Editor’s Wrapup: The Dream That Never Sleeps
Modern Israel rests on three central ideals: Jerusalem is the nation’s spiri-tual center, the focus of 2,000 years of longing and the political capital. Zionism’s revolutionary face is that of the kibbutz, which created a new kind of Jew, working the land according to socialist values.
Then there is Tel Aviv, which combined the Zionist spirit of new Jews with an urban setting. This inevitably meant preserving some of the bourgeois values and pastimes of the diaspora.
Tel Aviv is celebrating its centennial this year, and there is little question that it is living its golden age. It is Israel’s financial center and the engine of the nation’s economy. It is also the country’s cultural heart, with endless offerings of theater and film, music and dance, museums and street life, shopping and cafés for the boisterous and the contemplative.
Nicknamed “the Big Orange,” Tel Aviv is Israel’s answer to New York, just slightly more Jewish—and with a beach. Early generations of Jewish visitors tended to bypass Tel Aviv, looking for authenticity in the historic and spiritual, in things that they couldn’t find at home. Today’s travelers are just as likely to look for familiar pleasures that come in a uniquely Israeli package. That brings them to Tel Aviv.
Much of this issue of Hadassah Magazine is devoted to Tel Aviv as it marks the anniversary of its 1909 founding. A few articles can’t do justice to a city that is the focus of many volumes, but perhaps what we offer—just a few slices of the orange—will provide enough of a flavor to make you want to explore further.
It’s likely that Theodor Herzl, the secular playwright and journalist, would be most at home in Tel Aviv. The father of modern Zionism, who died five years before the city’s founding, only dreamed Tel Aviv. The people who live there, those who provide the energy for the Israeli city that never sleeps, have turned the dream into reality.
—Alan M. Tigay
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