Thursday, August 26, 2010

אופרה בהפתעה בדיזינגוף סנטר - A Surprise Opera in the heart of Tel Aviv

A surprise burst of song in a Tel Aviv food court. Trust Israeli ingenuity to think of novel ways of bringing opera to the masses!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Since this is my first post, I thought I would explain my choice of picture which ‎seems to encapsulate the theme of this blog. In the photo, I am standing in front of a ‎booth at the well-known book festival in Jerusalem called Shavua HaSefer (Book Week). ‎This annual week-long celebration of books takes place in numerous locations all over ‎Israel. Since I happened to be in Israel this June, I was finally able to attend this festival ‎for the first time. I must say that more than anything, I was struck by the sheer vitality of ‎the event. ‎

Not only was I impressed by the enormous number of Israeli book publishers ‎displaying their wares (and in a country as tiny as Israel, this alone deserves mention), ‎but the different sorts of people buying books was what astounded me most. From men in ‎Hasidic garb to women with shaved heads and tattoos (with most of the crowd falling ‎somewhere in between) the people were certainly as colorful as the displays themselves. I ‎found it fascinating to observe this full range of types ---religious, secular, Jew, Arab, ‎old, young--- all coming to the same place for the singular purpose of finding that right ‎book. And done with such fervor. I sometimes found that I could barely get close to some of ‎the booths as the hunting was so intense. ‎

‎ I was also impressed by the large number of families with children attending
the ‎festival. There were no rides or amusements for the children (other than a few free ‎balloons at some of the booths) ---just heaps and heaps of books. As I roamed between ‎the rows of books, I couldn’t help thinking that this may be one of the most telling ‎features of life in Israel: despite all the anguish of the past, the people of the Book, like ‎wide-eyed children, are still excited at the prospect of a book.‎