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Thursday, 29 July 2021

REVIEW: My Jerusalem by Avital Raz streamed on Applecart Arts

Jerusalem is one of the most inspiring, complex, and scary cities I have ever visited. On our trip for a day’s visit in the summer of 1990, we saw the spectacular sites in the city as we were escorted up Via Dolorosa from the Wailing Wall to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with armed escorts in front and behind. Such tourist visits hardly begin to explain the extraordinary tensions that must be felt in the city as the three cultures of Christians, Jews and the Palestinians mingle on a daily basis. Avital Raz who has written and performed this piece was brought up in this place and describes 1989 (when she was 11) as a time when “scary shit was all over the country” with stabbings, kidnappings, bus passenger deaths and competing terrorist groups. In her one-hour monologue accompanying herself on guitar with a multitude of filmed and still images, she starts to explain her story and provide insight into that place.

She was raised by her Imma (mother) and Abba (father) in Israel in the eighties and nineties and her autobiographical words tell of her relationship with her parents, her grandmother, her school choir, adolescent crushes, bus rides and conscription into the Israeli army. In 2013 she wrote a song in which she tells in shockingly graphic terms about a drunken one-night stand between a young Israeli woman and a Palestinian man and that song that punctuates her story. This piece seeks to put the song in context through her own recollections.
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