Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Returning a frum

It feels as though I've been in Israel for an age. We have packed so much into the few days we've been out here. There have been many late nights and many early mornings, and, as a result I am absolutely knackered, yet feeling alive. We now have a really decent pitch for what I think could be an absolutely brilliant documentary. All that remains now is to find someone who'll take a punt on it.

Our last day in Tel Aviv included a meeting with a hugely interesting drag performer. He is drag mother to a host of both drag queens and drag kings, who often get overlooked when it comes to celebrating the diversity of the wider LGBT community.

After the meeting, we walked down into central Tel Aviv. I wanted to see some of the Bauhaus buildings from the period when Europeans Jewish immigrants effectively created the city. There's something deeply alluring about early 20th Century architecture, which is always hugely enhanced by a well-proportioned palm tree. What is it about a palm tree which so effectively and elegantly screams the 1920s? No self-respecting Art Deco building would be complete without a palm tree, or at least some sort of architectural evocation of one!

Tel Aviv is full of stray cats, all of which look entirely feral and half dead. They rifle through the dustbins and chow down on grotesque bird carcasses. I hate cats. Quite a lot of the Tel Aviv residents seem to take pity on them and you often stumble across someone feeding a little group of the nasty bastards. 

From the Bauhaus street, we headed to one of Tel Aviv's markets. I got it into my head that I wanted a pair of cufflinks to remember the trip by, but very few Israeli's actually wear suits let alone double-cuffed shirts. The search for cufflinks in a market frequented by working class residents of Tel Aviv therefore was a somewhat hopeless one! One of the stall holders looked at us blankly when we asked if he had any, and seemed almost angry when we asked if he could recommend somewhere we could find some!

In the end I found a lovely pair from the 1960s in a little shop somewhere near our hotel. They are rather chunky and have the Star of David on them. I'd joked with Nathan that I was going to return from Israel all frummed-up, so they will amuse him!

...And that's that. A golden little four-day flash of light is over and, if I'm honest, I feel a little sad. Israel really is the most fascinating and beautiful country. It seems odd to think that, just four days ago, we arrived at the film festival to the news that there had been a shooting in the old town less than half a mile from where we were. It was a reminder that Israel is a complex issue and that the country has a very difficult journey ahead of it. I sincerely hope it's something which can be made to work and that the problems of the West Bank and Gaza Strip can be solved. I furthermore hope I'll have the opportunity to return in the very near future.

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