Around 500 dancers all dressed in orange took over the Jerusalem First Station on Sunday as they kicked off the Dance for Kindness flashmob even that also took part in 120 cities in 50 countries around the world to the tune of the Israeli band The Solomon Brothers and their latest song “United.”
Some 20,000 people around the world were taking part in the event, marking ‘World Kindness Day,’ which falls November 13. Organizers said the numbers made the event the world’s largest flash mob and that 20 dancers in Gaza also took part.
Writer and peace activist Ruth Ebenstein said the event was an “opportunity to celebrate kindness and dance together.”
It was Ebenstein, who connected with Gaza to get a group there to join in the event.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer while nursing my baby.” Ebenstein told TPS, “I had three small children and was scared to death. Would I survive? At the end of my treatment, I joined an Israeli-Palestinian breast cancer support group, hoping to find something good in cancer.”
During the meetings of the support group Ebenstein developed a friendship with Ibtisam Erekat, a Palestinian Muslim woman and with Rami, a young man and peace activist from Gaza which she physically met only once in Washington DC during a seminar for peace activists.
“When I first heard of the Dance of Kindness project I asked Rami if he would also take part. He immediately agreed and got together 20 people, most of them kids, and danced just before the sunset on the beach of Gaza,” she said.
This year is the first time that Dance of Kindness main event is taking place outside of New York’s Times Square, says educator and social activist, 36-year-old Orly Wahba, the founder of the Dance for Kindness flash mob told TPS.
“I decided to organize the event in Jerusalem this year to raise the value of the city in the eyes of the world, and to show that Jerusalem can be a symbol of peace and harmony for the entire world,” said the New York native who moved to Jerusalem less than a year ago.
“Dance is an international language, when people dance they are happy and kind, it unites all no matter the race, religion or nationality, it can make positive change and help to respect one another,” says Wahba. “With the flash mob we showed that even in the Middle East, a place of conflict, hatred, fear, mistrust, animosity, and war, kindness prevails. This event is an amazing opportunity to show the world what is possible through the power of kindness.”