21 June 2017

The Norman Hotel in Tel Aviv

Refined elegance and attention to detail appear to place this small boutique hotel with a choice of fifty luxurious bedrooms a cut above the rest and make it a preferred choice for the discerning, cultivated traveler.  Nachmani Street is located in the most prestigious of Tel Aviv's neighbourhoods and the hotel itself is an Architectural delight, "built in the Eclectic style and is brimming with Renaissance influence and oriental accents.

The Norman Tel Aviv
23-25 Nachmani Street
Tel Aviv, 6579441

Telephone: +972 (0)3 543 5555

20 June 2017

Delonix regia in full bloom

A large specimen of Delonix regia which can be seen in Frishman Street.
Throughout Tel Aviv the streetscape is ablaze with colour thanks to the gorgeous Delonix regia otherwise known as Royal poinciana.  In Israel, this tree is in flower during the months of May and June.  Its colour is so striking and vibrant and really adds value and interest and makes walking in the street particularly at this time of the year so pleasurable. As well, it also provides habitat for wildlife.

Delonix regia with Igael Tumarkin's Holocaust and Revival sculpture in the background.

Delonix regia is a species of flowering plant in the bean family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is noted for its fern-like leaves and flamboyant display of flowers. In many tropical parts of the world it is grown as an ornamental tree and in English it is given the name royal poinciana or flamboyant. It is also one of several trees known as "flame tree". Delonix regia is endemic to the Madagascar's deciduous forests but has been introduced into tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. In the wild it is endangered, but it is widely cultivated elsewhere.  The royal poinciana requires a tropical or near-tropical climate, but can tolerate drought and salty conditions. It prefers an open, free-draining sandy or loamy soil enriched with organic matter. The tree does not like heavy or clay soils and flowers more profusely when kept slightly dry.

In addition to its ornamental value, it is also a useful shade tree in tropical conditions, because it usually grows to a modest height (mostly 5 meters, but it can reach an maximum height of 12 meters) but spreads widely, and its dense foliage provides full shade. In areas with a marked dry season, it sheds its leaves during the drought, but in other areas it is virtually evergreen.

Propogation:  The royal poinciana is most commonly propagated by seeds. Seeds are collected, soaked in warm water for at least 24 hours, and planted in warm, moist soil in a semi-shaded, sheltered position. In lieu of soaking, the seeds can also be 'nicked' or 'pinched' (with a small scissors or nail clipper) and planted immediately. These two methods allow moisture to penetrate the tough outer casing, stimulating germination. The seedlings grow rapidly and can reach 30 cm in a few weeks under ideal conditions.  Less common, but just as effective, is propagation by semi-hardwood cuttings. Branches consisting of the current or last season's growth can be cut into 30 cm sections and planted in a moist potting mixture. This method is slower than seed propagation (cuttings take a few months to root) but is the preferred method for ensuring new trees are true to form. As such, cuttings are a particularly common method of propagation for the rarer yellow-flowering variety of the tree.

Delonix regia adorning Rothschild Street in central Tel Aviv.

17 June 2017

Street or road names in Tel Aviv - part 2

This is a follow on from a blog post I wrote earlier in the week.  It is a worthy subject because the calibre of people after whom roads in Tel Aviv have been named are of such historical importance that they deserve recognition.

 Rothschild Boulevard (Hebrew: שדרות רוטשילד‎‎, Sderot Rotshild) is one of the principal streets in the center of Tel Aviv beginning in Neve Tzedek at its southwestern edge and running north to Habima Theatre. It is one of the most expensive streets in the city, being one of the city's main tourist attractions.  It features a wide, tree-lined central strip with pedestrian and bike lanes. Rothschild Boulevard was initially called Rehov HaAm ("Street of the people"). Later, the residents requested it to be renamed in honor of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild.  The Boulevard is an arts district, with galleries including Alon Segev Gallery, and Sommer Contemporary Art.

 Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild (19 August 1845 – 2 November 1934) was a French member of the Rothschild banking family.  A strong supporter of Zionism his large donations lent significant support to the movement during its early years, which helped lead to the establishment of the State of Israel.

 Herbert Louis Samuel, 1st Viscount Samuel GCB, OM, GBE, PC (6 November 1870 – 5 February 1963), was a British Liberal politician who was the party leader from 1931 to 1935. He was the first nominally-practising Jew, although a personal atheist, to serve as a Cabinet minister and to become the leader of a major British political party. He also served as a diplomat.  Educated at University College School in Hampstead, London and Balliol College, Oxford. He put forward the idea of establishing a British protectorate over Palestine in 1915, and his ideas influenced the Balfour Declaration.  He was appointed to the position of High Commissioner in 1920, before the Council of the League of Nations approved a British mandate for Palestine.  He served as High Commissioner until 1925.  He recognised Hebrew as one of the three official languages of the territory. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) on 11 June 1920.

 Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg (18 August 1856 – 2 January 1927), primarily known by his Hebrew name and pen name,  Ahad Ha'am was a Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. He is known as the founder of cultural Zionism. With his secular vision of a Jewish "spiritual center" in Israel, he confronted Theodor Herzl.  Unlike Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, Ha'am strived for "a Jewish state and not merely a state of Jews".

Theodor Herzl (Hebrew: תאודור הֶרְצֵלTe'odor Hertsel, Hungarian: Herzl Tivadar; May 2, 1860 – July 3, 1904), born Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl (Hebrew: בִּנְיָמִין זְאֵב הֶרְצֵלBinyamin Ze'ev Hertsel), also known in Hebrew as חוֹזֵה הַמְדִינָה‎, Chozeh HaMedinah (lit. "Visionary of the State") was an Austro-Hungarian journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer who was one of the fathers of modern political Zionism.  Herzl formed the World Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish migration to Palestine in an effort to form a Jewish state. Though he died long before its establishment, he is generally considered a father of the State of Israel, formed in 1948.  While Herzl is often mistakenly identified as the first major Zionist activist, scholars such as Yehuda Bibas, Zvi Hirsch Kalischer and Judah Alkalai were promoting Zionist ideas before him.

 Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (23 April 1861 – 14 May 1936) was an English soldier and British Imperial Governor. He fought in the Second Boer War and also in the First world War, in which he led the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire in the conquest of Palestine. 

Honouring Jerusalem on foot: Allenby dismounted and entered the city on foot through the Jaffa Gate, together with his officers, in deliberate contrast to the perceived arrogance of the Kaiser's entry into Jerusalem on horseback in 1898 which was not well received by the local citizens.  He did this out of respect for the status of Jerusalem as the Holy City important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The people of Jerusalem saw Allenby's entrance on foot as a sign of his modesty.

16 June 2017

Read all about it ...

As many people who have been reading my blog know, I have been writing about life in Tel Aviv since we moved here in December 2014.  So it was refreshing to read a short write-up about Tel Aviv in the June 2017 edition of British Vogue magazine.  On page 158, under the sub-heading of 'Holidays for Art Lovers, by Yana Peel' the article says and I quote:

Tel Aviv has it all: museums, galleries and amazing street art.  I love the Centre for Contemporary Art at the bottom of the Shuk Ha'Carmel.  Tel Aviv Museum of Art has a breathtaking new wing.  Head to Rothschild Boulevard for the Sommer and Alon Segev galleries; and Dvir Gallery, in south Tel Aviv, where a very close-knit art community has its studios.  For craft lovers, the Jaffa galleries are a must, and Ilana Good Museum.  Try A La Rampa for a post-art supper. 

15 June 2017

A Contemporary Art Gallery in Rothschild Blvd

It is unbelievable to think of the number of times I have walked past 6, Rothschild Boulevard totally unaware that there was an art gallery here.  It was only after I read a brief article which appeared in the June 2017 edition of British Vogue magazine that I learnt of its existence.  So, I went along to have a look, given my penchant for art galleries and museums.  It was a large, spacious gallery space with a high ceiling. The gallery comprised of two floors.  Architecturally it was very stark, made up of large concrete slabs which presented a blank canvas.  One presumes that the minimalist interior was designed specifically to allow the artwork to become the focal point.

There were several exhibitions on simultaneously.  The ground floor was entirely devoted to a solo exhibition by Tal Mazliach.  The following three pieces not counting the initial notice advertising his work are by him.

The gallery space upstairs featured works by Eitan Ben Moshe, Maya Gold, Gideon Rubin and Maya Zack among others.

The colourful circular light boxes were by Eitan Ben Moshe.  They had great depth and originality and were made up of geometrical patterns.

This piece was by Maya Zack.  Unfortunately, the photograph makes it look flat and does not do it justice.  It was in effect a 3 dimensional (3-D) work.  One had to view it through the lenses of special 3-D glasses made of paper to fully appreciate the work.  It was fascinating and very cleverly made.

Address: 6, Rothschild Blvd, Tel Aviv, Israel 6688109
Telephone: +972 (0)3-6090769

14 June 2017

How are you? x 5

The intricacies of the Hebrew language reveal themselves to me the longer I spend in this country.  I have discovered that there are at least 5 ways of asking someone the simple question of "how are you?".  However, a quick search on the internet has revealed 13 other expressions which vaguely mean the same thing besides the 5 featured below.  That is a total of 18 different ways, it is almost worthy of a Guinness Book of Records entry.  I am setting out the 5 ways which I am familiar with below.   As well, I am including the website which I found on the internet which appears to have 13 other expressions used to ask how someone is?  Although the heading of the article is, 10 Ways to Say Hello in Hebrew they also give ways to say what's up?, how are you?, what's going on?, how's everything?, yet another how's everything?, how is it going? and what's new?  I think you will agree with me, that's a lot ways to ask how are you?
מַה קּוֹרֶה Ma kore?
Translation - what's happening? what's going on?
מַה הָעִנְיָנִים Ma hainyenim? 
Translation - what's up? 

 מַה נִּשְׁמַע Ma nishma?
Translation - how are you doing? 
מַה שְּׁלוֹמְךָ Ma shlomkha? (to a male speaker),

 מַה שְּׁלוֹמֵךְ Ma shlomekh? (to a female speaker)
Translation -how are you?

The response in each case appears to be the same
  אני בסדר תודה ani beseder, toda
Translation - I'm fine, thank you 

13 June 2017

Urban design in Tel Aviv ...

The public spaces in Tel Aviv especially the areas along the foreshore are so well designed and thought through thanks to Mayslits Kassif Architects not only are they functional but they are aesthetically pleasing. Have a look at the outdoor seating arrangements in the photograph above.  Moulded concrete seats are made to look like large white stone boulders and are placed randomly on a raised hardwood decking.  The oversized beige parasols offer much needed respite and shelter from the strong Tel Aviv sun. This vantage point affords an uninterrupted view of the Mediterranean Sea.

I took this photograph this morning and a woman was comfortably perched on a boulder totally engrossed in her book occasionally looking up and gazing at the superb, shimmering deep blue sea. 
   Mayslits Kassif Architects
 Address: 17-A Hagra Street, Tel Aviv
Telephone: +972-3-5440101
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