Another year, another Yom Kippur. I fasted (The Baby, The Wife and The Dog did not) and by midday my head was swirling and thoughts were entering and leaving my head in a disorganised and uncontrollable manner. The chaos was not unpleasant – a bit like the drugs I no longer use, but the throbbing headache that birthed itself mid-afternoon and grew and grew until the fast’s end at 7:25 I could have done without. The Baby joyously slapping stickers on my forehead too…
As usual, Tel-Aviv was magical: crickets chirped, children played and the hidden sounds of the city broke free of the yoke of modern life. Usually I take photos; this year I decided to take videos to try and convey the magic of the Day of Atonement in the Promised Land. As no-one is mobile beyond a bike, this is Tel-Aviv unfiltered – exclusively of and for Tel-Avivians.
It was a holiday of two parts:
First, the night:
Allenby Street by King George
Everyone – and I mean everyone, is on the streets. Legal and illegal migrant workers congregate (Yom Kippur is the one day of the year the former do not work and the latter do not fear the immigration police), children draw on the tarmac between zooming bikes, quasi-religious dressed all in white amble to and from the myriad of tiny local synagogues, and dogs run free. It is wild and messy and inspiring…
…until we reach Habima Square (by the Mann Auditorium and the Habima Theatre), full to bursting with local families and a new level of intense. Even The Baby joins in, trying to throw herself down the tree-hillock to almost certain death.
Part two: the next day after thirsty, starving, sleep, and the city is deserted. The revelry is over and scant few people, bar those at the beach, venture out into the blazing sun. I sin just a little and go out on my corkinet to properly take in the barrenness of the larger streets.
A single lost religious man on Yitzhak Sade St.
Even the Ayalon Highway, the artery that runs North-South through the city, connecting Tel-Aviv and its northern suburbs to the airport and Jerusalem, is completely empty. Only children on bikes zip past and a few couples walk along the endless tarmac hand-in-hand.
Hashalom Exit of the Ayalon Highway (Azraeli Towers)
Tel-Aviv doesn’t need no stinking zombie apocalypse to stage its own 28 Days Later. It does it every year.
Shana Tova everyone.