Tel Aviv: Frivolity and Sharing the Burden


Tel Aviv as a Symbol of the New Movement Since then Tel Aviv came to symbolize the new movement of Zionism , which sought to establish a national entity for the Jews , a state like all others , within their ancient land . Zionism was named after Zion ( Jerusalem ) , but it turned its back on the holy city . For the Zionists , Jerusalem represented something frozen in time , the anticipation of a miracle from Heaven , inaction . Tel Aviv symbolized the Zionist dream : a city like all the world’s cities , and even better than them , one that , together with the rural settlements that were established in Eretz Israel , became a source of pride and a shining example . In 1922 the artist Reuven Rubin returned to Eretz Israel , and painted what is probably the first painting of Tel Aviv : small houses in the sand dunes , without roots in the ground , which the wind could seemingly blow away , with the sea spread out behind them . But this was a city of last resort , a sort of final wall , behind which there was nothing . Alongside those who praised Tel Aviv , there were others who mocked the amazement expressed by the tourists and visitors . These were the authors who resided in Neveh Zedek : Shmuel Yosef Agnon , Joseph Hayyim Brenner , Devorah Baron , Yosef Aharonovich , and David Shimonovich . They viewed Neveh Zedek , which had been founded twenty-five years earlier , as a settlement like any other Jewish settlement in the world , while Tel Aviv seemed to them to be a plaything for the amusement of tourists . Agnon , who devoted a considerable part of his book Temol Shilshom ( Only Yesterday ) to Neveh Zedek and Neveh Shalom and their inhabitants , dismissed the new neighborhood in only a few lines . He wrote that its residents “ thought to build summer homes , in which a person can find repose after the day’s work . His wife , sons , and daughters sit in the fine air and do not fear trachoma and the land’s other afflictions . ” It is related of Agnon , who at the time was the clerk of the Hebrew Magistrates ’ Court and a handsome , well-dressed young man , that he would walk about in the new neighborhood , and stroll down its main street , looking from one side to the other , to see whether the young ladies of the town , sitting on the porches of their homes , were looking at him . A similar derisory tone appears in a description by Jerusalemite author Aharon Reuveni . He writes , in his book Ha-Oniyyot ha-Aharonot (“ The Last Ships” ) , that Tel Aviv contained “ several hundred students , their families , shopkeepers , hotel owners , boardinghouse owners , and teachers , whose livelihood came from the students and from donations that were collected for the Gymnasium , and clerks in the Jewish bank and the Palestine Office . ” He continues : “ The town accordingly had a constant festive air , reflecting a life that was easy and distant from worry , the life of peacocks . ” Tel Aviv , however , flourished and grew , house by house . Five streets and a single avenue passed through the length and breadth of the neighborhood : Ahad Ha-Am , Rothschild Boulevard , Lilienblum , Yehuda Halevi , and the main street , that went from the railroad tracks to the Gymnasium , and was named after Herzl . The teachers at the Gymnasium , who built their homes on the street that bordered the school to the west , wanted to name their street after the writer Peretz Smolenskin . But it was not thought fitting for teachers and educators to give their street a non-Hebrew name , so they called it “ Ha-Shahar Street , ” after the periodical that Smolenskin had edited . A year after the founding of Tel Aviv , a new neighborhood for craftsmen , Nahalat Binyamin , grew up to the north of it . The new neighborhood’s name became the target for humorous jibes . In one instance , people said : If the Zionist Federation gives us money , we will say that the neighborhood is named after Herzl ( whose Hebrew name was Binyamin Ze’ev ); and if Baron Rothschild gives us money , we will say it’s named after ( Edmond ) Binyamin Rothschild . Another version of the story suggests that it was so named because the secretary

Posen Foundation

לצפייה מיטבית ורציפה בכותר