Dear Mr. Waters,
I was deeply disappointed to learn that you have decided to build a wall between yourself and your Israeli fans. We love you here in Israel. Surely, you must know that from the warm reception you received when you performed here five years ago at the Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom.
What you may not realize is that most Israelis believe in a two-state solution. But this vision is not as easy to turn into a reality as you may think. Instead of recognizing the situation’s complexity, you have joined the campaign to boycott Israel, appointing yourself as a judge in a conflict between Middle Eastern tribes. (How British of you!)
Toronto in the Cold
Like any bunch of post-army Israelis as soon as we landed at the hotel we got our act together, like a top patrol unit, mapped out Toronto and apportioned combat shopping missions. We put on our warmest clothing and set out for the street. Wow! The cold was simply scandalous! I tell you, the moisture in my eyes froze solid. But we didn’t despair and we found ourselves on a mission, like an alpine troop squad, checking out Toronto’s Chinatown. I looked for noodles, Johnny looked for a good camera angle, Gal looked for presents for the family and Noam looked for whisky.
Getting Ready for the Show
On the morning of the performance I woke up in a panic as a result of which I forced myself to watch a crummy TV show about a fisherman, flabby people throwing fishing lines who bothered themselves and me with their fishing rods and baits, and salmon psychology and boat models. It didn’t relax me. I took to the cold street to walk a few miles and to go through all the complicated continuity pieces aloud. I thought people would thing I was crazy, walking along mumbling and then I looked to my right and I saw a black man walking while giving a speech about Messianic times. And next to me there was a white anarchist who stamped his feet and cursed the “cruel” Canadian regime. I undoubtedly have something of the amateur megalomaniac. I was always scared of getting to the Shiloah tunnel in the center of Jerusalem and the plug pops out. There’s even a song about that in the show:
Musician Kobi Oz was invited to put on his new show, Mizmorei Nevuchim (Psalms for the Perplexed) in Canada and, on the way, he wrote a special diary for Walla!. Reproduced and translated with Kobi’s blessing.
Chapter One: Discrimination in the Skies, A Lebanese Driver and Recommendations
When I realized I had been invited to put on a performance of Mizmorei Nevuchim in Toronto, Canada I got very nervous. It was going to be my first solo performance abroad. I had to get all the songs translated, and put on powerpoint slides, and I’d have to present all the continuity bits in my not-so-brilliant English… pressure… What about the little stories and Midrash excerpts in Hebrew? Will they come out alright in English? And how will the punch lines come across? When I present the texts in English, will I be like a cart driver trying to drive a racing car, or like a racing driver trying to control a cart? Will the audience in Toronto be as curious as Israelis about Mizmorei Nevuchim? Will they want to leave their warm homes for the freezing streets and actually come to the show? Will they be open enough to make the voyage with me, from the start of the show to the end, or is it only the Jews in the Holy Land who are capable of enduring the Psalms of the Perplexed?