Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Day in Tel Aviv

I love Tel Aviv! It is considered the New York City of Israel because you feel so alive in it! They say the same thing about both cities: they never go to sleep. And it's true...no matter what time of day, there are always tons of people filling up the streets.
Seth and I went to the "shuk" (flea market)...it's even better than the one in Jerusalem! Filled with the colours of fresh fruits and vegetables, the smell of fish and baked goods, and the sweetness of candies!

The shuk in Tel Aviv is right near the beach...we took plastic chairs from the beach and sat in the water (and ended up getting soaked!), watching kids jump the waves and collect seashells. The sunset was beautiful:Often, whether in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or any other place packed with people, a loud, happy music is heard, and a white van rounds the corner, and 5 or 10 religious men hop out, dancing and clapping, with smiles on their faces. They are the follows of Rabbi Nachman, born in 1772 in Ukraine. He was an exceptional Tzaddik (person who does good deeds), a Torah sage, teacher, and story teller. His great grandfather was the founder of the Jewish Chassidic (ultra-religious) movement. Rabbi Nachman's teachings are still learned today, by both Jews and non-Jews. His followers call him "the Rebbe", and are called the Breslover Chassidim. They are known for their energy and enthusiasm, and try to spread this to the Israeli public through their music and dancing. Most wear a big white ¨kippah¨(head covering), that have the Hebrew word "Nachman" on it in black. Here is a picture of them dancing on top of their vans on the Tel Aviv boardwalk (almost everyone stopped and watched them as they were passing by...they really do manage to improve people's moods!).

Unfortunately, almost every area bustling with people also has a plaque or a memorial, with the names of those murdered in terrorist bombings. One of the most devastating ones took place at the Dolphinarium, at a club on the Tel Aviv boardwalk. The bomber blew himself up outside the club, which was packed with teenagers waiting to get inside on a Friday night (June 1st, 2001). 20 Israelis were killed, and over 90 maimed. 19 of the 20 were recent immigrants from the Soviet Union. Here is the memorial:

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