History · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv

Jewish Holidays Indian Summer

What better than to start your summer when most summers are over? I’m not a beach person really; I mostly hate the sand everywhere. But at this time of the year I love it. The big heat and humidity of July August is gone. And so are the many loud tourists. Finally it’s calm, I’m back and the city is mine again. I feel my feet in the white sand, I swim in the clear sea and spend hours just enjoying the weather until after sunset. When does one have time to spend days at the beach? Never. Or during the Jewish holidays. You almost have no choice. Nobody’s working anyways.

This month we celebrate Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year 5773), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Each holiday has its history, meaning and traditions; and families have their own rituals around them. Rosh Hashana is the New Year and starts at sunset (like all Jewish Holidays) with a big traditional family diner. One of its main symbols is the dipping of apples in honey. To have a sweet year. On Rosh Hashana God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book called the Book of Life and waits until ten days later, at Yom Kippur depending on wether the sinner repents or not, to “seal” the verdict. During those Days of Awe, a Jewish person tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). Leonard Cohen’s song “Who by fire” is inspired by this prayer from the liturgy of the Day of Atonement:

On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed
How many shall die and how many shall be born
Who shall live and who shall die
Who at the measure of days and who before
Who by fire and who by water
Who by the sword and who by wild beasts
Who by hunger and who by thirst
Who by earthquake and who by plague
Who by strangling and who by stoning
Who shall have rest and who shall go wandering
Who will be tranquil and who shall be harassed
Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted
Who shall become poor and who shall become rich
Who shall be brought low and who shall be raised high.

We start Yom Kippur with a big dinner before commencing a 25-hour fast. I consider myself a secular Jew but this tradition is one I keep. I go to synagogue and I pray; in my own way. I question myself, I look back at the past year. Have I been a good person? A better woman? What do I expect and wish myself and my beloved family and friends for the coming year? Oh what am I lying, I ask myself those questions every day. Anyways; Yom Kippur is the day Jews ask for forgiveness. A day to repent. The end of the fast is sounded by the Shofar, a ram horn blown by the rabbi in synagogue. And then we go and eat again. What touches me is that Tel Aviv, a city that is not known for its silence nor religious practice, feels sacred on Yom Kippur. Just this holy silence for a day. And as soon as it’s over, Tel Aviv ignites again in its dynamics. This video by a colleague from StreetIsrael shows the power and impact of Yom Kippur on daily life.

During Sukkot Jews build a Sukkah (booth) where meals are eaten and the Mitzva is to host people in it. Sukkot refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday. Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah (“Rejoicing with/of the Torah”) mean the end of Sukkot and mark the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle.

Chag Sameach & Shana Tova dear readers…

Wishing card from the Israeli website Nostalgia Online archive

 

Architecture · Design · Lifestyle · Neve Tzedek · Tel Aviv

Sunset happiness at Brown Hotel

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When Tel Aviv is as hot and humid as can be in July and August, cool spots are a must. Some days you can’t even leave the AC until late afternoon. Then you can finally find a little sea breeze and enjoy the sunset. And if you want to add more charm to this experience, go to the Brown Hotel’s rooftop and combine it with a cocktail.

This is how the Design Hotels website describes the Brown Hotel: “Behind the facade of a former bank is the intimate Brown TLV – a hotel defined by its rich chocolate-and-caramel colored walls, dark wood floors, and vintage-inspired furniture. It belongs to young hotel entrepreneurs, Leon Avigad and Nitzan Perry. In the lobby, tufted leather couches, low-slung chairs, and a floor-to-ceiling bookcase produce a more intimate urban experience than the bright, extroverted city outside its doors. Throughout, delicate details and provocative gestures meet: the diaphanous drapes of a canopied bed fall just next to black marble bathroom floors. Above its perfectly-tailored 30 rooms, a rooftop deck with lounge chairs, open-air showers, and white umbrellas invites guests back out into the Mediterranean sun and to reconnect with a bustling Tel Aviv below.”

The Brown Hotel is not just the coolest urban boutique hotel in town. The rooftop with panoramic view on the city serves as daytime sundeck and nighttime bar (also for sophisticated private events). The spa offers good massage deals either in the spa or on the rooftop. And beach lovers can even get their own little brown bag.

Brown Hotel Tel Aviv, 25 Kalisher St, 65165 Tel Aviv-Yafo 03-717-0200 www.browntlv.com photo credits: Brown Hotel

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Architecture · Art · Entertainment · General · History · Lifestyle · Music · Restaurants · Tel Aviv

Live music on Jaffa Port’s waterfront

Tel Aviv is divided into 9 districts that have formed naturally over the city’s history. The oldest of these is Jaffa, the ancient port city out of which Tel Aviv grew. There’s much to write about Jaffa, I’d talk about the flea-market or the ancient city but let’s focus on the port today. The Old Port of Jaffa is reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world, notably being the port from which Jonah set off in the famous Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. Its long and fascinating history as  strategic port in the Eastern Mediterranean continued until only recently when new ports were built south of Tel Aviv in Ashdod and north in Haifa, to cater for modern-day shipping methods. Still functional as a small fishing port, the port is currently a recreational zone featuring many restaurants and cafes with lots cultural and artistic activities.

One of my favorite spots in the Namal (port in Hebrew) is called The Container. The Container is an industrial warehouse from the 1920s that has been converted into an art project space, bar and restaurant, located on the waterfront. The NY times recently wrote: “The space fuses Red Hook grit with Levantine glam, incorporating a sweeping, 45-seat horseshoe-shaped bar under a warehouse-high ceiling that affords nice views of both the oversize wood oven in the open kitchen and the rotating exhibits on the walls. Adding to the mix is a three-times-a-week D.J. set.” And live gigs:

As my brother is coming to visit Tel Aviv again, we set up a little concert there. On Friday July 6th at 10PM, N8n will perform with his Israeli band led by drummer Ori Raz for another night of good vibes by the water, some good old funk and some new ‘raw’ material. People are advised to reserve tables, entrance is free. Join us!

More info: http://www.namalyafo.co.il/http://www.container.org.il/  03- 683 63 21

Jaffa Port – photo credit Dani Jordan

The Container by night – photo credit The Container

The Container inside – photo credit Liron Erel

The Container inside – photo credit The Royal Excursion

https://www.facebook.com/events/318911194866710/

http://n8nmusic.com/

Art · beauty · History · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

Random aesthetics in Tel Aviv

Renovated building & old water tower (Nahmani Street)

Renovated apartment building (Ahad Ha’am Street)

Habima Theater (Rothschild Boulevard)

Bauhaus Center (Dizengoff Street)

View from “Bet Ha’ir” – former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

Special event hosted by TLV mayor at the former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

“Bet Ha’ir” – former city hall (Bialik Street circle)

the Felicia Blumenthal Music Center (Bialik Street circle)

Nachum Gutman Fountain (Bialik Street circle)

Gruzenberg Street

beauty · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv

Foxy Ladies

Isn’t “girlyness” a crucial part of being a girl? From the little girl playing with Barbie dolls and wearing your mom’s make-up and high heels until the woman you become. Society has a full range of girly duties for us: shopping, manicure, pedicure, facials, waxing, make up, creams, what else? I always thought this “girlyness” wasn’t questionable for a girl. If you are a girl, you have to like it all. Until I started wondering, what if I’m not like that? Am I the only one? Is it ok? Does it make me less of a girl? No way! It took me a long time to find out I even had the right to question all these given facts, until it became too obvious: I do not like this. After following my girlfriends for so many times, while feeling bored and empty, I realized this is just not for me, this is not who I am. I have no patience and no money for any of the above activities. So I’m a natural woman. Make up and colored nail polish just don’t fit me. Waxing hurts. Shopping is boring. I’d rather improvize, find my own solutions, DIY, use old stuff, buy quickly or create with my old clothes. As long as it’s faster, cheaper and doesn’t hurt. So I finally accepted my “girlyness” could be defined in many other ways. Hence, my new slogan: “Define who you are by who you want to be and not by society and conventionality”. But for all the girly girls, there are beauty salons. Foxy is a super cool beauty salon in Tel Aviv and it recently launched its own gift store with a super cool Friday afternoon party with free drinks and music. The shop sells the top brands in beauty products for face and hands, self-designed shirts and many more gifts for the ladies.

Foxy Salon, 85 Yehuda Halevi St. 03-5662050 or visit Foxy’s Facebook page

Food · Tel Aviv

Delicatessen


My ambition in this blog is not necessarily to share every TLV hotspot, neither to be the coolest chick in town. But when it comes to aesthetics, taste and lifestyle, it’s my duty to share. Especially keeping in mind the motivation behind my posts: show you how and why Tel Aviv is such a great city, as opposed to what most prejudiced minds might think. Most of you who haven’t been here wouldn’t believe this is daily life. So here it is, another proof of how hip, hot and happening this city is. It’s called “Delicatessen” and it’s the latest food concept and more by the R2M cooperation. They already have top restaurants (Brasserie, Coffee Bar), hip bars (Rothschild 12), the Bakery, an exclusive catering business and the boutique hotel “Hotel Montefiore”. Every spot they open always excels in style, design, music and smell. These places are here to stay, which is not an evidence here. “Delicatessen”, combines food and wine, groceries and bakery, breakfast and lunch, wine and spirits and all this with the R2M quality label. Enjoy an Italian cafe on the street terrace, buy some Spanish meat and Dutch cheese in the ‘deli’, eat an Israeli shakshuka in the sun; it’s all part of the experience. Enjoy…

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More info: http://delitlv.co.il/

Art · Design · Fashion · Lifestyle · Music · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

F . A . D . T . L . V .

Israel’s second city and cultural and commercial capital, Tel Aviv was named “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool” by the New York Times. It’s a city that makes you feel alive. It’s constantly changing, moving, developing itself. Only a 100 years old (which is young for a city) and still, so much to be done. Luckily we have a lot of entrepreneurs here bringing in the things a city needs to sustain its adjective “hip”. The hippest thing in Tel Aviv lately is called F.A.D. It is a 30-day curated pop-up shop of limited edition fashion, art and design.FAD2 fadd15 fadd14 fadd13 fadd8 fadd9

Created by Design Space* and Shoplifters**, this creative space is a multidisciplinary art project featuring all sorts of creative fields. A refined 1000 sqm space dedicated to Design / Contemporary Art / Fashion / Books / Music / Technology / Lectures and much more. From clothing to Art and Design, from flower shop to coffee shop, looking for products from israeli creatives, while browsing the library of magazine and art books. All aesthetic grounds are covered, from classics, to creations by young israeli designers, these girls are are precise collection fed by emotions and creativity. The space is hosting 40 industrial designers, and  18 contemporary artists – from Israel and abroad.

There will be special events including an exclusive private Wallpaper evening. In short: if you’re hip and you’re in Tel Aviv, you’ll visit F.A.D. Whether you shop till you drop, get inspired, do your nails, read a book, drink, eat, “mingle” or just be amazed and look around. Thank you girls – Nitsan, Anat, Gilat, Salome and Emmy.

Come visit: F.A.D. –  Elfassy street 15 – Everyday: 11h-21h, Friday: 10h-18h

Photography Solal Fakiel. High production.

*about Design Space: Design Space was established in 2010 to encourage artistic innovation and provide a platform for progressive art of all media, featuring both emerging and established artists’ work. The Gallery is presenting various fields of design, ranging from furniture and industrial products to diverse art exhibitions of newcomer artists and designers. Through collaborations with various creative sectors, Design Space produces projects and initiatives, extending its vision internationally.
As a gallery, design space organizes solo, collective, and group exhibitions, alongside presenting special projects and events conceived by outside curators.

**about Shoplifters: Unique conceptual Fashion Events – Aesthetic chaos

my photos:

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Music · Tel Aviv

Live on Mars

I moved to Tel Aviv in 2007 and I guess one of the main purposes of this blog is to tell you why I’m still here. For sure back then, I didn’t really know what to expect, as always when you dive into the scary unknown. I came in January 2007 to “check it out”. I had an apartment to arrange and told myself I’d stay if I’d find work in my industry: the music industry. Certainly not a country with a big international live music scene then. So in my first year I worked as a music supervisor for tv, films and commercials with a genius music man called Koby Ben Atar. Then, in 2008, Paul McCartney announced he would perform in Tel Aviv and it was obvious I’d find my way to be part of that. The show drew 57,000 fans to the Hayarkon Park and was the beginning of a new wave of big concerts.  In 2009 Leonard Cohen announced his concert at the Ramat Gan Stadium and of course I joined forces there too. It was an unforgettable evening for the artist, the crew and 47,000 people in the audience (but wait, my history with him is not over).  And this is how it keeps going: I work as a freelance local promoter/production under Live on Mars. Doing shows like: Rihanna, Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias, the Pet Shop Boys, Harlem Globetrotters, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Justin Bieber, Metallica, Rod Stewart….

As these are outdoor shows and mostly happen in the summertime, in winter there are other things to do. Going on tour for example. In 2010 I had the honor to be asked by Leonard Cohen to be part of his crew and join a 5 month world tour.

You can watch the archive and photos here:  http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/archive

So, my business is called “Live on Mars”. Why? Because as most of you know, they call me Mars since I’m a kid. For my creative world I use “Life on Mars”, but more about that later. What do I do? Many things; between organizing shows, events and production work. It mostly involves international visits where my side activity is to show these people around; through culture, food, hospitality and entertainment I have the chance to share with them this amazing city. Of course I say this because most of them arrive with a lot of prejudice. Besides the usual security questions they sometimes even ask me if we ride camels, if we have internet and stuff. So it’s an honor for me to be their first impression and to make it a positive impression. I feel safe in this city. Safer than anywhere else in the world. And so does every guest I’ve ever had, both for professional and private visits. All these visitors give me a great opportunity to view, review, discover and rediscover life in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned for more…

Focus on

Focus on: Idan Raichel

Israeli “Singer of the world”

A country has its own musical styles, trends and roots. You would think Israel (also known as “Ingathering of the Exiles”) would offer a lot of interesting world music export products as it is a melting pot of cultural diversity – from Ashkenazi Eastern European Jews till Sephardim or Mizrahim from the Maghreb and surroundings. One of the secrets of making successful music is digging deep in your own and your surrounding roots. As much as Israel is a musical country, with a lot of talent and plenty of musicians; unfortunately, too many local artists these days are busy sounding ‘like’ others instead of creating original and authentic music. Only very few Israeli artists have had international careers – no, the Eurovision contest doesn’t count. One brilliant man called Idan Raichel (12/09/1977) has successfully combined all his influences, his talents and his fascinations into something unique and managed to break down all musical boundaries with his musical project: “The Idan Raichel Project”.

I’ve known Idan since 1998 right after his military service in the army’s rock band. He was then active as a counselor at Hadassim (a boarding school for immigrants, mainly from Ethiopia) and a successful keyboardist with Israeli popular singers. In 2002, from his home studio in the basement of his parents house in Kfar Saba near Tel Aviv, his experiments fusing Israeli pop music with Middle Eastern, African, Indian and other global sounds resulted in what would become the biggest-selling record project in Israeli history and propel Idan to a role as a major figure in the international global music scene. The songs are sung by guest singers and by Idan himself. This project has changed the face of Israeli popular music through a message of love & tolerance and original sounds coupled with sophisticated production techniques.

In 2006, after many number-one hits and a spectacular live show throughout the country, the project got signed to a world music label and embarked on an international adventure. Firstly known in circles of Jewish, Ehtiopian and Israeli communities, the Idan Raichel Project now regularly sells out concerts in large performance venues. Wherever they perform, the Idan Raichel Project unifies the audience into a celebration of what is unique about the cultures of the world, as well as that in which we are all alike.

“This one-man Middle East peace accord makes music that is an ambitious celebration of multicultural diversity. The ethnic elements are cleverly rewired with modern grooves to create an ambient journey that thrillingly bridget the traditional and the modern.” – The Times (London, UK)

Idan Raichel will be performing an acoustic set at the Centre Culturel d’Uccle on February 16th at 20h30.
Website: www.idanraichelproject.com/en
Videos: http://youtu.be/kmW2yAYhMmM (“Mim’amakim” meaning “From the depths)
Videos: http://youtu.be/CtpCGfRRToo(“Im telech” meaning “If you go”)

Tel Aviv

A day in Tel Aviv

Is there a better way to start your day than with a fresh fruit juice? My favorite combination is banana, melon and dates, but it sounds better to say it in Hebrew: “banana, melon, tamar”. Dates come from the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and they have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%, or in other words, a perfect substitute for sugar. My juice in one hand, blackberry and Ipod-touch in the other (do you wonder how I manage that? Well, both have broken screens from falling), I go on to my next step: textile searching.

It’s only recently that I found myself interested in or should I say passionate for creating, crafting and D.I.Y. My latest? Sewing. I started a sewing class, ‘borrowed’ a real old-school Singer sewing machine and started discovering another yet amazing world. So I walk to Nahalat Benyamin Street, the textile center of the city, only a few minutes from my house on Rothschild Boulevard. This historic street was established even before Tel Aviv was born in 1909. Formerly a run-down province of the textile and haberdashery trade, recent years have seen it redeveloped and rejuvenated as a busy pedestrianized precinct full of fashionable cafes and arty shops. Today I’m looking for denim-like textile for a shirt for the next class, but as I discover a tiny store with so many colors and fabrics, I of course end up buying more. In my head it goes like this: here, this fits for pyjama pants, this for a scarf, this for a pillow, this for the inside of a pouch and so on.

Later today, after procrastinating for months, endless repeats in to-do lists and phone reminders AND one car ticket too many, I will get to the municipality for some parking stuff  (do you guys have Easy-park in Antwerp?). The Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality (http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/english) is really very active, efficient, young, involved and hip. Today there is some art on the stairway.

No way I’m taking my car there, so there are 2 choices left: my bike or the “monit sherut”. FYI: my bike is a Belgian bike of over 35 years that I brought with me when I moved here in 2007. My mom used to ride it with me in the back. It’s an old school bike and people stop me in the street to ask me where I bought this retro cool bicycle. A “monit sherut” is a share taxi that falls between a taxi and a bus. Sherut meaning service, these yellow vans follow fixed bus routes and you can stop them anywhere. Payment is done by passing money to the driver in a “human chain” formed by the passengers seated before. The change (and the receipt, when requested) are returned to the person who paid by the same means.

As this being my first blog and just a fragment of my life and of this day, how do I end it? I’ll just share my last ritual of the day: my favorite Yogi tea in my favorite cup.

“Layla Tov” dear readers – meaning sweet dreams in Hebrew…

              Marilyn

 

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv… tell a vibe

Together with about half the world’s population, I wake up excited for one of many morning rituals: coffee. Where? Which? How? With whom? And if you can add something sweet: lamalo (lamalo meaning ‘why not’ in Hebrew).

It’s been over a year since I quit smoking and I’ve developed this          pseudo-need for sweet. I used to not even like chocolate, and  now I feel this urge for sweet taste in the mouth. So my favorite pastry of the moment: chocolate yeast cake. Doesn’t sound as good as it tastes and no it’s not a fungus. In Yiddish it’s called Babka, for all of those with Yiddish skills. Even Martha Stewart has a recipe for it, but it’s not the easiest to bake: http://www.marthastewart.com/312994/chocolate-babka

My favorite Tel Avivi coffee place of the moment is called Ben Ami (www.benami.co.il) and it’s very well located. First of all it’s a two-minute walk from my home. It’s located on a junction of 3 streets: Nahmani Street, Melchett Street and Montefiore Street. What’s in the middle? King Albert Square and yes it is named after our Belgian king that came to visit in the early 20th century. The view from the cafe is on one of Tel Aviv’s finest buildings and it’s called the Pagoda. Built in 1925, it is one of the most typical constructions of the eclectic style, combining oriental and occidental motives. It was originally built for a rich textile negotiator from New York called David Moshe Bloch. The architect, Alexander Levi, originally from Berlin arrived in Palestine in the twenties but went back to Germany in 1927 and died in Auschwitz in 1942. No one really knows if someone is living there, but it’s very well maintained. Rumor has it, it’s owned by a Swedish jewish family that owns Puma.

When wondering what it is that I and so many others like so much about Tel Aviv, there are many answers. How can we describe this vibe to those who never came to visit? To those who don’t get to see this side of Israel in their media? Enter my blog! Tel Aviv gets so many adjectives; it’s young, vibrant, happening, cool, hip, in, hot, fresh but why? Some say it is because it’s the city of contrasts, clashes and paradoxes. The mixture of old versus new. Orthodox versus secular. East versus West. Europe versus USA versus Middle East. Tradition versus innovation. A synagogue versus a gay bar. An old colonial house versus a Philippe Starck tower. It’s this clash that gives the city its surprising and slightly uneven gait.

Let’s keep blogging and unravel the secrets of my dear city. Till later, Marilyn

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