Only in Israel

24 06 2007

So, I’m still madly in love with this country.  It’s really wonderful. 

I don’t have great internet access, so I’ve barely been having time to check and answer my personal emails from family and friends, much less post on any blogs, but I just had this quick story to share that I thought was amusing. 

I was on the ambulance today talking to the very secular Israeli medic volunteer about how this was my first time in Israel, and how I hadn’t really gotten a chance to see much of anything.  Now, on the ambulance it’s very clear that I’m religious, since only the religous girls are there wearing skirts over their pants (We have to wear pants, since we can’t have any of our leg not covered by fairly thick fabric for safty reasons, and I really don’t want to be dealing with a long skirt dragging in whatever fluids a person on an ambulance might be leaking.)  He asked if I had gotten a chance to visit the Kotel yet, and when I said yes, but only for a very very short time, he said that I had to go again, and that if I didn’t get a chance to go on my own before the end of the program, to let him know, and he would drive me out there personally so I would get a chance to spend some time at the Kotel.  Now, keep in mind, I’m stationed in Bat Yam, so it’s a 45 minute drive to Jerusalem, much less the Old City from where I am.  I just love the fact that people here will offer to go that far out of their way for someone they don’t really know, to do something that doesn’t matter too much to them, but they know will matter to the person they would be doing a favor for.  🙂  It just made me smile. 

 Have a wonderful week everyone!  I’ll try to post more later! (at this point, I’m thinking I’ll be best able to talk about my trip by just writing a lot of detailed posts at the end of the summer rather than trying to write up substandard ones now.  We’ll see what happens though.)



14 06 2007

Israel is amazing so far.  I’m staying in Jerusalem for the next week or so, and then I’m off to Bat Yam for the volunteer part of the program.  As I suspected, the program definatly self selects only pretty nice people, and everyone so far is quite interesting.

 We’re touring around the city in the next couple of days, which I’m looking forward to, since I havn’t really gotten a chance to see much other than the youth hostel we’re at for the course yet.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time to write, since I need to be back in class in a couple of minutes, but I just wanted to say that I’m loving it here so far.  This is going to be an awsome summer. 🙂

The Glory of the Human Voice

1 06 2007

Last week I saw a play about Florence Foster Jenkins.  There are numerous recordings of her singing out there, and it’s spectacularly bad.  She has little to no sense of pitch, and an even looser concept of rhythm and tempo, slowing down the tricky parts to whatever pace she wanted, evening out complicated rhythms, changing keys with reckless abandon to move the notes to where she could, well, make them.  However, with all of that, she still managed to play Carnegie Hall, in a solo concert.  Now, when I first heard these recordings, I thought she was just a nut, that she was totally and completely delusional, with little connection to the real world, at least as far as her singing went.  But thinking about it more, I wonder if it wasn’t something deeper, and a bit sweeter. Perhaps it wasn’t that she was just insane, or deaf, but that she had faith that one who appreciated music as much as she did (and she did appreciate and care about music deeply, as she often criticised her accompanist, or other musicians, and appears to have a good sense of music when anyone but her was playing it), how could one who cared that much about music be anything but gifted at singing?  And she just went forward on that perfect faith that the world could not be so unfair as to grant one who cared so much no talent.  Clearly she was a gifted singer; she loved singing! That almost childlike faith got her into Carnegie hall, despite an obvious lack of musical performance ability.  She believed so strongly that she was talented, that she heard something entirely different from what the rest of the world heard.   There’s something to be said for that sort of utter confidence, to be so sure of yourself that nothing can convince you that you are anything but a success.  It is, perhaps, better to throw yourself out there, and take the risk, utterly convinced that you will succeed (even if the rest of the world thinks you’re a joke), than to hide in the shadows, unwilling to try. 

“People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

-Florence Foster Jenkins