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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Picture a Port

The city that never sleeps – this is the motto of Tel-Aviv. When I am here, I am at home. I love everything about this city, the good and the bad, the new and the old, the beautiful and the ugly. It is a city full of paradoxes and chaotic developments and something for every soul. The Tel-Aviv University campus, itself marvelous, familial and inspiring, is where I am getting my summer projects done. But Tel-Aviv at large, and its port in particular, is what gets my heart racing. Picture a port, waves hitting high, that is alive every hour of the day. Fishermen, runners, bikers, yogis, tourists, a mix of families of Orthodox Jews, Jaffa Arabs, Recent Immigrant Russians, Galilee Druze (especially at the gourmet farmer’s market on Friday) and yuppie Tel-Avivian trendsetters. Just a sample of things to be found on the port: in addition to the dozens of restaurants and cafes, bars, jazz clubs, small concert venues, event hangars, (you can see at least one wedding going on every day of the week), there is an amazing yoga studio (ElhaYoga), with three different classes going on simultaneously, all with views of the Mediterranean (perhaps some of you may equally appreciate that yesterday Shlomo Artzi was there during my morning practice), fashion and apparel stores, a gymbouri style kids activities center, galleries, a women’s only sex shop (called “sisters”), several spas, a free outdoor gym that is designed like a children’s playground, a bookstore, and, right now, a temporary performance hall featuring dance by Bat-Sheva paired with a Japanese animation movie.

I have been writing about my love of Tel-Aviv in my head for a few weeks now and then, a few days ago, a NYT article about the city captured a lot of my feelings, albeit from the perspective of a tourist (Henry Alford) rather than a native (I always will be! - even if for some reason I increasingly get mistaken as a tourist). The article has snippets of muses such as “the fear of the future makes the present more vibrant” (quoting the talented young Israeli writer Etgar Keret) or “we order is an elegant column of four layers of ingredients that sound all wrong for each other — crabmeat, feta, dates, harissa peppers — but are in fact Il Divo of food. I order a gin and grapefruit juice, and the juice is fresh-squeezed. Happiness trickles through my body as my companion and I watch the sun slowly slip over the edge of the Mediterranean; I contemplate having a T-shirt made that says, “I’m with Esther.”

I plan to write more about Tel-Aviv University and its wonderful law faculty, the campus and the dilemmas of publishing in English or Hebrew, to a local or international audience. But for now, I wanted to share the beat of the city that never sleeps. Oh, yes – and there is a big international conference coming up (in English), Law and Society in December 24-26, 2008. It takes place in Jerusalem , but Tel-Aviv is only less than an hour away.

Posted by Orly Lobel on July 30, 2008 at 05:23 AM | Permalink


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