Photo Essay: Klezmer Festival Fills Kabbalistic City With Song
The line between spectator and performer is a thin one at the Klezmer Festival - where Ashkenazi soul music with Hassidic roots is right at home in the city of the kabbalah.
The narrow alleys and ancient courtyards of the holy city of Tzfat were transformed into stages and venues as klezmer musicians and residents filled the streets with song during this week's three-day annual Klezmer Festival.
Performers included Israeli clarinet virtuoso Moussa Berlin, the Mula Vilna Klezmer group, Simply Tzfat and mandolin master Avi Avital.
Music not quite fitting the klezmer genre was also present. Shlomo Gronich, Aaron Razel, Sinai Tor and redemption rocker Adi Ran performed and the Beirav Carlebach Synagogue held all-night jam sessions of some of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's thousands of compositions.
Vendors sell freshly cooked delicacies and carnival food as tour groups and visitors from all over Israel and the world mill about, stepping into Tzfat's many art galleries, judaica shops and traditional candle and cheese-making producers.
Ita and Dov Zilberman have the reputation of being "the true Klezmer musicians representing the Galilee." Ita is Dov's mother and plays the accordian while Dov works magic with the clarinet.
The Zilbermans come from a rabbinic family that has called Tzfat home for over 200 years.
Across the Old City, in the central square plays Makseem Klezmer, a Klezmer band consisting of two spiky-haired Israeli youths - residents of towns in the Galilee. Solnikar Makseem plays the clarinet - wowing the audience by bending notes to almost inaudible pitches and holding them there indefinitely. Daniel Krayzer plays the guitar and looks like he is having the time of his life, performing for his third year straight at the festival.
"Twice a year, Tzfat is filled with joy and song," a dancing resident yells into the microphone he grabbed from the performer, "once on Lag B'Omer and then during the Klezmer festival! Thank you!"
Israel National Radio's live three-hour broadcast from the festival is archived and can be heard by clicking here: HOUR 1 HOUR 2 HOUR 3
(Photos: Josh Shamsi, Arutz-7 Photojournalist)