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Monday, August 07, 2006

Another Divine Cancellation

13 of the Fifth Month 5766

Depeche ModeLast week, while those in many religious communities, in and out of Israel, were celebrating the cancellation [for the second year in a row] of the so-called "pride parade" in Jerusalem, another cancellation may have squeeked by without your notice.

The Depeche Mode concert, scheduled for the night following Tisha b'Av in Tel-Aviv, was also cancelled.

Although I haven't been following Depeche Mode's journey through music and time that much for the past several years, I really have been a fan of theirs almost since their inception in 1980. At one point, I even had my ears pierced just like lead singer David Gahan. The earrings have long since been removed, and, well,...that's another story for another time....

Months ago, when I heard that Depeche Mode was coming to Israel, I debated as to whether I should go. Could I afford the NIS 300 ticket? (approx. $68) Should I go to a concert with mixed [gender] seating? Maybe I could stand outside, and just listen, like we sometimes did in California. Or, should I even go to such a concert at all?

Well, after many months of not even thinking about the Depeche Mode concert, I was walking around Jerusalem with friends who were visiting from LA. We turned up Hillel Street, in a neighborhood where I am almost never seen, and sure enough we ended up passing a ticket office. There in the window was a huge poster announcing the concert, with that blaring date: Aug. 3. My friends asked, "Hey isn't that Tisha b'Av?" What did I know? Back in Teveth (January-ish), I didn't think anything of the date. Other than the occasional form to be filled out at an Israeli government office, I hadn't been the position of having to be bothered by the Western date for a very long time.

My friends quickly checked their calendars. The decision as to whether to go to the concert had been made for me. The concert fell on the night following the Fast of the Fifth Month (Tisha b'Av - commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, among other things). Even on the night following this fast, I would be unable to attend the concert. Most Hallachic (Jewish legal)authorities rule that several of the fast's observances of mourning continue through noon of the next day, just as the Temple continued to burn.

As the soldier abductions and rocket-firing by Hizbollah YSh"W turned into a war, I thought it hardly appropriate to go to a concert anyway, while my brothers in the north were huddled together in bombshelters, getting bombarded with rockets.

A short-lived protest over the concert being held right after the fast was waged by Knesset Members Zevulun Orlev and Nissan Slomiansky (National Religious Party). But their protest was to no avail. Israeli civil law only protects the sanctity of this fast from sunset to sunset. Given the current make-up of the Knesset, I seriously doubt they had any chance of ammending the law, assuming they even thought of such a possibility. Of course, the concert was cancelled anyway.

According to DepecheMode.com, the band's official website, the concert was cancelled "following the latest developments."

Arutz 7 suggests that “'recent developments,' [are] possibly an allusion to the bombing of a populated Hizbullah position in Kana, Lebanon."

YNET reported that according to the band's manager Shuki Weiss, who has family in Israel, and was looking forward to coming, the cancellation began with "a problem [that] came up with the technical team which developed into the refusal of the entire team to get on a plane and come." The report also included the only indication I was able to find as to how the band members themselves felt, with the band's organizer Marek Lieberberg saying that they very much wanted to come to Israel.

Of course, I cannot say for certain how the Depeche Mode concert, inappropriately scheduled in the first place, for the night following Tisha b'Av, came to be cancelled. I will say this, that I do not believe in coincidences. Simply put, the Almighty took away the option from 40,000 people to bop-out at a concert. If they wanted to avoid focusing the on the past and current, sadness and destruction going on around us, they were going to have to find another way to it.

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