December 24, 2015, in Jerusalem, Israel.
All was quiet near Sha’ar Shechem, the Damascus Gate.
A short distance away is
Zedekiah’s Cave or as sometimes called,
King Solomon’s Quarries.
This is the opening of the cave in the Wall of the Old City.
For Israelis, who do not have Sundays off from work,
the closest thing to a long weekend is Thursday night
through Shabbat, known as Hamshush.
For the past several years,
Jerusalem has had a December weekend festival
called Hamshushalyim, with hotel and restaurant deals,
and hundreds of cultural events, including free late night ones.
Hamshushalyim ended this year with a unique gala event
in the quarry.
Guests walked down and down,
to the main cave where a piano was set up on stage.
Not your usual venue for a concert,
not your usual dressing room,
and not your usual emergency exit.
Three hundred chairs were set for the full-house crowd.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and MK Ze’ev Elkin
gave opening greetings after a wine and sushi buffet.
Gil Shohat playing and
Nurit Galron singing
made for an unforgettable show in this incredible venue.
When you go please note, caves are warm and humid.
Pianist Gil Shohat complained that the humidity
had affected the piano keys.
But even Chopin would have been pleased
and certainly impressed by this musical performance.
The audience slowly exited along the candlelit path.
The view from the street outside
was of the Notre Dame Center
lit with holiday lights.
In the cool night air,
while waiting for a shuttle bus back to Kikar Safra,
I had time to compare to the Pianos at Jerusalem Theater,
and my first time in the caves during the Light Festival in 2013.
What will they think of next?
Plan a December trip and see for yourselves.
As always, much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel,
but these special events are not considered news.