There were bonfires all over Jerusalem the other night because of this Jewish Festival that celebrates the writer of the Kabalah. From what I could see the tradition is make huge bonfires and then the men dance and sing around it while the women watch from the sidelines. The first bonfire we went to was pretty hopping. It was so strange to me to see these grown men in formal suits and beards dancing around the bonfire. The women stood on the edges watching with the little girls. It was completely fascinating for me.
I had one of those moments when I was walking the streets where I felt every penny I paid for this study abroad was worth it to just to have an experience like this. There are always the big monumental sites that I’ve looked forward to going to like the Garden of Gethsemane or walking the Great Wall or going to Jane Austen’s house or seeing the Amazon but sometimes the small moments on the street where I feel like I am a part of the life going around me are the moments that make me feel alive and bring the thrill back into traveling. I had one of those moments in Suzhou, China watching a group of street performers. I loved being a part of that big crowd of Chinese people clapping along to the music, singing and swaying. I remember going to the grocery store in London and loving the British flags that lined the baskets of fruit. We got on the bus with all our sacks of groceries and I was so excited that we looked like we lived in London with all our groceries even with our American accents. It was one of those moments walking through Me’a She’arim this week moving from bonfire to bonfire that made me feel that I hadn’t just visited Jerusalem but that I been there long enough to love it.
Sorry this picture is really blurry. They wanted the two boys in our group to join in the dancing so they joined the circle even though they had no idea what to do. It was hilarious. I was really wishing I was a boy because I wanted to go dance with all the men too. My Just Dance moves were just itching to come out :)
This Jewish man started talking to the two guys in our group. It was interesting that when any of the girls tried to talk to him or ask him a question he wouldn't really respond or interact with us. He only spoke with the guys.