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‘What a country!’

Last week, FZY’s Movement Team got in touch with the wonderful Noah Efron—previously a member of our partner movement in USA (Young Judaea) and now a professor at Israel’s Bar Ilan University—about sharing a little of his incredible Promised Podcast via The Young Zionist, our ideological journal/blog/vlog that we share on Facebook.


Please enjoy Noah Efron & his Promised Podcast musings on what makes Tel Aviv such a special, and distinctly Jewish, city. The transcript - below - looks and reads like glorious and gorgeous poetry...





Fighting here to the studio, uh dodging the buses


and the trucks and the cars, things were like


they always are but yesterday and the night


before on Yom Kippur when the buses and the


trucks and cars stopped and the streets are taken


over by people congregating or walking or riding


bikes or scooters. Everything was different and


here are few of the things that I saw:


Someone took out a


bunch of garden chairs and set them up in a


semi circle right in the middle of the street and



then, when I came back a few minutes later, they



were filled with people each holding a beer



arguing loudly, already about politics.



On Nordau, I saw



sitting in the middle of the street two little



kids, brothers I think, one maybe two years old and



the other three. They're very little kids and



each of them holding in each hand


toy trucks.



And they're rolling them up and down on the pavement, while



saying something like vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom,



as their parents at on the bench in the middle of



the boulevard watching them. They were playing



cars on the black top of the street itself and



they were apoplecticly happy about having their



cars right in the middle of the street.



Now on



the corner of Ibn Gvirol and Jabotinsky, after



Kol nidre,



there was a circle of maybe a hundred or



a hundred and fifty people singing songs into the



night in that intersection.



Just up the block



from us, also on Nordau,



the folks who had just



finished building a duplex on the roof of a



building renovated to be earthquake proof on



Tuesday night - the night of Kol Nidre - and they had a



cocktail party on the roof and there were folks



leaning over the rail with drinks looking down at



the huge crowds below and talking and laughing.



On Dizengoff, I saw a 10 year-old crash his skateboard



at a pretty high speed into the curb and go



tumbling off, rolling into the middle of the



street and then, as everyone gasped, as they


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00:01:45,460 --> 00:01:47,360

were silenced for a moment in the street... He



laughs and he grabs his board and he skates away.



On Yarkon. A herd of kids on bikes. Maybe



there are 40 of them. I think they were a class


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00:01:54,600 --> 00:01:56,740

of kids. Maybe, like third graders, or fourth



graders and they stop then one of them yelled out



hey 'where is Gal?' and they all stopped to look



around and try to figure out where their



classmate had gotten lost. And I saw maybe two



dozen times someone on the Street, throw



themselves around the neck of someone coming the



other way, saying oh my Gd, it's been so long



since I've seen you and stopping to talk now.






Everyone knows that Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv



is something unlike anything else in that on this



day of pollution levels go down by 99 percent and



that you can hear the songs of birds on that day



that cannot be heard on any other day of the year



and that it is the most festive and magical day



of the year on the streets of the city. It's been



often observed that there is a great contrast



between what happens on the two thousand



streets of the city of Tel Aviv and what happens



in the 500 synagogues of the city. The



synagogues, it is said, are gripped by solemnity, and



the streets by life, gaiety which is right of



course, but it's also completely wrong. Tumbling



out into the thronging streets after Kol Nidre,



I felt again how the celebration outside was



somehow a continuation, not an interruption of



the introspection inside and I rolled this around



my mind all day and I spoke to some people about



it and I thought about how Heschel had said that



he had as I've already mentioned, on the show...



He marched, he prayed with his feet, but that's not it



really. That's too pretty a thought and the



people in the streets are not at all praying:



It's disrespectful to what they're doing to call



it that. And so I came to this which is also



wrong. But maybe it's closer.


What we were doing



in both places in the Synagogue and the Street



was that we were narrowing. We were making



ourselves smaller. In the synagogue, we made a



world briefly in which there's no eating and



drinking or work. Nothing against ourselves



and each other and maybe God. In the Street we



made the world briefly in which there is no 'far



away'; There is only here and there are no buses



and cars to take us elsewhere and there's no



noise except for ourselves and the noises that we



make. And in both places,



making things in ourselves narrower smaller, less



able, you feel around you this great rising up of



life itself. The kind of surging of spirit... a



surging of sociability and an emanation of



human energy itself. In the power of leaving your



chavura (Jewish study group) after Kol Nidre to see kids tumbling and



babies pushing cars through the streets and



crowds singing in intersections is that you feel



like that thing that you're struggling to reach



when you're wearing your Tallit (prayer shawl) that connection,



that depth, that meaning... it's everywhere



everywhere, everywhere when you look outside in the


sacred community, that is Tel Aviv - Jaffa.





Listen here or download in your favourite podcast app!


https://www.facebook.com/promisedpodcast/

https://tlv1.fm/podcasts/the-promised-podcast-show/






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