Gali Atari gave a concert in Efrat yesterday. I’m pretty sure most of us who bought tickets wondered if she would be there. In fact most of us were probably wondering if WE should be there. It has been a most bloody weekend, here in Gush Etzion, with a teacher and two young people murdered on our road.
Should we have gone to hear a concert when there is fresh blood on the ground so close to home?
Yes. The answer is yes. Of course, yes. Davka yes. Because if we stay home and hide within our very fenced in communities, they will have won. And we will not let them win.
So we went and sat in a little gymnasium-cum-concert hall. I could still feel the lump in my throat that was there all weekend. Like when you need to cry and it’s just not the right time; you’re driving, or making dinner, or taking care of little kids. Sometimes the tears have to wait.
Somehow, Gali Atari made us feel better. She opened with an acapella version of “I have no other country.” A haunting ballad that says no matter how difficult things get here, we are staying in our homeland. And we sat in silence, and we knew that she understood. And because it was dark, we were able to shed those tears we have been holding back since last Thursday, when a beloved teacher was shot dead just minutes from where we were sitting now.
There weren’t a lot of people in the audience, maybe a couple of hundred, but I’m willing to bet that nearly everyone there had a kid who had been taught by Yaakov Don, of blessed memory. Or maybe they worked with him, he taught in so many schools, in Efrat, in the Gush, in Jerusalem and abroad.
And what about the kids? Those beautiful kids who were cut down before they even began their lives. It should not have happened to them. It should not happen to anyone.
I have no idea how Gali votes, but the fact that she was here, just hours after the last murderous attack, over the green line, made me believe that she is on our side. And all her love songs, songs about autumn and young girls’ dreams, made it easier for us, somehow.
And then it was over. The musicians put down their instruments, and they all left the stage. That is the cue for the audience to applaud loudly. It worked. They came back on stage, not just for an encore, but for a number of songs. This time they were happier songs, including the song that won the Eurovision song Contest in 1979, “Halleluiah”. Life goes on. And after you mourn, it’s time to get up and live your life again.