Archive | September, 2012

Yom Kippor in Israel’s City of Sin

26 Sep

A lone police car travels down Tel Aviv’s usually busy roads, inching along as if to make as little sound as possible. Apart from the alien presence of this one car, there’s not a vehicle to be seen for miles. The city, on a normal day teeming with beeping bus drivers, shouty Sheruts and over-dramatic car-drivers, has had it’s volume turned down. This is how Israel does Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar, aka the Day of Atonement. Ever the country of extremes, the many synagogues of Tel Aviv teem with people, whilst outside, the more secular/ non-Jews/ visitors navigate the city by bikes and rollerblades.

From Eruv (evening of) Yom Kippur through to its end by the sound of the shofar, a hushed festival feel envelops the city. Last night groups of people sat out on the roads on chairs, chatting, whilst those strolling past Ha Shuk Carmel (Carmel Market) could drap themselves over a waiting sofa in the middle of the road.

The previous night was shouty, screamy, filled with shots of Arak (with Rocket chasers), and generously poured vodkas. The whole of Tel Aviv, it seemed, was enjoying its last night of sin before the silence descended. These are city-lovers – fans of noise, dirt, traffic.

Then as if by magic a haze descends. Tomorrow, when the Monit taxis hoot their way through HaYakon, we’ll be sure we dreamt this whole thing – well until next year anyway…

NISH NUSH!

23 Sep

Two weeks after landing in the home of Jaffa oranges, the time has come to pour out some freshly squeezed words…

Nish Nush is Hebrew for snack – so welcome to the online version of a delightful little treat!  So grab a baklava from the Shuk (market), kick back in the 88 degree heat and WELCOME to NISH NUSH TEL AVIV!

In the one of the fastest-moving cities in the world (no I don’t have the stats to prove it – but trust me – even I find it hard to keep up!), it’s no surprize that the last two weeks have zipped by.

A whirl of transforming map into reality and random Hebrew sentences into converstions have somehow culminated in today…finally a little hafsakah (break) to scrawl something down!

This blog comes to you from Florentine in Tel Aviv – more info on that to come once all its charms have been explored. It’s a short walk away from Ulpan (Hebrew language) classes, where myself and a group of around 40 people have been taking intensive Hebrew lessons. Someone said that the method is to throw it all at you in the hope that something goes in…I’m pretty sure that this true. If we’re not all too bruised and battered from all the verbs and tenses being chucked in this direction then we may just emerge with a beautiful new language intact.

The group have taken a trip up to the gooey gorgeousness of Rosh Hanikrah – water caves in the North of Israel.  The coach drove up and up on familiar perilous looking mountain roads – scenery that it’s impossible to tire of. The caves themselves were mesmirizing – rocks shaped into window-like grooves through thousands of years of pummelling from the sea. Not to go all Fifty Shades on you but in this case all that gentle abuse has had a breathtaking result.

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) was also spent in the North, in Afula, with an awesome friend of mine and her family (thanks!). We went to see a friend of hers on nearby Kibbutz Mechavia – where history meets art and Israeli politics. Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel used to live here. Her old room has been made into a tribute to her, complete with spooky lifesize ‘shape’ in the bed, and its not unusal to hear a parent tell their children to go see Golda, for a little bit of amusement.

Golda’s room – lifesize model included!

Kibbutz Mechavia is also where the idea for this blog was born – in honour of the Kibbutz cafe of the same name – which sadly was closed when we were there – I hear the cakes are delicious though so check it out if you get the chance!

Kibbutz art….Peacefully musing…..

Back in the centre of the country and it’s hot, hot, hot – but not too hot for a Nish Nush!

Happy snacking and more to come soon!

xxxx