Clearly Jerusalem's influence has worked its way to Kentucky. But some of the Bluegrass State's culture has migrated east as well.
HaKatze (meaning "The Edge") is a live music club in a hip, artsy part of a city best known for what happened there, or is thought to have happened, a millenium or two ago. Located on Shoshan Street, this dive with street art out front at least inspired by Banksy is a 0.7-mile walk from where Christians think Jesus was killed and resurrected and 1.1 miles from the holiest site in Judaism, which doubles as the location where Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to heaven and triples as the spot where all three relgions believe Abraham almost done killed Isaac.
Take that Holy Grale!
Inside HaKatze, however, was a scene not too diferent from what you could find around these parts—HOLLER!, a group of seven musicians who looked to be in their 20s, was playing a tight set of mostly traditional American music, including some quality bluegrass. The crowd vouched for its quality: I chatted with a woman who immigrated to Jerusalem from Louisville 25 years ago as well as a guy in a t-shirt that read, "O' Banjo, where art thou? Country radio nees to legalizebluegrass.com."
The yarmulkes on the bass and vest frottoir players though reminded me that I was not back home in Louisville, as did the booze. Outstanding bourbons, Kentucky's local holy water, are hard to come by in Jerusalem. So I was drinking arrack, a liquor typically distilled from the sap of the coconut palm or rice. It didn't taste great, but it did what it needed to, namely got me dancing (even good music can't do that). Appologies for any unsteady camera work.
Photo: Zach Everson