
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
Sometimes its good to have a reality check on the main current events in Israel seen here rather than through the prism of the world media, the jewish media and American Jews’ perspective on Israel.
Just like the summer social protests of last year had nothing to do with the Palestinian issue or Iran so too the current crisis that may lead to the breaking up of the 5 week old coalition 94 (out of 120) governing coalition. Perhaps Time magazine was a little premature in crowning f an all powerful King Bibi. The possible breakup is over the issue of “sharing the burden ” referring to the enlisted of now exempt haredi yeshiva students into military or national service.
Those interested in the details can turn to the english language websites of haaretz and yediot acharanot…or the hebrew ones, You can also watch a full broadcast of the evening news as well as an English news report from Israel’s channel 1 (israel broadcasting authority_..
Amongf those pushing hardest for reform include the group congregated in” ohel ha freirim” at kikar rabin in Tel Aviv that’s roughly translated as “tent of the chumps” . There’s probably nothing Israelis want to avoid than being a “frier”.
One motto to avoid being a freyer is ” never pay retail”...which likely explains why to an Israeli ( in Israel of in LA ) every price is negotiable.
I thought I would just mention the issue here.
Two interesting pictures here.
The first an ad for a demonstration saturday night with the major headline “we are tired of being friers” the rest of the text is highly political so I’ll leave the translation to others.
The second a wry commentary on Bibi and Mofaz the caption is Bibi telling Mofaz “I’ll call you a cab”.
July 4, 2012 | 6:54 pm
Posted by LW Ben Yechezkiel
Layla Lavan had a different wrinkle this year as groups associated with the social protest movement—-which was so large…but not so successful last summer—staging counter events. Some artists and art galleries also declined to participate in reaction to the police treatment of protesters the previous saturday night.
But (literally) the show did go on. With stages with musicians and other performers…and large crowds up and downschild Boulevard. The place was filled with high schoolers making an all nighter of it wandering the streets of Tel Aviv .Apparently all congregated at Gordon Beach to hang and watch the sunrise. (yea just like in NY or LA),
I made by way up to Tsuk Beach in northern Tel Aviv—a beautiful not commercialized beach north of the nemal parallel to Ramat Aviv. It’s a great spot a totally different feel than the main Tel Aviv beaches and a place I have never visited. Amazing this kind of beach could be so close to the cacophony of the beach along the tayelet. Btw believe it or not there are now staff of the city of Tel Aviv who move those playing matkot (that paddle game which is pretty treacherous for the passerby) to a designated area on the beach…and even more amazing the Israelis comply.
But I digress
I got to the outdoor concert at Tsuk Beach a bit late ( 2 am ) to miss the opening act the great Bary Sacharof a top Israeli pop performer who—like many others—has put out an album with traditional themes.The areas was crowded with people of all ages. There was a concession selling beer all night and not a single incident of unruly behavior (yea just like the states)
The final act pop veteran Dany Sanderson who got his start in Israeli pop music with the group Kaveret (Poogy). The concert closed at sunrise with Sanderson singing one of his most popular Poogy songs and baby boomers and their kids singing and dancing along thrusting their hands in the air screaming Yo Ya. As a fellow baby boomer I remember Poogy songs being favorites many years ago at Young Judaea’s Camp Tel Yehuda..
I grabbed one of the hourly rental bikes in Tel Aviv which you can pick up and drop off at various sites around the city (14 shekel for the day) and rode back on a beautiful part of the bike trail until iI got to the Nemal (port) and grabbed a cup of my coffee at the Aroma along with some very tired high schoolers. I then jumped on one of the sheruts which serve as a bus alternative to crash at my friend’s (an ex UCLA shaliach) in the bohemian/industrial Florentin district to crash a bit before heading back to Jerusalem. My fellow passengers on the sherut were a group of high school girls who apparently had come in (unaccompanied) to Tel Aviv for the night from Afula (!) (the cultural equivalent of travelling from Kansas to Manhattan)..yea just like in the states.
here’s the video of the same song by the children of the baby boomers
Yes it was a chavaya.