Monday, January 4, 2010

Juggling In Israel - Not Just Jobs, Politics, and Army Service - But a Sport

If you said that Israelis are jugglers, we'd be the first to agree.  After all, life in Israel includes juggling careers, army service, politics, even existence.  But with all of the presssures of daily life, who would think that Israelis would find the time to take up the sport of juggling?

Every year since 1988 the jugglers have gathered to show off their stuff at the Israel Juggling Convention.  The 17th annual Israel Juggling Convention will take place from March 31 through April 4, 2010, at Gan HaShlosha National Park (Sachne) near Beit Shean, where the annual shows have been held since 2000.

Juggling goes far back in Jewish tradition.  It is mentioned in the Mishna and five times in the Talmud.  In his article, Juggling in Biblical Times, Raphael Harris writes:
Concerning the phrase of the Mishna, "danced with burning torches," the commentary of Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki of Troyes, France, 1040-1105 CE) reads as follows: "They would throw them high and catch them. Some were expert with four, some with eight. They would continually throw and catch, throw and catch." Similarly, the illustrious scholar Rabbi Ovadia Yarei of Bartinoro (b. Italy,1440 - d. Jerusalem, 1516) backs up Rashi's opinion with his own: "with four or eight torches they would throw and catch one after the other," thus confirming that the statement in the Mishna is indeed referring to juggling, and not to some other form of entertainment.
Here is a video of some of the participants in the 14th Israel Juggling Convention in 2004, practicing their art in Jerusalem.

(Photos by Scott Seltzer, "Awesomest Juggler in Israel")

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the plug. Juggling in Israel is thriving and we're having a ball!