Humans of Israel
“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” Elliot Erwitt
On my way back to Israel. I hope i run into them again.
Faces Of israel
“His dress told her nothing, but his face told her things which she was glad to know.” A.A. Mllne
Museums In Tel Aviv
“We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life (and a bad one ruin it).” Alain de Botton
Tel Aviv is an outdoor city with beautiful soft sandy beaches, flea markets, food and craft markets and alfresco dining most of the year.
This time I was there in January and February. The first ten days were particularly cold and rainy so I spent some time exploring a few museums.
I’ve written about the Tel Aviv Museum Of Art designed by Preston Scott Cohen before. If you are into architecture as I am you will love the building.
It is located in central Tel Aviv within a Cultural Complex inside a beautiful park.
My god-daughter lives nearby. In a city where everything closes on Saturday, this museum is open.
We walk passed the families in the playground and through the skateboarders to the entrance. The temporary exhibits are always interesting. The one I wanted to see was called Total Red which was photography from early twentieth century Soviet Photographers. Pastel, the museum’s restaurant i is beautiful and delicious.
Visiting Eretz Israel Museum in the rain is probably not the best way to see it. It is a collection of several pavilions and excavations spread out all over.
The focus is on culture and history. When I travel and do large museums, I usually just pick a few exhibits to see, Otherwise it is too overwhelming.
I love photography so I went to those exhibits.
There was one about life in the internment camps in Cyprus where the Holocaust survivor were kept until Israel became a nation.
And another about the Italian ship captain that brought refugees to Israel.
I also watched a film on how Baron de Rothschild helped Israel grow. The restaurant is delicious and the gift store is one of the best in Tel Aviv for art and crafts.
Exodus was one of my favorite TV movies when I was very young. Paul Newman played Ari Ben Canaan who was the head of the Haganah. I was always interested in them. The Haganah was the military organization that protected the Jewish settlements in Palestine.
It was the predecessor to the Israeli Defense Forces.
The Haganah Museum is located on beautiful Rothschild Blvd in the house of one of the Haganah founders.
It traces the story from the earliest watchtowers to the struggle for independence to the development of the modern army.
You will see many troops of Israeli soldiers being brought there on field trips.
The Street Is Your Gallery – Urban Art In Tel Aviv
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls” Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
The gentrified Florentin neighborhood is the area to go to find amazing street art and graffiti in Tel Aviv.
The crumbling walls of Florentin will soon turn into high rises so go before that happens.
The person to go with is Guy Sharett who does an urban street tour. You can sign up on his website Streetwise Hebrew http://www.streetwisehebrew.com. It’s very popular. I’ve tried to get on this tour twice before so book in advance. The tour is in English and my group of twelve was international. He weaves some Hebrew, history, humor and insight into the one and half hour tour.
There is a major difference between Guy’s tour and other street art tours. He focuses on the street words to teach Hebrew and Israeli Culture.
We begin with a piece by Muriel Street Art.
We see a few of her pieces throughout the tour. Muriel Street Art wants us to think.
SENED creates Figures known as “kufsonim” (mini boxes) They are ready-made stencils that are spread all over the city. The characters were developed from an abstract of a cube.
missK is an eastern european artist who lives in Israel. Apparently some of the local artists do not like the growing number of graffiti tourists.
We see a lot of her work in Florentin.
Ometz (Hebrew for bravery) writes street poetry. He is a religious scholar by day and street artist by night.
Dede is one of Israel’s most prominent street artists and the only one I knew of so I was glad to see pieces of his.
Solomon Souza is a British Israeli artist who is best known for painting faces on the shutters in the Mahane Yehudi market in Jerusalem.
It is only visible on Saturdays when the market is closed.
Frenemy creates colorful characters in chaotic environments.
Tiny Tiny Gallery on Florentin 18 shows slut machine until August 6.
The “27 club” is a group of influential rock musicians that died at the young age of 27 of drug and alcohol abuse. Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse are part of this group. Some say the blank face is the artist Kis-Lev.
In Arabic you can do it from the top. This word is a combination of toda and shukraan. It means thank you in both languages. The message is clear.
Tel Aviv is the most liberal city in the Middle East and attracts both local and worldwide street artists. There weren’t as many large-scale polished murals in Florentin as in other areas but smaller and rougher with different styles and materials.
You will see amazing street art through out the city. Yes President Trump, Israel is the Middle East.
The White City Of Tel Aviv, Israel
“Less is more.” Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
Over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv between 1920 and 1940, by German-Jewish architects who immigrated to the region after the rise of the Nazis.
The Bauhaus Movement was started by Walter Gropius in Germany in 1919 as an architectural style that would represent the machine age. It is characterized by simple and sensible lines. “Form follows function.”“Bauhaus” is an inversion of the German term “hausbau,” which means “building house”. It is also called the Modern or International style.
The majority of Tel Aviv’s examples can be found in the central White City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century”. it is the world’s largest Bauhaus settlement.
The Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv http://www.bauhaus-center.com/ was founded in the area in 2000 to increase awareness of the heritage and encourage preservation works. It hosts a library, a shop and a gallery for exhibitions. They offer architectural tours for visitors and enthusiasts on Friday mornings at 10AM. They also offer a self-guided audio tour and private tours in Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French and Italian.
The tour was crowded. First we were given an overview and background of the Bauhaus movement in Israel at the Center, We walked around the streets and boulevards and our tour guide pointed out facades and details of the many white modern buildings. My friends thought it was interesting to take a tour of their neighborhood as they live in a protected building and hadn’t seen it this way before.
A little known fact was that in the early years before World War Two, the immigrants to Israel were allowed to take their money out if they bought German products with it. Some of the buildings are made with German materials.
Germany is now committed to help Israel keep an architectural legacy that recalls Jewish design pioneers who fled the Nazi regime in the 1930s. They will invest $3.2 million over the coming nine years to help save these Bauhaus-style buildings .
The tour is an interesting introduction to the city of Tel Aviv and a sharp contrast to the Ottoman inspired and ancient buildings of Jaffa nearby. I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interesting in architecture or history. I’m a Bauhaus fan and learned a lot here and saw more Bauhaus architecture than in Berlin.
Things I Have Learned In Tel Aviv, Israel
“The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.” Bob Hope
Tel Aviv is called “the city that never sleeps”
Tel Aviv is Israel’s second largest city in Israel.The city is the center of economy, culture and the media of Israel.
The Tel Aviv Museum Of Art designed by Preston Scott Cohen is all beautiful light and angles.
I loved the exhibition by David Tartakover.
He is a famous Israeli artist who took on the county’s political history with his minimalist poster designs.
There are over one hundred sushi restaurants in Tel Aviv…making it the city with the most sushi restaurants per capita after Tokyo and New York. I did not eat sushi there. It was very hot out and I was not feeling the raw fish thing.
Jaffa is the old port city in the southern part of Tel Aviv.
It is a big tourist attraction with Jews, Arabs, artists, galleries, a flea market (Shuk Hapishpishim), restaurants and bars all coexist in the historic buildings.
Jaffa’s ancient past is still being excavated.Part of the fun of old Jaffa is exploring its winding streets and alleyways down to the port.
The port has been gentrified but you can see fishermen throw out their nets and hear the call to prayer.
It takes a little less than an hour to drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (43 miles).
Tel Aviv is also known as the “white city”, for some old zones of Tel Aviv, with more than 4,000 structures associated with he Bauhaus style of architecture.
Every Tuesday and Friday, hundreds of residents and visitors make their way to the Nahalat Binyamin Arts And Crafts Fair.
Since 1987, this street fair has more than two hundred artists and craftspeople selling ceramics, jewelry, toys, wood art, blown glass, wearable art and recycled creations. There’s a committee selection process to ensure quality.
The Carmel Market, known in Hebrew as the Shuk HaKarmel, is one of the must-sees in Tel Aviv. They sell everything from cds and clothes to fresh fruit and produce. It is one of the best places to try street food in Tel Aviv.
Friday (when I was there) is the most crowded time to visit the market.
Every one hundred meters in Tel Aviv there is a juice stand. They all somehow manage to make a living. In the last decade the city exploded with juice stalls. Pomegranate juice is my favorite.
The city has thirteen official beaches.
You will find in every declared beach, free changing rooms, toilets, lifeguard supervision and rescue station, chairs, umbrellas and sun beds for rent.
Rescuers’ working hours are 7am -7pm.
Tel Aviv’s climate could almost be interchangeable with Miami. Heat and humidity rule for most of the year and winters are mild.
Eighteen out of Israel’s thirty five performing arts centers are located in Tel Aviv.
The emblem of Tel Aviv was designed by artist Nahum Guttman in the 1950s and features seven stars to represent the seven-hour working day that Zionist thinker Theodor Herzl held to be the ideal work day.
.Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel’s cafe culture. Many of the cafes founded before Israel became a state in 1948 are still popular today.
Sunday Is Monday – Shopping In Israel
“When practiced, Sabbath-keeping is an active protest against a culture that is always on, always available and always looking for something else to do.” Stephen W. Smith
Tel Aviv appears to be a cosmopolitan, secular city. My time in Israel included two Sabbaths (Friday afternoon through Saturday evening). I awoke the first Saturday morning and anticipated the beautiful breakfast I had eaten the morning before at the hotel. To my surprise, there was no cappuccino and no one was making eggs. There was dry cereal, pastries, hardboiled eggs,smoked fish, salads and instant coffee – not the Saturday morning brunch at a hotel that I was used to.
After a walk along the beautiful beachfront to Jaffa and back, I was preparing to do some shopping.
I was told that everything was closed and there was no public transportation. Coming from a consumer driven society, I didn’t really believe that. This was a tourist area, some stores must be open. I don’t often have culture shock visiting a country. I expect things to be different. I know all toilets are not created equal. I try to remember to take my shoes off in Asian countries when visiting someone’s home or a temple. Preparing to be a Sabbath violator, I went out in search of shopping. There were some restaurants and cafes open and a mini market and that was it.
In the afternoon we went to the old beautiful city of Jaffa. Jaffa is a mix of Arabs and Jews so I was hopeful.
We looked at the beautiful old architecture and walked the maze of alleys to the port.
We had a beautiful sunset lunch/dinner but no shopping there either. “Sunday is Monday” said my friend.
I was thinking about it. Does a day of rest strengthen a country and a family? There were a lot of families in the park. The beach was packed with people. Families were strolling around the city. For us Saturday is a day of housework, soccer tournaments, ballet classes, sporting events, matinees, movies and shopping sprees.
In America Sundays used to be a day of rest. We didn’t have a national religion but all stores and businesses were closed on Sundays so we did have a national day of rest. Some people went to church, visited their grandparents, had a big family meal, went to the beach or the park or for a drive. One day a week we did something different. Our day wasn’t defined by consumption or production. We had fewer choices of what we could do. It was a day to be lazy and read. It was a peaceful ordinary Sunday, a common day of rest which for us ended in Chinese or Italian food. As we now search for inner peace through mindfulness and meditation, it is interesting to see what disappeared when America lost that.