This week I took two evenings to sprint through the Jerusalem Light Festival. I’m always so proud of Jerusalem and especially our city administration for coming up with interesting and fun cultural events.
This year’s walking paths for the Light Festival went from the southern-facing Zion Gate up to the northern-facing Damascus Gate (yes, the infamous Damascus Gate). Tours within the Old City meandered through the Christian quarter and the Jewish quarter. It felt to me like there was an attempt to tie the two halves of the city together, but it didn’t quite work. I saw quite a few Arabs and a few Jews and tourists when I ventured to the Damascus Gate, but the main crowds were to the south and I saw many Arabs, Jews and tourists there too.
Let me just say something also about the crowds. The phrases “sweaty crush of humanity,” “barbarian horde,” “madding crowd,” and “oppressive multitudes” come to mind. I’m getting flashbacks of mosh pits from my university days, but not in a good way. It’s as if you plan for an elegant reception with light refreshments and the guests come bringing all their friends. They are ravenous, eat everything in sight with both hands and then demand more.
Still, I’m glad that Jerusalem is putting in the effort. Now the crowds just need to do the same. Here are a few lovely highlights from as much of the Light Festival as I could bear.
Damascus Gate as a platform for other gates.
A film presentation on the wall near Jaffa Gate. It used the texture and shape of the walls to make the film more dynamic. Well done!
Explorations of light that have nothing to do with the walls.
The walls as a platform and, if you look closely,
the crush of humanity, I mean, people enjoying the festival.