I have visited Vancouver’s Jewish Community Centre countless times over the last few years, reading poetry in their art gallery at various events. It’s always a special time for me, being hosted in a space that brings together a faith group that is different from my own. At a recent poetry reading, I stumbled upon an Israeli folk dancing class and it totally moved me. The music was beautiful and so were the movements. I was pinned to my place, remembering my friend’s bat mitzvah from years ago, and considering new ideas that came to me in that spot.
I wrote about the experience and my musings in my monthly column for Peace Arch News. As a writer, it’s my job to show my readers a different perspective. And because I am trying to build bridges by doing such, I like to show how we can transcend our own experiences and meet others’ in theirs. Music is an easy bridge. It exists in every culture. It creates our memories and most of us even have a soundtrack that accompanies the different eras of our lives.
Shortly after this piece was published, my editor emailed me and said a woman named Nona Malki asked to be in touch with me. I emailed her back and it turns out she is the President of the Vancouver Israeli Dance Society. She was gracious and so appreciative of me sharing my experience that she even offered me complimentary dance lessons! I love how writing always reaches the intended audience whether we purposely arrange for that to happen or not. There’s definitely something magical about music and words; both can be used to bring people together.
You can read my full piece in Peace Arch News – I’d love to know if you have had an experience where music has crossed over from another culture into your life.