Israel's Good Name

Pesach (Part 2)

In Galilee, Israel on April 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Continuing with the festivities of Passover (Pesach), here is a brief account of Wednesday – our last trip day:

The morning started pleasantly enough but then the clouds rolled in from the West and the rain began to pitter-patter. Our hopes of making it to the last day of the Ma’alot Stone in the Galilee Symposium were seemingly dashed. The much-anticipated Ehud Banai concert was also hanging in limbo… But then the rain stopped and the sun came back out. The concert was already rescheduled to be held at the Heichal Tarbut of Ma’alot – that same beautiful performance hall that hosted the Lahakat Droz and Dudu Tassa concerts that I wrote about some time back (here). We drove down to the lake and found that the festivities were somewhat closed down and although the sculptures were finished and standing erect for inspection and approval, the long line of boothes that wrapped partway around the lake were mostly closed and abandoned. So we examined the sculptures.

''Cyclic Growth'' by Annabella Claudia Hofman (Italy)

I cannot make up my mind as to which sculpture appealed to me the most – every year I seem to have the same problem. Some of them are downright dastardly, but there are always a few that I like, at least marginally. Here is another sculpture worth mentioning – this one was the topic of social commentary, the Chinese oppression of the Chinese people:

''Captured Stone'' by Liu Yang (China)

There were other nice sculptures which weren’t adequately captured by my camera including a pomegranate/grenade (the same word in Hebrew) and one resembling waterfalls. But there were other areas of the festival beckoning, including the peaceful garden area where picnickers flock:

The peaceful part of Lake Monfort

Of course the paddle-boats and kayaks were in operation, endlessly circling and criss-crossing the placid little lake. But it was in this peaceful section, away from the hum of commercialized vacationing, that we loitered in.

In the gardens area of Lake Monfort

Upon return to the house we ate and got ready for the free concert of Ehud Banai which was to start at 8:00 PM, he-who-comes-first-gets-in-until-capacity-style. We drove down at about 8:15, not thinking that it would be too full – there is the general lackadaisical approach to scheduled times and the fact of the venue-change that might not have been known to all – but we were wrong, very wrong. My sister and I stood outside in the chilly night air, waiting for the front doors to open. But they weren’t, and the clock was ticking. Eventually, after so many people lost heart and returned to their houses, the side door was opened and all who remained outside made their way indoors. It was some time later, after standing fruitlessly at the inside door, hearing the faint music inside, that the purge began. Security guards and officials began to tell everyone to leave, that the concert had already begun and that there was no chance they were getting in. I was standing at the door, wearing the exact clothes as the picture above this paragraph so one of the guards asked if I was guarding/working in the building. I nodded “no,” and then nodded “yes” very excitedly but he already saw me confirming my capacity as a guest/wannabe concert goer. During the purge we simply sat down on one of the many couches strewn about the room and waited it out. By then there were only some thirty-odd people still clinging on to the hope that they would be admitted. Eventually a benovelent guard opened one of the doorways and allowed people to stand in the doorway, barely seeing but indeed hearing the concert within. Here we were, looking like a lame group that couldn’t manage to get in:

Hearing the concert from the outer room

But eventually, some two and a half hours after we arrived at the building, one of the guards hand-selected us for admittance. The system they had was for every person that left, a person would be allowed in. There are only 495 seats in the auditorium and they claimed that nearly 800 people were crammed inside. The guard cleared a tiny path for us and we were semi-literally flung into the dark room. We were glad and made our way to a decent level where we were able to see the concert.

Ehud Banai Concert 1

But after some time, and some of the crowd thought the concert was over, we made our way closer to the stage. Ehud Banai came back out and began the longest encore I’ve ever heard.

Ehud Banai Concert 2

Now, just to give a brief explanation as to who this singer is, Ehud Banai is an Israeli legend. In 2005 Ynet had a poll asking Israelis who they thought were the greatest Israelis ever. Ehud Banai merited to be #28 on the list, beating out old Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Israel’s most decorated soldier (now turned Leftist saboteur) Ehud Barak. Beginning his musical career in the London Underground after his military service, Ehud Banai rose to become a music icon in Israeli society. Had I known his music beforehand I would have had a greater appreciation for his concert but I knew that despite my ignorance, there were millions who would have come in my place, so I’d better enjoy myself. Towards the very end of his show we made our way to the stage itself, and I reached out to touch it, just to say that I touched the stage at an Ehud Banai concert. Here he is, the man of the hour, Ehud Banai, up close and personal:

Ehud Banai

And that concert concluded the festivities of Chol HaMoed, Thursday was a day of cooking and preparation for the end day of Pesach, and the subsequent Shabbat.

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