what kind of bird am i?*

There are groups and groups of groups that pass by our little apartment here in Tzfat. They are passing from the Abouhav synagogue up to Alkabez Street, the main drag of the Old City, along the path of many galleries and gift shops, begging for business. Seriously, the owners/employees stand out in the very very narrow passageway and call for the tourist to stop in and buy something.

But back to our experience in our place for a moment. When the groups pass by, it can sound like the murmuration of

a flock or flight or pod of birds

or, at times,

a murder of crows,

especially when speaking another language other than English or Hebrew. There are many groups of kids in particular who are speaking Spanish, French, and Russian. Many! So the Russian is completely Greek to me, except for the occasional спасибо.

They all sound like birds of sorts mostly likely because they come by in waves, around the stone corners, up the stairs and down the stairs, with different pitches of the boys and the girls/young men and young women.


And then there are the families that come by with their personal tour guides. I sometimes have to hold myself back in a serious way when I hear the “stories” they give about Tzfat. Nope. Can’t interfere with the Prime Objective.

And seriously, I’m happy to see the people coming and paying people to take them around!

And then there’s the hunt for neighborhoods. What kind of place do we want to call our new home? Do we need birds of a feather flocking together? Do we want to be the lone birds?

Which brings me to the birds themselves. Last Shabbat, our lunch hosts pointed out the muster of חסידות flying over the valley below us (which is actually the cemetery of Tzfat). We went out to their balcony to watch them swooping all over, hundreds of them. After lunch, we watched more.

Yes, I didn’t translate what we saw. We weren’t sure if they were storks or cranes. ISHI googled it after Shabbat and declared them Western White storks. But of course, the funny thing is how the transliteration of חסידות is “Hasidot”, so we can pun on the let’s call it ” community-centric nature of Hassidic groups.

Of course, because it was Shabbat, I didn’t take any pictures.

But the next day…

I’m not saying this is a sign, mind you.


*Yes, that’s a reference to the song, “What kind of fool am I?”


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