White Night

JFOL (3 of 15)Jerusalem’s Old City is known for miracles that happened thousands of years ago, but a different, more modern type of magic also settles over this neighborhood each year. Not to be confused with Hanukkah, called the Festival of Lights, the nocturnal Festival of Light is an enchanting event that makes you feel like a wonderstruck child again, because it makes the world feel new and surprising and alive again. Madcap musicians dressed like a glow-in-the-dark Tweedlee and Tweedledum play trumpet and snare drum, mesmerizing viewers; lights shoot over pathways, shimmer on the city walls, turn from cyan to violet to carnelian in hanging lanterns and dancing fountains. There are movies in this sound-and-color show, too, short films projected on the stone façades, perhaps telling the story of a computer-animated Adam and Eve or a little boy who meets the Little Prince (and cries whoaaaa upon discovering magic powers of his own). After wandering among the installations, my mom and I stopped at the original Café Hillel for mint tea and sabich, but still there was a sense that something extraordinary was going on, that in this birthplace of all Western religious lore, we had stumbled into a folk tale or fairytale.
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