For Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, doing the unexpected is standard fodder; so it should come as no surprise that her new single, "Symphony of Brotherhood" (featuring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech weaving in and out of an extended string solo) topped the charts just one month after its radio release.
When, not so long ago, the director of an Israeli nonprofit organization noticed that an employee would appear at work every Sunday morning so fatigued that he could barely function, he issued him a stern warning to "stop partying so hard on Saturday nights."
The gaunt-looking employee burst into tears, explaining that he had not eaten since Thursday afternoon, when he received his last hot meal of the week at work.
"Hi, uh, I need to prepare for the war," I awkwardly told the clerk at the Tel Aviv branch of Home Center. Somewhere in my tree-lined Northern Califonia brain, I expected him to have no idea what I was talking about. Instead, he efficiently led me to a section replete with full body chemical protection gear, fire extinguishers, battery-operated radios and lights, a miniature Port-o-Potty for the sealed-off room of choice in one's apartment and what seemed like miles and miles of plastic and tape for covering windows, doors and every other conceivable means of ventilation. Forget chemical weapons. I could just imagine myself suffocating from no oxygen.