28 July 2011. We woke up around 03:45, were on the bus at 04:29, hiked Masada, I fell on the way down, and missed the Dead Sea.
Another major aspect of the day was music, and I feel that it was seriously underrated in my original account of the day. In fact, the musical aspect of the day may have been one of the greater legacies that remains today! So, let’s talk about it. And then, at the end of the post, I’ll give some of my favorite photos from the day.
The musical experience started as we drove from the Bedouin Tents to the foot of Masada’s Roman siege ramp. The song that I particularly liked was called יצאנו לרקוד (We Danced), and somewhat sounded to us like a Michael Jackson song. Of course, that might have just been our exhausted delirium talking! Five years later, I wonder, “How did I compare that to Michael Jackson?” Have a listen:
Oh, well. So it goes!
While we were on Masada, we were in a cistern, and Lina sang a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Since then, that song brings back memories of Masada, for obvious reasons. Additionally, I have heard that song’s tune applied to other situations. Most specifically, I first heard it out of context when Rebecca R. led Psalm 146 in מיניין שירת האגם (Minyan Shirat Ha’agam).
And then, at Northwestern, Windy City Minyan, and Mishkan Chicago, some leaders choose to do half or all of לכה דודי to that tune, and it actually works pretty well! Thus, each of those lead to a memory of the trip, and actually make me appreciate and like the original song, when maybe I didn’t always. Once again, music can cause amazing changes of heart.
Proceeding to after The Injury, and after everything else, we got some live music during the evening. Udi Krauss, an Israeli musician, good friend of the trip leaders, and a Shorashim almunus, came with his guitar for a musical session. All of the songs were Hebrew, and none of them (except for the finale) were familiar to me. However, many of them have become significant for me, either the songs themselves OR the implications of hearing them there.
The first one, מה קרה לך (What Happened To You?) involved a-cappella “doon-doon-chaka-chaka” that we sang aloud as the backup to Udi’s singing, and I was fascinated to find out that the original group, שוטי הנבואה (Shotei Ha’Navua: Fools of Prophecy) had this a-cappella in the original song too. Naturally, I also played the air drums, which was something that I tend to continue with when listening to music or going to concerts.
The two songs which I found on MP3 after I got back to the States were הגשמה עצמית (Hagshamah Atzmit: Self-Fulfillment) and מה עוד ביקשת (Mah Od Bikasht: What More Did You Request?). These songs directly relate to the trip, as I enjoyed them a lot, despite not understanding the words. He told the stories of the latter being the story of a heartbroken man after his woman left him, so I guess it’s an interesting breakup song. (I could have the story messed up, however.)
The finale, however, remains a huge mark on my trip and beyond. It was עוד יבוא שלום עלינו (Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu: Peace Will Come Upon Us). This is a quintessential Israeli song, and is an excellent way to think about the world. We circled up and sang it, while (if I recall correctly) dancing around the room. It brought tears to my eyes with the beauty of it.
And today, that particular song has become, perhaps, the leitmotif song of Dina and me. Particularly the “country” version which popped up on my MP3 player last month when we spent time together in Menomonie, given below:
The story of music isn’t done yet. Later that evening, most of us went to the pub on קיבוץ אלמוג (Kibbutz Almog), but I obviously chose to only have water: Rule #0 for the win! I was disappointed with the fact that there were no Hebrew songs played as people danced. I enjoyed the atmosphere, but really hoped for more local songs.
In response to all of the music that I heard on the trip, I searched for online Hebrew and Israeli radio stations once I got back to the States. I found גלגלצ (Galgalatz), רדיו לב המדינה (Radio Lev Hamedina), and קול ישראל רשת ג (Kol Israel Reshet Gimmel). The former, however, often plays songs in English. The middle was particularly a favorite on Fridays in the States, with their המסיבה (The Party) show, filled with upbeat variants of Hebrew songs. And Israeli radio remains on my rotation of things to listen to. In fact, I’m listening right now to Lev Hamedina, and always mention on social media when I hear a song that I heard on the trip!
Therefore, these are just a few reflections on music and what it meant to me on this day, five years ago. Israeli and Hebrew music remains very important to me, and I’m glad to have discovered it! Now, for some pictures from that day, including Masada…
Check out the remaining entries in this sequence!
[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 9 of 11] Music (You are here!)
[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 10 of 11] Coming soon!
[Taglit 5-Year Retrospective part 11 of 11] Coming soon!
Kenosha: 4 days.
Orientation: 18 days.
Day 1: 41 days.