Neve Tzedek: A little oasis

Blog: Adventures, trials and wanderings of American-Israeli in New York City of Middle East

At one of the hip hangouts of Tel Aviv, young families and tourists alike wander the streets of Neve Tzedek, milling through stylish cafés and chic stores.


Neve Tzedek, which means "abode or oasis of justice" in Hebrew, was the first Jewish neighborhood in Tel Aviv. It was established in 1887 (22 years before Tel Aviv's establishment) by Aharon Shlush, who purchased the land to build a Jewish community outside the overpopulated Jaffa port.


The residential neighborhood became a popular destination for artists and writers. It was home to future Noble Prize Laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon and artist Nachum Gutman.


Unfortunately, as time passed, people began pulling out of the area and moving to the developing northern Tel Aviv. By the 1960s, Neve Tzedek was left in the dust – leaving behind dilapidated buildings, deeming it a slum.


The 1980s brought about the revival of the area as efforts were made to renovate it. Ultimately, like many blighted and neglected spaces in major cities, gentrification saved the day – reviving the once vibrant community and creating a prosperous and expensive oasis for those who coulc afford its luxuries.


Shabazi, a quaint street in the heart of Neve Tzedek, offers charming clothing and jewelry boutiques, an Italian gelataria and a neat bookstore. The vibe of the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek can best be described as the meeting place of hipster and yuppie. That pivotal turning point from being hip, trendy and young to being hip, trendy, young and professional – essentially, you're gainfully employed now – Mazal Tov!



As a result, in this neighborhood you'll see a lot of young couples and budding families with strollers in tow. Surprisingly, the area, only blocks away from the bustling Allenby, is quiet and calm – a slice of relaxation in the city.


In need of some new books, I entered Sipur Pashut (31 Shabazi) – a well designed two-story bookstore, featuring titles in both Hebrew and English. There is a fairly comprehensive collection of English books ranging from classics to bestsellers to new arrivals. The staff is friendly and extremely helpful in both suggestions and assistance. Also a well ventilated space, which never hurts.


The heat was stifling outside that day, so I stepped into the busy Anita Café "La Mamma del Gelato." I was welcomed by the warm smiles of toddlers sprawled on the steps, and their mothers coolly lounging at one of the circular tables discussing their children, husbands and the trivial chores and tasks of the day.


Looking at the unique ice cream options, I finally settled on banana with dates and grapefruit with Campari. The grapefruit was mediocre, but the banana with dates was divine. The gelataria also offers such flavors as halva, limoncello and fruity flavors such as melon, watermelon, pear with wine, and fig.


This gelateria has a variety of yogurt flavors, ice cream without sugar and ice cream with a goat milk base. Their gelato isn't quite as light as the Italian stuff, but given that it's a gelataria in Tel Aviv, it's pretty darn good and was winner of a 2008 Time Out award for Best Restaurant/Food in Israel.


Just a jete or foxtrot away is the "Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theater," which is worth checking out. As is the restaurant/coffee shop in front of it. Feel free to recline on their large white sofa couches and enjoy the summer breeze. Best to visit at night when lit by street lamps. Relax and enjoy the soft strumming of the guitar from a street performer.


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פרסום ראשון: 07.28.10, 07:44
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