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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Photo, um, Tuesday [Lag B'Omer Edition]

Sunset last night marked the beginning of the 33rd day in the counting of the Omer... otherwise known as 'Lag B'Omer'.

Anyone interested in the background of this quasi-holiday can follow the link above.  But for the purposes of this post all you need to understand is that as the sun came up this morning (yes, please kill me now because I was awake to see it rise) the entire country smelled like a big smokey 'Medurah' (bonfire).

I would love to see an aerial photo of the country taken at night on Lag B'Omer.  Talk about a thousand (more like hundreds of thousands, actually) points of light!

As in past years, the families on our street got together for a nice neighborhood potluck medurah/sing-a-long.  Most of the neighborhood kids went to their own fires around town (either with friends or under the auspices of one of the youth groups), and the rest stayed closer to home.

Some people sat nearby and sang around small family bonfires...


While others combined forces for more substantial neighborhood gatherings:


In addition to the traditional potatoes and onions that were roasted right in the fire... we also had a couple of grills working full time on hot dogs, hamburgers and wings... complimented by tables filled with salads of every description, fresh pita and lots of cold drinks and local wine.

Speaking of tables... one logistical problem that presented itself early in the evening was that we needed two tables for setting out the food, but we only had one.  In a classic example of Israeli ingenuity and improvisation, some of the wood that had been earmarked for immolation was diverted to create a very serviceable table (and yes... once the food was finished the 'table' went up in smoke):


One thing I've noticed since moving here is that Israelis seem to be among the least self-conscious people on the planet when it comes to singing around a fire.  Little things like not knowing the words or not being able to carry a tune never stopped an Israeli from joining in with gusto and belting out everything from classic folk-songs from pioneering days... to modern pop favorites. 

That kind of enthusiasm is simply infectious... and it's nearly impossible not to join in.


There is an innocence about such a gathering that neither words not pictures can accurately convey.  You simply have to be there.

So please consider this your open invitation to join us next year.

Oh... one more important thing:  If you'd like to celebrate Lag B'Omer by listening to two of my favorite blogging personalities singing what is destined to become a blogosphere classic... go here or here.  Funny stuff.


Posted by David Bogner on May 16, 2006 | Permalink


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sounds like you had a fun time there.

and from what i remember of when i was in israel, i'm sure the whole country was a bit smoky in the morning!

(and an aerial photo would be amazing, especially of the old city... the children there had bonfires set up all over the rooftops there.)

Posted by: Sarah | May 16, 2006 3:02:55 PM

Thanks for sharing the photos, I've been learning some Israeli folksongs myself, thanks to the internet AND it's been really fun... something I noticed is that the beats are faster than the dancing styles (esp. the one where a circular pattern is formed and the dancing parties hold each others hands or waists)... i don't see that one on the photos??

Anyway, my personal favorite is the one which has yerushalayim X 3 as the chorus and it's got alot of clapping and humming.

Posted by: pk | May 16, 2006 3:19:04 PM

"There is an innocence about such a gathering that neither words not pictures can accurately convey. You simply have to be there."

The same can be said when you go to a town square and see the kids folkdancing (or at least they use to do that when I was living there.)

It looks and sounds like an awesome time. I wish they did that in the communities where I live.

Posted by: jaime | May 16, 2006 3:37:57 PM

"blogging personalities", eh? So now I'm like the Charles Nelson Reilly of the blogosphere.

Posted by: psychotoddler | May 16, 2006 4:03:59 PM

Yes, the only thing burning here last night was my fag, probably. We didn't do a thing. *banhs head on wall*

I followed the link, had managed to fully miss it. :DDD Is that Black Adder in drag??

Posted by: Lioness | May 16, 2006 4:12:52 PM

Thanks for the praise and the link, Trep.

Sounds like you had a great time. I hope you get some sleep.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | May 16, 2006 4:18:57 PM

It does sound fun...(though another photo op with kids missed - damn! Must've been too busy singin', huh?!)

Posted by: val | May 16, 2006 4:51:11 PM

yeah, i love fire, i played with some last night also...*eyes darting left and right suspiciously*

its all about the meat...

Posted by: Tonny | May 16, 2006 5:43:36 PM

So nice to see the photos! Just another day at work for me...but I AM enjoying my music, finally!

Posted by: Essie | May 16, 2006 6:56:32 PM

each year when you post about this great event it makes me want to have one here...and get some friends to sing along. altho i think i would have trouble aquiring a fire permit in this stuffy little town.

Posted by: lisa | May 16, 2006 7:03:57 PM

Oh gosh, with each tempting post, you make me more and more eager to go exploring the Wild Wild East already. This looks absolutely fantastic!

Posted by: Irina | May 17, 2006 3:18:15 AM

Great mention of the Israeli lack of self-consciousness. reminds me of a few years back whan an Israeli pop star played New York....All the people in the exp[ensive seats were outsinging the performer.... even for what the cheap seats cost I wanted to hear HIM sing....What an American i am....Love to all

Posted by: Shmiel | May 17, 2006 8:56:51 AM

Sarah... When I wrote that I was actually hoping that someone would send me a link to such a photo but no such luck. :-)

PK... There are actually about 100 songs that have 'yerushalayim' as the refrain. :-)

Jaime... When I was in college here I used to go fold dancing every week. I doubt there are too many college kids in the US going square dancing. :-)

Psychotoddler... Exactly! :-)

Lioness... I thought you were going to stop that!!!

Doctor Bean... yeah right. what's that again?

Val... I'm gonna have to put a web cam in their rooms so you can dial in and watch them whenever you want! :-)

Tonny... Hope nobody got hurt.

Essie... No haircut? :-)

Lisa... Fairfield was/is just as uptight about such things and we managed to get a permit every year. The trick is to make sure it is in a place where there is easy access to firetrucks (meaning you can't do it way off the beaten track) and make sure you coordinate with the local fire department so they are aware of it when the inevitable phone calls come in about the smell of smoke. One year the fire department even came at the end to help up put it out and give their new guys some training.

Irina... What, they don't do this sort of thing in Manhattan Beach? :-)

Shmiel... I'm thinking of the Poogy concert we went to where everyone in the audience was singing along so loud we could barely hear the performers. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 17, 2006 3:47:06 PM

Fold Dancing??? : )

Posted by: jaime | May 18, 2006 10:35:23 PM

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