7 June 2013 – Gay Pride All Around

12 Jun

When I first woke up, the sun was barely rising. Kalev, our beloved Israeli cat, was lying in front of the house by the sidewalk, enjoying an early morning nap. Everyone else, as him, kept on sleeping. But my eagerness for today was a bit too much to allow me to go back to sleep. Or so I thought. After an hour of doing nonsense, my body fell back into the mattress and my brain back into another world.

The second time I woke up, movement surrounded me. People everywhere rushing to finish packing for the day, getting breakfast, or cutting up strands of a tie-dyed shirt to get some colors in their outfits. The excitement in the room was palpable.

Soon after, everyone was on the bus to go to the bus that would take us to the bus that would drop us off at the start of the parade. From one city to the other, people were migrating for this one event, one of the largest events in Tel Aviv. Around 100,000 people were supposed to attend, and 100,000 people did attend.

The Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade was, in all its glory, the most exhilarating and striking of the tours we’d done so far. Drag queens and kings strutting in amazingly tall stilettos, BDSM lovers chained to one another, gay lovers holding hands and dancing together and making out. It was so open and so wonderful, so absolutely gay (in both meanings of the word), not really a scene one would associate with the general Middle East. Lesbians and gays and bisexuals and transsexuals and asexuals and pansexuals and transgenders and allies, all walked down the main street of Tel Aviv in a hot summer day.

 

Northeastern students immersed in the complexities of modern Israeli society.

Northeastern students fully immersed in the complexities of modern Israeli society.

Guy Fawkes at the Parade

Guy Fawkes taking a break from going against the system to join the Tel Aviv Pride Parade.

Balloons over the parade.

Balloons over the parade.

Man teaching his son how to use a water gun to refresh the people in the parade.

Man teaching his son how to use a water gun to refresh the people in the parade.

Man spraying the people in the parade with water.

Man spraying the people in the parade with water.

Parade going down Ben Yehuda.

Parade going down Ben Yehuda.

The burden of being a photographic journalist.

The hassle of being a photographic journalist.

Sarah, Marissa and Eva s at the parade.

Sarah, Marissa and Eva at the parade.

Celebrating at the parade.

Celebrating at the parade.

Onlooker to the parade.

Guy Fawkes taking a break from bringing governments down.

Guy Fawkes taking a break from bringing governments down.

Father-daughter love at the parade.

Father-daughter love at the parade.

 

Soon after the parade, we wandered off to the shoreline to participate in a large beach party hosted by the city of Tel Aviv. By now, most of the group had been divided and had dispersed to their own places. Sarah, Marissa, and Eva joined me in the beach festivities. However, between the music, the crowd and the sun, we soon found that Sarah was missing her iPhone, which had last been seen next to the venue of a large concert. Fearing having lost it or someone stealing it, we went together to try to find it only to come back not only empty-handed but without Marissa too. Now having lost both an iPhone and a person, we resigned ourselves to waiting until the closest possible time to when our bus was set to leave and, worst came to worst, leave without either of them.

Beach party at the Tel Aviv shoreline.

Beach party at the Tel Aviv shoreline.

 

 

 

Of course, that is what happened. Marissa was still lost by 4:30, when we hustled to get a cab to take us to the bus, one that we were now verging on losing. While we could take any bus back to Jerusalem, everyone was waiting for us and we didn’t want to be the last.

Finally at the bus, we discovered that half the group had left and that Marissa had gone earlier on another bus back to Jerusalem. With only the burden of having lost a phone remaining on us, we wearily journeyed back to the holy city.

Back at the apartment, after a nice cold shower and some rest, movement was seen once more. People lugging around chickens, asking for salt, cleaning the tables or simply getting dressed, everyone around me was getting ready for tonight’s communal Friday night Shabbat dinner. Much like last Friday, people prepared different dishes (all of which were incredibly delicious) and bought several wines. However, this Shabbat was different for two reasons: first, Lori and Lenny both joined us, and second, it was much better. Lenny led the services and prayers while we all sat eager to commence the feast. Even though we were all tired from a long day, the conversation was packed with energy and liveliness.

Food prepared by the students.

Potatoes and salmon prepared by the one of the students.

Group Shabbat dinner.

Group Shabbat dinner with Lori and Lenny.

 

Overall, this was an absolute dream of a day. Now tanner, full, and with no energy left in me, I carried myself to bed, only to find myself woken up the next day with the sun coming up and Kalev, yet again, sitting by the sidewalk. 

– Maria Amasanti

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