Young Tel Aviv
A Tale of Two Cities
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Brandeis University Press
This book is based on a PhD dissertation submitted to the Hebrew University ten years ago. I wish to express my gratitude to my teachers, Emmanuel Sivan and Hagit Lavsky, for their inspiring supervision....
In 1933, a young South African Zionist named Marcia Gitlin wrote up her impressions of her first visit to Palestine for the South African Jewish Chronicle. The first installment, devoted to Tel Aviv, opened with these words: ...
Chapter 1 | Portrait of a City
Nature granted it a sandy beach, dazzling light and blue skies, winter rains and humid summer heat. But human beings and their culture constructed Tel Aviv. The city’s form and ambience express the social, political, and cultural concepts of the people who built and lived in it. But the track runs both ways. Just as culture is reflected in the city’s physical structure, so...
Chapter 2 | Public Events
Ceremonies shape, represent, and reinforce readings of social reality. Such public events are organized more systematically than are the chance events of daily life. They include rituals through which the collective— whether nation, community, class, or ethnic group—signifies its existence and its values. Ceremonies convey social information and bolster ...
Chapter 3 | Tel Aviv's Consumer Culture
Every human society has some sort of culture of consumption, consisting of its own practices regarding how goods and services are used by its members. But “consumer culture” (sometimes called consumer society) is a phenomenon of the modern Western world. In a consumer culture, a large part of the population consumes far beyond what it needs for basic ...
Chapter 4 | Entertainment and Leisure
“It is not a meaningless Palestinian platitude which says that everything creative in the Land of Israel is to be found in Tel Aviv. It is true,” wrote Marcia Gitlin. Within a few years of its founding, Tel Aviv had become the Yishuv’s cultural center. The city in the 1920s and 1930s had all the attributes of a cultural capital—cultural institutions such as museums, galleries, orchestras, and publishers; cultural producers such as critics, curators,...
Chapter 5 | Subcultures in the First Hebrew City
In 1931, an article titled “Of the Desires of a Man and Woman” appeared in a Tel Aviv weekly. The author wrote that he had interviewed passersby on the city’s streets, asking them what three wishes they would like to have granted by a magic flute he claimed to have. The people he met presumably represented Tel Aviv’s population as a whole. Their wishes were seen as reflecting the stereotypical and typical cultural characteristics...
Did Tel Aviv of the 1920s and 1930s have a culture—defined as a system of worldviews, forms of communication, values, and symbols manifested in all areas of social activity—of its own? Did the city’s inhabitants participate in a distinctive physical cityscape, public events, consumer culture, leisure activity, and subcultures?...