The words ‘partying’ and ‘Jerusalem’ are viewed by most as an oxymoron and yet I beg to differ. My Tel Aviv friends are always trying to encourage me to join them in their version of what I call “Never Never Land” which translated means: they never sleep, I never find parking, and I never find my way there or back. Don’t get me wrong. I am not averse to the Tel Aviv culture and night life but my freedom to choose still drives me to enjoy martinis and dancing in more local Jerusalem venues.
Which is why this past Monday night my friends, my sister and I decided to head downtown to one of Jerusalem’s best and one of our all-time favorite places The Toy Bar, aka Hatza’atzua. The Toy Bar is named after a historic and legendary Jerusalem toy store that stood in place of the bar for many years prior to the their opening and is a hot spot that attracts students, tourists and dignitaries and has been known to be a favorite to many of Israel’s well known politicians including Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat.
This Monday night was special since it was our second last chance to participate in the Jerusalem event called Shaon Choref. This quirky name for an event is a Hebrew play-on-words, normally referring to daylight savings time but when written in this case with an alef, implies a unique form of grandiose winter hoopla. Shaon Choref is actually a combination of Monday night events being held in Jerusalem during February and is sponsored by the Jerusalem municipality to encourage the burgeoning Jerusalem night life along with other forms of entertainment and culture.
This past Monday night line-up at the Toy Bar included a live appearance by Benny Bashan whose latest song “Achla Chamuda”, originally written as a parody on Mizrachi style music, had taken off and made him even more popular in the Israeli dance scene. The show was scheduled to start at 10:00 but we wanted to get there early since even on a regular night if you aren’t there by 9:30 it is hard to find parking and to get a table away from the bar.
By the time everyone else had arrived, my sis and I were already sipping our cosmopolitans while dipping maraschino cherries in and licking them off, a trick I taught her which she seemed to have caught on to surprisingly well. The smoke in the bar is pretty heavy despite the ventilation system so it’s probably better if you smoke since at least a cigarette has a filter on it.
Based on that foolproof rationale and others like it, we all sat around discussing why it’s so hard to get to downtown Jerusalem, who would be willing to split the three chaser deal with me and why this guy behind us kept sitting on my sister’s back when he seemed to have so much space of his own. After being unable to settle the argument as to whether the word “cup” in Hebrew is female or male we called over the photographer to capture our glamor and then headed downstairs to the lower level where the dance floor is.
Once on the dance floor we didn’t want to overwhelm people with our awesomeness so we started off slowly with a few side steps and some single-single-double moves, as is befitting our stature. Once warmed up we did elbow to the left to the right, King Tut, I’m Cleopatra and now snap it out. I can’t tell if it was our adeptness or the fact that we were just having so much freakin’ fun that made all of these strangers come over to join us in our wild flailing of body parts in an intentional manner with rhythm (some might call it dancing). Wait, we’re not strangers, we are all Jerusalemites! Acheeeee!!!!
It became more difficult to dance since they were busy disassembling the stage from the performance but we just incorporated the pieces of the disassembled set into our routine. Finally, after somehow escaping from dirty dancing gyrator and a few failed pick-up attempts, we headed home with our designated driver. Thank God there is still someone in this world who doesn’t drink. To quote the Bangles, “Just another Manic Monday”….in Jerusalem.