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.