Top Five

Making sense of Madonna

The lecture, the cross, the costumes… oh, and the pop

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Madonna onstage Thursday night (photo credit: Flash 90)
Madonna onstage Thursday night (photo credit: Flash 90)

That’s it, the party’s over. Madonna’s opening concert in Ramat Gan for the MDNA tour finished before midnight Thursday, and revelers headed home and to after-parties to consider the meaning of this latest installment from the Queen of Pop.

Some Israeli reviewers were critical, pointing out that Madge showed less energy than in previous concerts — she is almost 54, said one — and wasn’t even on stage at certain times (costume changes). The Israeli crowd seemed to be taken aback by the giant cross on stage — perhaps they expected a Jewish star given her Kabbalah interests — and thought Madonna’s gun scene was a tad overstated, considering the pro-peace speech she made mid-show.

Madonna tattooed on a fan's arm (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)
Madonna tattooed on a fan's arm (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)

But most concertgoers went home happy, sated by the latest installment in the Madonna run. In the wake of the show, here are five ways to make sense of the  message and the music, and send Esther off from the land of conflict and mysticism.

1) Given that the favorite songs of the show were her oldies, “Express Yourself”, “Like A Virgin”, “I’m Addicted” and “Like A Prayer”, from the 1980s and early 1990s, take some time to remind yourself of what made Madonna great when she first emerged on the music scene. The ultimate party girl, she’s always been able to make anyone want to get up and dance.

Madonna on the Israeli flag (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)
Madonna on the Israeli flag (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)

2) Madonna wants peace, and lectured the crowd that she chose Israel because “the conflicts that occur here and have been occurring for thousands of years, have to stop… We are all human beings, and whether Muslim or Jew, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, gay, straight, black, white, Asian, we are all human beings, okay? We all bleed the same color, we all want to love and be loved.”

Is she for real? Or is it all a bluff? Madonna did adopt a child from Malawi, established the Raising Malawi charity and regularly tithes to the Kabbalah Center, so she knows about giving. Whatever her motives, if Madonna wants peace, we’ll try to make it happen. Say a prayer, folks.

Madonna and Guy Oseary flanking the Netanyahus in 2009 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/Flash 90)
Madonna and Guy Oseary flanking the Netanyahus in 2009 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/Flash 90)

3) Madonna is staying in Israel for Shabbat, before jetting off to Dubai for the next installment of the MDNA tour. Our Esther doesn’t perform on Friday nights any longer and last time she was in Israel, she lit Shabbat candles with the Netanyahu family. This is her second weekend in the land, but there’s no word yet about who will be hosting Madonna and her family this weekend. So make some room at your tables, reconsider your menu and invite the entourage for some chicken soup.

Dressing in old school Madonna style (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)
Dressing in old school Madonna style (Courtesy Guy Oseary Twitter)

4) Thursday night’s costumes ran the gamut from Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” wear to cheerleader outfits, black ninja duds and glam gowns. Do it up this weekend, don some black fishnets, put on a corset or pull a pair of capris under a skirt, from her “Desperately Seeking Susan” stage. Better yet, grab some black jelly bracelets and roll them up your arm, in homage to the ever-changing Madonna look.

5) It’s always hard to get into a pop star’s new music when the old songs are so beloved. But you’ve got to give some credit to Madonna, who’s been out there for 30 years, and is still going strong. Watch the video of one of her newest songs, “Girl Gone Wild,” and be ready to admit, she looks fabulous. Madonna, go in peace.

Most Popular
read more: