Tel Aviv: Frivolity and Sharing the Burden


opened new opportunities before them . Now they could find employment in their own professions : physicians , engineers , factory owners , bank tellers , managers , and clerks . They were joined by well-to-do residents of Jaffa and the two adjoining veteran Jewish neighborhoods , both Ashkenazim and Sefardim , who were merchants , money changers , and business managers . It was they who established the new neighborhood , over whose character , rules and regulations they had discussed and argued for three years . They objected to the workers’ organizations because of their socialist beliefs - there was not a single laborer among the thirty-six families that founded the neighborhood - but they also had reservations regarding the farmers from the veteran moshavot . These farmers had become accustomed to the support of Baron Rothschild . Worn out , they employed cheap Arab labor on their lands and were far removed from their Zionist dreams . The founders of Tel Aviv wanted to build the Zionist homeland in their own way , and they instituted innovations in their neighborhood that existed in the modern cities of the world : spacious houses with sidewalks , paved streets crossed by a boulevard , gardens in the courtyards , sewage and running water in the houses . The Gymnasium , that had been founded a few years earlier in Jaffa , was built on the highest point in the city . The Gymnasium was a shrine to the renaissance of the new Hebrew culture , and two columns were erected in its entrance : “ Jachin ” and “ Boaz , ” as in the ancient Temple . The inhabitants of the new neighborhood were traditional or religious Jews . The main street was closed with an iron chain on the Sabbath , and vehicles were forbidden to enter the city . Yet , in its first fifteen years the residents did not establish a synagogue . For them , the renaissance of Hebrew culture was primary , and this culture was symbolized by the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium , which bustled with life . Some of its teachers had PhD degrees , and they debated the desired nature of Hebrew education . Other teachers were writers , and some renewed professions that were uncharted territory for Jews , such as poetry , sports , and excursions . The school also boasted an orchestra , which marched along the main street every Friday , playing Hebrew melodies . Apart from the pupils from Tel Aviv , there were those who came from Russia and other countries , having been sent by their parents to be educated in the Hebrew spirit of the Gymnasium . The city’s founders instituted several innovations : shops could not be opened within the city , but only in the city’s environs , beyond the railroad tracks . Gas lamps lighted the streets , and even a prison was established in the new neighborhood . The founders also enacted an important social regulation : they prohibited the collection of alms , and instead established a fund to which the residents contributed , and which gave weekly allocations to the poor . The neighborhood was established by the Ahuzat Bayit association , and this was also the name of the new neighborhood in its first year . Then , after numerous discussions , it was decided to rename the neighborhood , using the title given by Nahum Sokolow to his Hebrew translation of Herzl’s Altneuland (“ Old-New Land” ) : Tel Aviv . “ Tel ” ( literally , “ mound” ) symbolizing the ancient , and “ Aviv” (“ spring” ) , heralding the new . Tel Aviv’s fame rapidly spread throughout the Jewish world . A settlement different from all other Jewish settlements had come into being , and the numerous tourists who came to see it expressed their amazement . The writers among them published accounts of their journeys in Hebrew periodicals abroad , in which they sang the new city’s praises , recounting its beauty and uniqueness , and told of its children who spoke only Hebrew . Even the writer David Frischmann , who did not believe in the renewal of spoken Hebrew , changed his opinion after visiting Eretz Israel and hearing the language spoken by children , as if it had been the vernacular for generations .

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