We spent a lot of time discussing Jerusalem’s balance between old and new. Secular Jews walk amongst ultra-Orthodox Jews on the streets, and in the Old City, a house no more than 100 years old may be built on top of 2,700-year-old stones. One may walk towards the Old City and see these stones while having to stop to let the light rail roll by. I have visited Jerusalem in the past and I have always been struck by the balance between old and new. There often seems to be a separation between history and modernity; ruins become museums and are placed behind a glass window, and ancient customs can only be read about on a plaque. Jerusalem, on the other hand, walks hand-in-hand with its past. This is the city in which Ben Yehuda revived the ancient language of Hebrew, and it is now spoken around the modern world. Today, on July 4th, we saw Ah, Jerusalem, a musical about a family’s experiences traveling through time. This musical, a modern production on a modern stage, was representative of Jerusalem’s unique balance between old and new as well. Not only was the stage set up right above and surrounded by ruins, but it also told the story of a family living in present day Indianapolis traveling through Israel’s past, but not just as observers; they played an active role in the course of its history.
– David Rabinowicz