The Yom Kippur that was…

I really like Yom Kippur in Israel. I always liked Yom Kippur generally – from the wallowing self-reflection to the religiously-mandated self flagellation  what’s there not to like? Well, apart from Wife asking “what?” as she nurses a cup of tea and a cupcake while I look on starved and ravaged. Yes y’all, I fasted. The only one in my household…

I suppose it’s a hangover from my diaspora days. For, while in the diaspora Yom Kippur’s about donning your best suit, being all respectful and religious and shit to out good-Jew your neighbouring pew, in Tel-Aviv it’s just about…

Well, I’m not sure what it’s about. Sure, no-one in the centre of this city seems particularly pious (although apparently upwards of 60% fast), and if you look or smell hard enough even in the middle of that most holy of holy days you’ll notice the thick ripeness of weed and the bubbling of pasta, but in one fundamental respect, Tel-Aviv adheres to the mandate: It stops.

No cars, no buses, no televisions. The city is silent except for the families with their kids (and they are legion) camping in the centre of usually-busy arterial junctions and zipping across oft-gridlocked flyovers. It’s so quiet that you can literally hear a pin drop in an adjacent building, and yet loud enough that you can hear the most fundamentals of life at its most primordial: a child crying as its mother tends to it grazed knee, two old men arguing about something of no consequence, teenagers comparing cigarette brands and bragging about the skills of imaginary lovers they’ll never have.

For one day a year, the city belongs exclusively to its residents and though I was dying of man-flu (*cough *cough *die) I headed out with my camera to try and convey the unique atmosphere of that night. And to get away from the torture of my disowned family eating dinner…

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