This article is a respite from my previous piece, “Living under fire of missiles” (Jewish Independent, May 26), which was about the Islamic Jihad missile that hit a house just around the corner from me during Israel’s most recent flare up with Gaza. It was cathartic writing that article, as it was this one – moving on, as we Israelis do. So, here’s something a bit lighter.
First, a call out to Burton Cummings about Israel’s first flute festival, held at the beginning of June in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, Burton – who effortlessly played a beautiful sounding flute solo in the Guess Who’s hit song “Undone” – didn’t attend. OK, he was probably unaware of the event. But I suggest that Mattan Klein, founder and artistic director of the festival, reach out to the legendary Canadian singer, songwriter, Guess Who lead and flutist to arrange for his attendance at next year’s festivities. I’ll be first in line for tickets.
The definition of irony? Israel, the Jewish state, is facing a critical shortage of doctors. According to a recent OECD report, Israel has 10% fewer doctors per 1,000 people compared to other developed nations. That’s 3.3 doctors versus a 3.7 OECD average. No wonder I must wait so long to see a specialist. Anyway, I guess “my child the doctor” is bragging rights reserved for the diaspora Jewish parent.
Speaking of bragging rights. According to the Naturist Society, Israel’s Metsoke Dragot Beach is considered one of the 20 best nudist beaches – in the world! Along with Wreck Beach in Vancouver. Metsoke Dragot is located somewhat off the beaten track, along the western shore of the Dead Sea. A black mud rubdown anybody? And, speaking of irony, it’s only a half hour drive from Jerusalem, the world’s holiest city.
Speaking of clothes. Or lack thereof. First off, kudos to Noa Kirel, who came third in this year’s Eurovision song contest. Her performance was simply spectacular as she sang her new hit song, “Unicorn.” Is the song’s meaning related to Israel’s standout status as a “unicorn” nation? Unicorns being high-tech startups worth more than a billion dollars!
Or, does it relate to how much of the world may perceive us? To wit, Kirel sings: “Hey, you don’t like the way I’m talking / Hey, so you stand there keep on callin’ me names / No, I’m not your enemy…. Hey, do you wanna check my DNA? / Older stories, time to go away / And believe in fairytales…. I’m gonna stand here like a unicorn / Out here on my own / I got the power of a unicorn / Don’t you even learn?” The song goes on to say that we don’t have to be caught in a loop, that we “can write a new book / Don’t you wanna change it now?”
But back to Noa’s attire. The day after her stunning performance in Liverpool, England, esteemed United Torah Judaism lawmaker Member of the Knesset Moshe Gafni, had the chutzpah to comment on her wardrobe. Telling – no, lecturing – the Knesset that he is considering donating her some clothes, clearly insinuating she was not modestly enough attired during her performance. Give me a break, Gafni!
Speaking of modesty…. While every community has the right to define its own standards, I think the pharmacy in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak went too far by covering the faces of women models on boxes of hair dye with purple stickers. They could have at least used stickers reflecting the colour of the dye. But no. That was not the purpose. It was to comply with extreme definitions of modesty. And, in a modern, high-tech country with more unicorns than most other nations – if not ironic, then just down right inappropriate. Fortunately, the pharmacy changed tack and removed the stickers a week later.
Back again to clothes. Welcome, Lululemon, the Vancouver sports apparel retailer that just opened its first Israeli branch in the high-end Ramat Aviv Mall, north of Tel Aviv. If all goes to plan, Lululemon will open seven more stores across Israel over the next three years. Can’t wait to see those shapely joggers in high-quality, skin-tight Lululemon outfits highlighting their muscular legs … and other parts of the anatomy. Unless, of course, the joggers are running along a path in Bnei Brak or have the benefit of being given alternative attire by Moshe Gafni.
Finally, looping back to a much earlier piece I wrote (JI, March 24). Remember that Hebrew Bible, the one dating back 1,000 years, which, according to Sotheby’s, was the most important document ever auctioned. This leather-bound, handwritten parchment on 792 sheepskin pages – known as the Codex Sassoon – sold for $38,100,000 US. The buyer was former U.S. ambassador Alfed H. Moses, who will graciously house the scrolls at the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Well, I have my next museum outing planned.
Bruce Brown is a Canadian and an Israeli. He made aliyah … a long time ago. He works in Israel’s high-tech sector by day and, in spurts, is a somewhat inspired writer by night. Brown is the winner of the 2019 AJPA Rockower Award for excellence in writing, and wrote the 1998 satire An Israeli is…. Brown reflects on life in Israel – political, social, economic and personal.