Beit Shemesh Rhapsody
Does Freddie Mercury have the power to heal religious and sociopolitical tensions? A group of 250 women and girls in Beit Shemesh tested the premise Friday afternoon by forming a flash mob and dancing to Queen’s song “Don’t Stop Me Now” as part of the Israeli city’s protests following an incident in which a group of Haredi men spat on an 8-year-old girl wearing what they deemed not-modest-enough clothing. Inherent awkwardness aside (can a group of people attempting to perform an ensemble dance ever not be a little embarrassing?), there is something unexpectedly moving about watching the group–some in skirts, some in jeans, some still in grade school, some old enough to be their grandmothers–bewilder onlookers in support of the right of children to walk to school unassailed.