Category Archives: Meïr Dizengoff

The Trumpeldor Cemetery – the Tel-aviv ”Père Lachaise”

Shoshana Damari

Shoshana Damari

Trumpeldor street in Tel-aviv, situated south of the White City and close to its beautiful beach is where one can find the most famous cemetery of Israel. One could call it the Israeli  ”Père Lachaise’.

The cemetery was named after
Yosef Trumpeldor – a  Hero of the Modern                         History of Zionism.

At the end of the nineteenth century it was located outside the City of Jaffa,  when Tel- Aviv did not yet exist..

The cemetery was situated far away to the Northern part of the Ottoman urban City of Jaffa. During late afternoons, when darkness fell over the country,  the ‘undertakers” had sometimes difficulties to find their way to the cemetery, and many stories were spread about this awkward transportation. One of the reasons was that the Plague invaded the city and in order to avoid an epidemic the bodies had to be hastily buried as far away as possible.

The dilapidated state of the cemetery has been a deep concern for the Israeli patrimony lovers. Some of the graves are even nameless.

But what a wonder to discover the names of some notabilities that are buried here :

Moshe Sharett – second Prime Minister of Israel , Meir Dizengoff – the First mayor of Tel Aviv, Chaim ArlosoroffMenahem SheinkinMax Nordau and other founding characters of Zionism, Hayim Nahman Bialik, the National Poet and other writers like Shaul Tchernichovsky, Menahem Sheinkin, and the great painters  Nahum Gutman and Reuven Rubin, who rest alongside well-known singers buried more recently Shoshana Damari and Arik Einstein.

              As children say, in the Trumpeldor Cemetery one can find

                                          ALL THE NAMES OF THE STREETS OF CITIES OF ISRAEL

Arik Einstein

Arik Einstein

 

The amazing Bialik street – Tel-aviv

Bialik street

Bialik street

Bialik Street is located in the heart of Tel Aviv. It begins on Allenby Street and ends with Bialik Square, where the first City Hall of Tel Aviv was situated.

This is probably one of the most beautiful streets of Tel Aviv. One must take the time to stroll and admire the abundance of beautiful homes and historic monuments, which are a delight to the eyes.

Most of the buildings were renovated in 2009 to celebrate the commemoration of the                                                            Centenary of the City of Tel Aviv.

The first Tel-aviv Town Hall

The first Tel-aviv Town Hall

Some of these houses are of great beauty with all architectural styles coming together,                                                     Ecclectic, International, Art Deco and Modernism.

Next to the old Town Hall there is the Felicia Blumental Music Center, dedicated to the pianist of the same name. The building, constructed by the notable Shenkar family, with its orange color also incorporates the Music Library of the city.

Haim Nahman Bialik House

Haim Nahman Bialik House

Bialik Street is named after Hayim Nahman Bialik, one of the greatest Hebrew language poets, who today is considered to be the National Poet of Israel.

Born in a religious family he studied in a yeshiva (Talmudic school). After that he moved to Odessa, a mythical city of cultural crossroads , where he met Ahad Ha’am, the spiritual Zionist, who became his friend.

He traveled to Palestine for the first time in 1909. In 1920 his friend Maxim Gorki helped him fleeing the Bolshevik dictatorship and Hayim Bialik left his native Russia.

As a very wealthy man with a great reputation,  he was much in demand by the local figures  and was promised that a street be dedicated to his name, where he would build his house in 1925.

Bialik Street has four museums:

The Bialik House, the Museum of the painter Reuben Rubin, the Bauhaus Museum (house of Shlomo Yafé), and, at the Bialik Square, the new Museum of the History of Tel Aviv – Jaffa, where once stood the Town Hall of Tel Aviv.

Six mayors of Tel Aviv held their functions there : Meir Dizengoff, David Bloch, Moshe Shlush (a few days), Yisrael Rokach, Haim Levanon and Mordechai Namir.

Bialik Street un 1930

Bialik Street un 1930

 

Cafe Sapphire in 1930

Cafe Sapphire in 1930

At the end of Bialik Street there is a cafe with an unusual history. It was called the Sapphire Café, Café Nightingale, Gan Rave and, for fifteen years Café Bialik.

Since its construction in 1930, it became an attraction for students and intellectuals living in the neighborhood. Hundreds of people would come to admire the fascinating new interior design style of the building. On Thursday evenings, the terrace was used as a dance floor.

During the second Intifada a Palestinian person committed a bomb attack on Cafe Bialik.  One man died and several were wounded. It was quickly reopened, but today it covers only a part of its original surface.

In October 2007, the owner of the building, Danielle Weiss, with the permission of the Mayor of Tel Aviv, wanted to destroy this historical building in order to build a high tower.

How ironic… at that specific time the city was making preparations to celebrate the 100th birthday of the White City….

A petition was then signed by the residents’ associations and friends of Tel Aviv . They succeeded in restraining the decision to tear the cafe down..

Additionally, another scandal  was going to be unveiled: the beautiful mosaic of Nahum Gutman, telling the history of Tel Aviv – Jaffa through time was exposed for many years in the square of the old Town Hall and had disappeared mysteriously!

This mosaic was removed during the renovations of Bialik Square and nobody knew where it was. However, it was found in a very dark and rubble place, ready to be forgotten… This scandal reveals once again that the past has little importance for some notables representing this city.

This piece of art was then installed in a new surrounding between Rothschild Boulevard and Neve tsedek,  at the foot of a tall tower so adored by the Mayor of Tel Aviv …

                       whose dream is…  that Tel Aviv will become a Second New York!

 

Nahum Gutman mosaic - Bialik Square

Nahum Gutman mosaic – Bialik Square