Day 8: A new perspective in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Travel Blog

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Olives (and their oil) for sale in Tel Aviv.

Today we see a new side of Israel in Tel Aviv.  If Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were siblings, Jerusalem would be the good child that listens to the parents, gets good grades and follows all the rules.  Tel Aviv would be the wild child that stays out until all hours of the morning. 

It's not that the city is that hedonistic, but compared to Jerusalem, they're night and day--or should I say, they're Cain and Abel.  For starters, Tel Aviv is a young city--really only developing in the 20th century.  It's also modern, hip and full of nightclubs, bars, discotheques and beaches.

Everyone loves candy!!
  Jerusalem is filled with synagogues, churches and mosques.  I saw none in Tel Aviv.  Modest dress is a must in Jerusalem.  Anything goes in Tel Aviv. 

Today we fully immerse ourselves in the culture of the city. 

We start with a visit to to the Museum of Babalonyan Jewry (also known as Iraqi Jews using modern geography).  We learn that Abraham was from southern Iraq so the place is of special significance to all Jews.  Next we go to Tel Aviv University (which is still in session due to a winter teacher's strike) to hear a presentation on Ethiopian Jews and their exodus and acceptance into Israel. 

For lunch we have sandwiches on the grounds of the campus and then attend a photo exhibit done by participants in a related Kivunim program for college students.

Our yummy dinner in Tel Aviv

From here, we travel downtown (and get our first glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea) and are granted a wonderful treat: we get 40 minutes of shopping time in the city.  I use my time wisely... I buy an iced coffee (I'm getting addicted quickly) and sundress then use my remaining time left to wander the outdoor market. 

Next we visit an art gallery dedicated to Ruben Ruben (the Grandpa Moses of Israel).  He painted a lot of Israeli (especially Tel Aviv) landscapes and his work is beautiful. 

It's close to 3pm, but our day keeps going.  We go to a dance theater to watch an Israeli troupe perform folk dances for our benefit.  Then we walk a 1/4 mile through the streets (and past a wedding) to a wonderful Middle Eastern restaurant for dinner.

Sara and me enjoying our favorite dessert.
  We're pretty hungry so we dive right into the food: warm pita, eggplants, hummus and lots of other sauces.  I confess that I have never tried falafel, quite possibly the national food of Israel, and I get to sample it tonight.  For those of you who have yet to experience this dish, you simply must try it.  Falafel is chickpeas mashed with seasonings and rolled into balls that are deep fried.  The ball are served in a pita with hummus, spices, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles and some tangy sauce.  It is SOOO delicious!  For dessert... you guessed it...watermelon! 

It is late when we finish, but the night is still young (or so we're told).  We go to the local Tel Aviv playhouse to see a production of a play that roughly translates into "Woman of the House.

Sara and me (with a ghost??) on the shores of the Mediterranean.
"  Those of us who only speak English sit in the balcony so we can read subtitles (like at the opera) while the play is performed.  The play deals with many different issues in Israeli culture (suicide bombings, military conscription, historical traditions, modern cities, death and even yes...watermelon consumption).  I thought the show was fantastic--serious, but with plenty of engaging and funny parts.  I also thought this gave a really good glimpse into what life is like for Israelis.  There were lots of locals in the crowd and they seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. 

The show ended around 11pm and though we had done and seen a lot already, there was still one more stop to make.  One can't visit Tel Aviv and not go to the beach so we made a midnight pitstop at a popular beach.  Some in the group changed into swimsuits and dove right in.  Others (like myself) preferred just to dip our feet in the water.  It was a warm and pleasant night.  The swimmers reported seeing jellyfish in the water.  I enjoyed just taking a moment to breathe in the salt water and appreciate the day.  

We were back on the road after midnight and back at the hotel 18 hours after we last weft in.  In bed at 1:30am and we don't have to wak up again until 7:15am...

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Olives (and their oil) for sale in…
Olives (and their oil) for sale i…
Everyone loves candy!!
Everyone loves candy!!
Our yummy dinner in Tel Aviv
Our yummy dinner in Tel Aviv
Sara and me enjoying our favorite …
Sara and me enjoying our favorite…
Sara and me (with a ghost??) on th…
Sara and me (with a ghost??) on t…
Tel Aviv
photo by: JulieFrenchi