Tel Aviv: Frivolity and Sharing the Burden


the streets , barefoot and wearing ragged clothes , to eat their only meal in the soup kitchen . Those who continued to work received part of their salary in coupons , in exchange for which they received meager meals in the workers ’ kitchens . Those leaving the country far outnumbered those who entered . The legend of private initiative was shelved . The crisis led to the temporary resignation of Dizengoff , who was replaced , for two years , by David Bloch , from the labor movement . Workers ’ neighborhoods , me’onot ovdim ( workers ’ hostels ) , and schools for workers’ children were established on the outskirts of the city , analogous to the workers ’ housing projects that were then being established in Europe . The workers’ parties grew in power , and David Ben-Gurion , the Histadrut Secretary-General , took his first steps toward leading the Yishuv . The years of the great crisis passed , even though their effects could still be felt for a few years more , until the resumption of immigration in the Fifth Aliyah in 1933 , following the Nazis ’ rise to power in Germany . However , even by the end of the 1920 s , one third of the country’s 150 , 000 Jews were concentrated in Tel Aviv , and the city’s population exceeded that of neighboring Jaffa . The Tel Aviv Municipality took pride in the fact that it was the first city in Eretz Israel , and in the Middle East as a whole , in which elections were held with women having the right to vote . The 1930 s began with new hopes . The beaches teemed with young men and women who took pride in their good looks . Bialik , who wanted to show that Tel Aviv was not merely a city of muscles and beachgoers , established a kind of popular university : the Oneg Shabbat . Each Sabbath hundreds of people gathered in the city’s Ohel Shem hall to hear lectures given by him and by other intellectuals . The cantor Shelomo Ravitz and his choir sang popular melodies there until darkness fell . In 1932 Jewish sportsmen gathered for the Maccabiah games , a sort of Jewish Olympics , that was held in a large stadium erected near the Yarkon River . Dizengoff donated his house to serve as an art museum , the country’s first museum , and Marc Chagall , who was visiting the city , contributed several paintings . Other collectors added works by Jewish impressionist and classical artists . At last , Eretz Israel’s painters could actually see outstanding works from the outside world . Until then , they said , they had passed around picture postcards that had been sent from abroad . In 1933 , upon the Nazis ’ rise to power in Germany , a large wave of immigrants arrived in Eretz Israel from that country . They included leading physicians who joined hospital staffs , professors and scientists , but there were also many who did not have the professions needed by the local economy , who became shoemakers , peddlers , or remained unemployed . Some of the immigrants ( the “ Yekkes , ” as they were called ) who came from the culture of Central Europe , were too old to learn Hebrew and become familiar with the local culture . There was a sense of foreignness and a lack of understanding between them and the veteran immigrants from Eastern Europe or the long-established Sephardic communities . The immigrants from Germany settled in and around Ben-Yehuda Street , forming a sort of “ ghetto ” of their own ( it was also known as “ Ben-Yehuda Strasse” ) , where they had their own synagogue , the offices of their associations , and a soup kitchen . Tel Aviv , however , bears many marks of the culture they brought with them , especially their coffee shop culture . Tel Aviv Gains the Status of a City In 1934 Tel Aviv formally became a city , having seemed till then to be dependent upon the Jaffa municipality and the British district governor . Dizengoff new became mayor in all respects . Although Tel Aviv was not a large city by international standards , it had one of the outstanding features of a bustling city : coffee shops frequented by artists , writers , and painters , who stayed there until the wee hours , getting drunk , talking , arguing , or playing chess . The poets would write poems , and the writers , essays . Nathan Alterman wrote a weekly column for the Haaretz

Posen Foundation

לצפייה מיטבית ורציפה בכותר