Tel Aviv lovin’

Tel Aviv’s upcoming Tu Be’av program is all about love.

tThe ‘Mystery-Clad Romances in Sarona’ tour. (photo credit: YACHATZ)
tThe ‘Mystery-Clad Romances in Sarona’ tour.
(photo credit: YACHATZ)
As far as Omri Shalmon is concerned, Tel Aviv’s upcoming Tu Be’av program is all about love – love between couples, and love for the buildings in which we live, love and work.
As chairman of the Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel (CCHSI), Shalmon has a vested interest in the event, which is taking place this Thursday under the title “Love and the City.” The program offers a glimpse of Tel Aviv’s century-old heritage through theater, dance, music and poetry – as well as accounts of some of the great local love stories.
According to Shalmon, you can’t have buildings without love, and vice versa.
“It is a triangle, and the parts can’t exist without one another,” he states. “A house or building cannot exist without the people who live in it or use it, the person cannot exist without the building, and neither can live without love. As human beings, we love each other, our families and the things we create.”
Our domiciles, workplaces and houses of culture, then, are far more than just bricks and mortar, and that accrued emotional, existential and historical zeitgeist will be celebrated on Thursday.
“A building means depth,” declares the CCHSI chairman.
“Buildings mean foundations, in all senses. A building stands on its foundations, and foundations mean roots. A building also stands on its past.”
Indeed, there is plenty of history in Thursday’s lineup, as the city unfolds the colors, personalities and events of Tel Aviv folklore – from its diminutive beginnings in the first decade of the 20th century, through the momentous cultural and political shifts of the past century. The program will take place at a wide range of venues from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Beit Rokach, for example – which nestles in one of the cozier streets of Neveh Tzedek, a neighborhood that predates the founding of Tel Aviv by over 20 years – will host the theater show An Hour in the Sands, in which actors will use puppets and wacky props to tell the story of the area’s earliest days in a loving and comedic manner.
There will be further amorous content at Beit Yosef Bau. The site’s namesake, who died in 2002 at the age of 82, was one of the country’s most creative minds. A Polish-born Holocaust survivor, Bau was one of Israel’s first animators, caricaturists and illustrators, and created Hebrew fonts that were used in scores of commercials, TV shows and movies over the years. He was also a talented writer, and the “Art and Love” slot, which will take place at Bau’s former studio on Berdichevsky Street, will feature some of today’s leading people of letters performing readings of his love poetry. They will also read works of their own that were inspired by Bau.
The evening’s cultural slots feature an abundance of women- oriented events as well. Independence Hall on Rothschild Boulevard – the original home of the Tel Aviv Museum, as well as the site where the State of Israel was officially declared – will host the “Women Create Art with Love” gig, which will tell the tale of some of the city’s leading female artists. Meanwhile, to the south, visitors to Holon’s Hosmasa Museum will be able to enjoy Women of the Hagana Tell their Story, a theatrical show portraying the story of the Hagana from a woman’s perspective.
While “Love and the City” is basically about years gone by, Shalmon maintains that the city’s structures continue to live and breathe – and exhale – all the dynamics they have imbibed over the past century or so.
“No building is a standalone. If you look at archeology, you can discover a wall or the remains of a building, but the remains have a story to tell, about the people who loved and worked there, about everyone who passed through. The words people spoke, the thoughts they had – all that makes the building what it is today. It is fascinating to try and imagine why a house looks the way it does – why it was built in a particular shape, and why it has a particular number of floors.
That is part and parcel of what we have today.”
Tel Aviv has plenty of stories to tell – stories of national historical import, of intrigue and a broad spectrum of interpersonal relationships. All of that comes into play in the theater show Love Between the Lines, which the Kirkara (Chariot) Theater group will perform at the Lehi Museum. It portrays an intricate tale of love between a man and a woman, and of patriotism, friendship and comradeship between brothers in arms.
A member of the political hegemony will get in on the act on Thursday as well: Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev will join veteran radio personality Dan Canner and singer Varda Goldberger in the program “Madrigal – The Woman with Him” at the Jabotinsky Museum, in conjunction with the Irgun Zva’i Leumi Museum. The lineup is based on the long-running romance between Yohana and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and includes a lecture, as well as readings of letters and poetry.
There is also a peripatetic item on the agenda, in the form of “He Loved Her and She Loved Him – Mystery-Clad Romances in Sarona.” The tour will take participants along the alleyways of the recently revamped Sarona district, and while getting an eyeful of the picturesque renovated buildings there, the public will hear fascinating stories of secret love affairs – for example, between a member of the German Templer community and a Scottish army officer, and between a member of the pre-state Hagana and a British soldier.
It looks like there is plenty of interest, fun, excitement and intrigue in the cards for Thursday’s evening out, and all under a quintessentially romantic full moon.
All events are in Hebrew. For more information: