Editor’s Wrapup: Old-New Land of Culture
Given the long path of Jewish history, it may be ironic that the nexus of Jewish culture is a city that is less than 100 years old. Tel Aviv—home to poets, writers, actors, di- rectors, filmmakers, musicians and dancers—has been defining the Israeli experience and redefining Jewish expression since its first buildings rose out of sand dunes in 1909. But, as Dina Kraft reports, the city’s always heated artistic scene is in the midst of a boom. In “Perpetual Renaissance” (page 20), she gives a rundown of some of the most popular spots on the city’s cultural map.
Kraft surveys not only entertainment centers of general appeal, but also those of one of Israel’s most important subcultures. In “South Side Story” (page 10), she introduces us to a cluster of dance clubs where young Ethiopian Israelis congregate. No other venues in Israel cater so exclusively to one ethnic group, Kraft reports. Those who frequent the clubs on Tel Aviv’s Ben Avigdor and Hamasger Streets cite the music—from traditional Amharic circle dances to rap and reggae—and a alienation in the broader Israeli society.
One way many Israelis get to Tel Aviv—for work or for play—is on the country’s thriving rail system. As our Last Look (page 84) shows, Israel’s culture capital is at the center of the rail network—even though the city is younger than some of the tracks.
Just as Tel Aviv’s cultural scene is in constant motion, so is Jewish culture in the diaspora. One example is the evolution of the Jewish museum. As Rahel Musleah reports (page 46), many museums in America have gone far beyond exhibits of art and artifacts to become “dynamic centers of continuity, multiculturalism and outreach for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences.” Their transformation includes more lectures, performances and films, as well as enticing architecture. In their effort to promote and harness Jewish identity, they are exposing and altering the long path of Jewish history.