Today was wild...there was booming thunder last night, and it rained today. The sea was all churned up, but in spite of the unfriendly elements, the day couldn't have been better. We started off at the Israeli Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel a state, in 1948. The next day, the War of Independence broke out. We actually sat in the room where the Declaration was signed.
We learned about how the original 60 founding families of Tel Aviv/Israel, who carried out Hertzel's dream (Dizengoff, Shienkin...there are a bunch of streets named for them), used a lottery system to divide a piece of land they bought into parcels,
with the main street Rothschild Boulevard (where a lot of the $ came from). They built a gymnasium - school - fashioned after those in Germany. Education has always been extremely important to Jews.
Then we went to Neve Tedesket, which was the 1st suburb of Jaffa, which is probably the oldest port in the world. The area is undergoing gentrification...it's got a ways to go. Some fun photos:
Yep, just your basic dog running down the street with a plastic bottle in his mouth...don't think I've seen that before.
Then we did the whole Jaffa thing again, in the rain. Cobblestones, stairways, couldn't wait to get on the bus. We did learn more about the history of Jaffa - between the Jerumsalemite tour guide and UCLA history professor, my mind is on overload. After discussion about Bauhaus architecture - many of the architects were Germans who fled Germany before the war, and applied their style to building Tel Aviv (which means "old and new") and Haifa - a flat roof style, functional, home with curved balconies, painted white, we drove around the University and then past Rubin Square, where Itzak Rubin was shot/killed by a right wing conservative. He had just given a talk on peace, and had the lyrics of a peace song that he sang in his pocket, which is now in the Ruubin Museum, covered with blood. There is a grouping of rocks that demonstrate where the shooter was, where Rubin was. Sad day for Israel.
He had just come down the steps, and was waving/talking with the crowd.
We went back to the hotel, to rest up for our night activity...a visit to the private home of a Harvard educated historian and his wife (the daughter of a museum curator) who have probably the largest private collection of Judaica in the world...oh yeah, there was a metal door to the apartment, with major security. He had arranged the silver into groupings, according to where it originated....Viennese, German, Italian, Czech, Spanish, Morroccon....we couldn't believe what we were seeing...in a private home. Torah covers, scroll covers, all hand crafted silver, from the 18th,19th, & 20th centuries. He has a few 17th century pieces.
These are oil lamp Hannukiahs.
This is his favorite piece...a Ukranian Torah crown, that has deer and lions holding up and protecting the Tree of Life. It was from an area called Galacia, Robert's grandmother's home. He passed it around to us...how generous.
I thought this piece was beautiful...a peacock menorrah from Czechoslovakia.
Well, me and my tired knees are going to bed...it's been a long day, I can't believe this is only day 1 of our tour. Off to Caesaria tomorrow and a kibbutz!