Maybe the post-apocalyptic parking situation was a tip-off. The overcapacity of automobiles surrounding Woodley Park seemed to confirm that this year's Israeli Independence Day Festival outdid itself in terms of spectacle and attendance. An estimated 50,000 attended, festival director Yoram Gutman confirmed, making this year's festival the biggest yet. As Gutman told The Journal, "There are so many Israelis who live in the Valley, so maybe that has something to do with it. I never saw so many Persian Jews and American Jews."
Everything looked normal under the columns of the main entrance of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater - a full house, lots of people eager for tickets and scalpers asking for $15, which is a lot for Moscow.But the performance inside was a departure for the Bolshoi. Through its 200-year history, the Bolshoi has been famous for classical ballet and opera, but it was also the scene where Lenin and Trotsky spoke to ardent revolutionary crowds and Stalin greeted mass gatherings of his secret police officers during the great purges of the 1930s.