Article by Leah Weingast
I’ve decided to take this blog in a new direction, namely for each of the five months I spend in Shaar La’Adam I’ll meditate on each of the five senses.
I’ve since listened to herds of cows, cars beeping, and children playing. Historically, the Muezzin was a designated cleric who would have recited the call to prayer atop minarets (towers) in order to be heard by those around the mosque. Representative of modern mosques, the minaret in Ka’abiyye has loudspeakers, so a Muezzin recording is played five times a day and signals people to stop to pray.
The first few mornings here, I woke up to the call of the Muezzin at 5am, but after being here for just one week the echoes and trills of the song blended in with the forest just as I began to blend in to my surroundings.
My music choices joined the others’ mixes and roared from the kitchen as we cooked together. Our group is quickly became more comfortable living around and in each other’s many sounds. Whether our new roommates snore, sing, laugh, or cry, for the next 4 months we will habituate to each other. Just like the call of the Muezzin on my very first few days here, the sounds of others around me are becoming a part of day-to-day rhythms more quickly than I can truly process.
This past weekend, a few of us traveled to Tel Aviv for Purim, dramatically shifting our environments and kinds of stimulation from the forest to a bustling city. It was incredible to experience Tel Aviv during Purim given it is one of the only places in the world celebrating and it definitely showed. People were out dancing on the streets into all hours of the night dressed in everything from electric jellyfish to Brittney Spears. We sang, danced, ate (one of the best Sabich sandwiches I’ve ever had), and felt the vibrations of celebrations in the streets from our hostel room. We wandered through HaCarmel market and heard prices being yelled, people laughing and talking in Hebrew, English, and whole slew of other languages.
Being back in the forest I am reminded of the sounds I left, like construction of the new multi-faith house, the wind through the pine and olive trees, and the bleats of grazing sheep.
Next month I’ll meditate on the tastes of the forest; hummus from Shefa-‘Amr, a treat of bourekas, and tastes of passover in Cyprus. Adventures to come!