June 23, 2014

Flash mobs may have been created as a social experiment back in 2003, but 11 years later they’re still a playful trend of public life. While the first New York gatherings were all about spontaneity, like reality TV, today’s flash mobs are more scripted but still entertain.

As with any good trend, advertisers and public-relations firms also wanted in on the fun. A new term was coined – smart mob – to differentiate the purely fun gatherings from sponsored ones.

Some of the most popular flash mobs in Israel are more about the music than the dancing.

Jerusalem’s First Station entertainment venue was the stage for a surprise rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. Some 50 students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance performed for passersby as part of Good Deeds Day in March.

It wasn’t wholly spur-of-the-moment, of course, as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and philanthropist Shari Arison, who is behind the Good Deeds Day endeavor, were on hand for the fun. The performance was also sponsored by the Council for Higher Education, making it questionable whether it was more flash mob or smart mob.

Regardless, it is a delight to watch: 

At the campus of Ariel University not long ago, the hills were alive with the sound of music as the city’s choirs joined forces for an adapted rendition of the Sound of Music. Also a sponsored event, this surprise musical tribute to the von Trapps (and Ariel) included a children’s choir, violin ensemble and the university’s senior choir.

In Tel Aviv, nearly 500 high school students partnered up with the Tzohar Rabbinical Association in a flash mob designed to add a splash of religious fun to the Purim holiday. The group of dancers included 120 people with special needs. The group dances to the Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There for You.”

Perhaps the best display – if less polished than the others – of what a true flash mob is all about took place earlier this year on the Jerusalem Light Rail. The “laughing flash mob” spontaneously burst into fits of laughter, hoping – and succeeding – to get unsuspecting passengers to laugh and smile.

Two of the best examples of these trendy videos in Israel were recorded back in 2010 but remain popular through today. The smart mob featuring 30 singers from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performing an opera in the Dizengoff Center mall is brilliant:

And the beach party mob of dancers is the country’s most-watched flash mob to date: 

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director