Blanche Dubois said it but in Tel Aviv, my hubby and I are discovering it. I have been so struck during this trip by the generosity and openness and curiosity of the Israelis we've met. The other day, we met a friend of a friend--Ygal Gawze--an architectural photographer who is passionate about the bauhaus-influenced buildings in Tel Aviv. My s.o. and I have made a significant effort to reach out to get a taste of real life here, and Ygal took four hours to give us a tour of some of his favorite buildings, as he told the story of the birth of Tel Aviv Bauhaus and what was planned as the first modern Jewish city. It made me think of how busy I am at home--so often, when friends of friends want to meet me or connect, my first impulse is that I'm too busy. Often I'll meet people for a quick drink or coffee, but to give someone--a stranger--four hours of my time? Um. Never. And Ygal is not the only one. (BTW, if you are interested in Bauhaus, check out his website, Tel Aviv Bauhaus Walk). Bartenders have given us free shots. The temperamental cat who lives in the apartment we swapped for is showering my husband with affection. (See below) Gallery owners have shared memories of sitting in coffee houses in NYC, listening to a young Bob Dylan. A dancer studying at the nearby Suzanne Dellal dance center shared the story of her year in Israel. Another Jerusalemite trekked with us through the old city, showing us ruins and other nooks and crannies, despite the heat of the midday sun. When I return home, I want to be more open to strangers and friends of friends, offering my time, showing off my city, and generally tearing myself away from the endless busyness of work and schedules.
Below, a few photos of our nabe, Nevet Tzedek, a neighborhood in transition. You can see an example of restored Bauhaus and less-than-restored.