Saturday evening, my roommate and I were on Livnot's roof balcony, sharing songs, sharing conversation, when we heard music coming from the streets. We first found some former Livnot-ers playing banjo and guitar to a small crowd in an alley. We stayed for a few minutes and continued on, discovering a powerful scene in the Kikar, the square. Two guys with guitars and one with a flute, all in Tsfat studying for a few months, had started to play and sing. A huge crowd of men and boys in uniform black and white surrounded them, all soulfully singing Hebrew songs. It was honestly better than any of the concerts from the Klezmer festival just a few days before. The spontaneity, the joy... it was magnetic. We sat for hours until they finished, sometime after 1am, then headed to bed. For me, that meant the roof, where I'd been sleeping under the stars all week. There is nothing better.
Well, maybe there is... sleeping under the stars out in nature. I set out on a multi-day string of water hikes on Monday. I hitched to a Druze village about an hour from Tsfat to meet my friends (two chevre from Birthright, and one new, and instantly good, friend from another Livnot program), and start our hike. We hiked [what seemed like] straight up a mountain, only to head back down to some springs, circled around the mountain, then headed to our camping spot of the night. We made a fire -- once we located dry enough wood -- and roasted vegetables, shared quotes, and tried to sleep. Tried. Mosquitoes and barking dogs that thought it was cool to sit on sleeping humans' heads made for difficult sleeping conditions. The following day, we hiked along a river from Abbirim to near Naharia, camped on a beautiful overlook in a place called Achziv, sharing wine and watermelon on the beach. We headed to Rosh Hanikra the next day, spending our afternoon viewing beautiful grottoes and bodysurfing at the beach until sunset. We did a fair amount of hitching between places that were either un-hike-able, or just really unenjoyable hikes (along roads, through banana farms...), sometimes dancing on the side of the road to entice potential drivers. Yeah, that didn't work. But having an actor along for the ride definitely brought out my suppressed inner musical theatre self in a way that hasn't happened in a LONG time. It was fun to revisit, if only for a few days
That gets us to today. Tel Aviv. I wasn't too excited to come back here, but it's been lovely. I've gotten to catch up with some friends and spend time with new chevre. Nothing to complain about there! Tomorrow I will head to Modi'in to spend shabbat with my friend Shira, a bat sherut from Livnot, and her family. From there? Jerusalem... It's under two weeks until I leave, a thought that saddens me quite a lot, and I cannot think of anywhere else I'd rather spend my last few days in Israel. Well, last few days of this trip, anyway.
"The way of Jerusalem is a way of exaltation. She is so much more than what you see." Abraham Joshua Heschel