In 2022 my husband and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We decided to take a trip to commemorate this achievement. Many discussions took place on where we should go. My husband’s bucket list included Israel, (and I didn’t want to hear about it for another 40). We combined the trip with some of the most beautiful islands of Greece and set out for this adventure to include Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. With Israel in the news and on our minds, I thought a great deal about how fortunate we were to have been at a relatively peaceful time.
We arrived in Tel Aviv and checked into our hotel where the host reminded us that it was Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), and that we should stock up on food as there would be many closures for a few days. We didn’t give it a second thought until we went for dinner that evening. Walking the streets that night… Tel Aviv was still and silent. We observed a few people arriving at family gatherings in the neighbourhood and stumbled upon a little restaurant featuring a holiday meal.
In the coming days we took many long walks to discover the city. I loved the architecture and wondered why there were so many Bauhaus buildings in this city. I was amazed to learn that Tel Aviv has more than 4,000 buildings built in this style or inspired by it. So many were built in the mid-century and that this led to it being named a modern UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. In designing the new buildings in the 1930s and 1940s, the architects also made accommodations for the hot, sunny Israeli climate by using less glass and small windows to minimize heat, making flat roofs so that these could be used as an outdoor social space.
The days were hot and sunny for sure – and the beach front was unbelievable. Many were there for the sun and the food, but we also noticed several outdoor gyms as we continued along the water.
One morning we walked through the Carmel Market. The largest market (Shuk) in Tel Aviv. Vendors with everything from pastries, spices, to home supplies. There were so many types of fruit including pomegranates and we learned their significance to Judaism as a symbol of righteousness. One vendor told me that they supposedly contain 613 seeds, which correspond to the 613 commandments of the Torah and during Rosh Hashanah.
Israel is known as the country of milk and honey and is also well-known for its unique spices and herbs. These spices are frequently used in Mediterranean-style cooking and are an important element of cooking including making sauces.
Lastly this building was designed in 1924 by Yehuda Magidovich as an eclectic style residential building and served as Zvi Yaakov Levin’s family urban villa. The building has been recognized as a cultural heritage site and subject to the regulations of the “White City” preservation zone. And then we found a Canadian connection. In 2006, the building was purchased by the Canadian couple Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman and converted to philanthropic uses, including the “HESEG” Foundation for former lone soldiers. The interior of the building was restored by the Canadian architects Bourdieu and Filik.
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