Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Israel in the Gardens

This past Sunday I spent the day at Israel in the Gardens, which was held at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.

To be honest, I was in sort of a bad mood when I arrived. I was hungry and kind of tired, but it was a celebration of Israel, so I was determined to find something cool nonetheless. The first thing I saw was the Bay Area Women in Black and Jewish Voice for Peace protesting the "occupation." It was a small, sad little group, but I have to respect the fact that they marched silently with their signs while Israel supporters around them were yelling and belittling them. Sucky way to start the day in any case.

I bumped into Levi Welton from Chabad of Berkeley and helped him carry some supplies to the make-a-shofar booth where he was working. Then I walked around to see what the myriad other booths had to offer. There were tons of booths, like it seemed like at least a hundred. Sarah Lefton was there selling her Jewish Fashion Conspiracy wears, Shalom Bochner was at the Hillel table, there was art, clothing, and jewelry from Israel (I recognized the work of Ayala Bar, whose style my mom took a liking to a year ago around Pesach 2005), there were Jewish org booths and Israel booths, arts and crafts booths and food booths. Yep, plenty of booths.

At some point this woman sang HaTikvah on the main stage and I got the feeling that she didn't speak Hebrew nor was she Israeli, which may have totally not been the case, but that's the feeling I got because first of all she skipped a few words (she ended it with "yerushalayiim" instead of "v'yerushalayiim") and some of the words sort of blended into each other. The stage was then converted into a runway for a "fashion show" featuring a bunch of Israeli designers, which really sucked because the models were just community members and most of them, especially the guys, were wearing maybe just one piece of clothing that they were actually modeling (which is to say, the rest of their clothes were just their day clothes). The only good part was when Avigail Perl, one of our own Jewish slugs, came out. That was cool. But overall, I was thinking, "This sucks," so I left to look for something else.

I ran into former sluggy Aleeza Abromovitz who said there was stuff going on inside the Sony Metreon as well, which piqued my interest. As I started to head over there I ran into Misha the Frum Mouse who had spent Passover 2006 in Santa Cruz. He was on his way into the Metreon as well, so we went together to see Rachel Factor's one-woman show entitled J.A.P. (Rachel is a Japanese convert to Judaism who now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two sons). We also caught the last few minutes of the performers before Rachel, Robbie Gringras and Adam Mader.

Strangely enough, Rachel's show was the best part of the day. A large part of the content dealt with her awkwardness as a Japanese youth in Hawaii, issues of fitting in, of self-esteem, and so on; stories anyone could identify with. The amazing part was when she described the feeling she felt in a Jewish setting, how she felt more at home there than anywhere else, and now she calls Jerusalem, the focal point of Jewish history, home.

After Rachel's show, we went back out to the main stage where Rami Kleinstein and Shiri Maimon were performing, so we got some of that action for a bit, during which time I saw a few more Jewish slugs. (Altogether, I spotted nine people who I would count as Jewish slugs). Chabad was hooking people up with Ask Moses water (not to be confused with Kabbalah water), and I got hooked up with a sweet Camp Gan Izzy hat as well. So, at the end of the day, it was pretty cool.

Also there was a party at Ruby Skye in the evening, but I didn't attend. But that was probably pretty cool too.


Blogger JewSlug said...

Well, judging by that description I'm pretty glad I didn't go with you guys.

Although I wouldn't have minded to get a bottle of that Ask Moses water...

Wed Jun 07, 12:43:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Rakdannit427 said...

Thanks for the report. I really wanted to go, but the timing for Yom Ha'atzmaut was a little off... I mean that it wasn't the chag and it was right before finals.

The J.A.P. show sounds really interesting. I wonder if that would be something Santa Cruz would be interested in. Any thoughts?

Wed Jun 07, 04:19:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Someone from the Maidel Place said...

Jewslug, perhaps G-d squad made it sound worse than it was. I had a nice time, it was a beautiful day to be outside and good shopping nearby.

Wed Jun 07, 07:04:00 PM 2006  
Blogger G-D SQUAD said...

Yeah, sorry I tried to leave a comment earlier but my comp was acting up. SO, as I was saying, I think it was probably just because I was in a bad mood. Most of the people there seemed to be having a very nice time, especially the children. There were some great activities for kids.

Rak: As far as bringing Rachel to UCSC, it would be cool but she lives in Jerusalem and I don't know how often she comes to the US, much less to the Bay Area.

Wed Jun 07, 08:27:00 PM 2006  

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