Day 1-Part 1
Today we drove about an hour and half from Tel Aviv to a small community center (Eshkol Ha Pais) in Be’er Sheva. I must admit that I might have dozed a bit during the drive but not before our first camel sighting! And as a side note, except for a few camels here and there, the landscape was interchangeable with that of any drive thru PA. But I digress…
So, we arrive for an 11am show to play for about 250 Bedouin and Jewish students from local high schools. Can you say diversity?
Throughout our careers we (I’ve) played tons of shows for high school and college students. Sometimes even in remote towns in the nooks and cranies of the US but its safe to say that we (I) have NEVER played for kids that have NEVER heard american music AT ALL.
And then here we come blazing in!
Ha! Culture shock indeed!
We played for about an hour and it was hard to read some of the faces. Some were visibly interested and clapping, swaying.. But some look away or look down and you can’t help but wonder if they are bored, shy or not comfortable with what is happening onstage. Or all of the above!
After the show we just sat along the edge of the stage. It took a few brave souls to break the ice but after that it seemed they all came up to say hello, teach us how to say hello, tell us their names, take pictures and some just to stare. One boy couldn’t wait to tell me he loved Eric Clapton! One girl, pretty well covered up and with great english skills came up quickly to say how lucky she felt to have been at the show. Before I realized it she was gone and I was left wanting to tell her it was the other way around. That WE were the lucky ones.
Day 1 - Part Two, Jerusalem
As I write, I’m relaxing in my luxurious King David Hotel room and it is safe to say that our hosts spared no expense on these accommodations. I feel like a pampered woman…well, that’s not quite true. I feel like I was hit by a bus and then the bus driver threw it in reverse and dragged me around a little for fun. Aside from that tho, def pampered.
Between the jet lag and our schedule it’s hard to know what’s coming next. I do however know where I just was! And THAT my good friends was a lovely theatre in the heart of Jerusalem filled with shiny happy people (and even some american transplants).
We were fortunate to have a local all girl band called Tarantina open the show for us. They were kind and gracious and we were happy to have them share the stage with us. Right now I’m also hoping I got the spelling right on the band name??
As for the show, there is something surreal about having just played in Jerusalem. I mean, 1 hour prior we were walking the halls of the old city and laying eyes on some of the most sacred places in the world. Religious or not religious, there is just such a sense of history here that it can be overwhelming. I wonder if the people that live here have a sense of that or if they’ve just become accustomed to it? Sort of like the statue of liberty or the empire state building in NY. I barely even notice them anymore let alone think of their origin.
Note to self: ask a few locals what it feels like to live in such a historically rich place.
I will say, as an american woman, that it is strange to be in a place where old traditions are still very much a fabric of society. What I mean is things like the separation of men and women - at the Western (wailing) wall for example, I almost walked into an area where it was men only. I was really just lost in thought, looking at all the buildings, taking it all in and walking down the primary pathway. I’m not sure why but all of a sudden I felt a nerve twitch and realized I was way too many steps into an area where I was not meant to be. Once I scurried to a neutral zone, I looked at the big picture to find that the women were in a space perhaps 1/3 the size of that alloted to the men. Not only that but the women were jammed into their little area whereas the men had heaps of wall to pray along. I realize I know way too little about the cultural significance of the division but at the very least can we not broaden the space for the ladies? Must it be so vastly insignificant compared to that dedicated for the male prayers?
I’m rambling and it’s late but I do love that we are here and as you well know by now, it is high time I snuggled in.