Once Upon a Time in Tel Aviv

I ran into an incredible online exhibition: VTLV is “time traveling” Israel-lovers by vintage photographs of the to the 20’s, 30’s 40’s and 50’s, presenting the culture, fashion, architecture, and everyday life of Tel Aviv. I decided it’s time to show you guys the beauty of the onetime White City, as seen on VTLV. Alongside the pics I selected my favorite Israeli poems – not only indulging your eyes, but also your soul. 

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When high noon on a summer’s day
makes the sky a fiery furnace
and the heart seeks a quiet corner for dreams,
then come to me, my weary friend.

A shady carob grows in my garden –
green, remote from the city’s crowds –
whose foliage whispers secrets of God.
Good my brother, let’s take refuge.

Hayim Hahman Bialik – On a Summer’s Day

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Laugh, laugh at all my dreams!
What I dream shall yet come true!
Laugh at my belief in man,
At my belief in you.

Freedom still my soul demands,
Unbartered for a calf of gold.
For still I do believe in man,
And in his spirit, strong and bold.

And in the future I still believe
Though it be distant, come it will
When nations shall each other bless,
And peace at last the earth shall fill.

Shaul Tchernikovsky – Creed

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Today I am modest as an animal,
Spread flush as rainwashed fields.
With a small fat hand I lead
My life towards compassion and children.
Today each stranger, each sufferer
Comes to me.
My heart’s little gifts
Patter rain-like about me.
And already I carry Tomorrow-
Its weight closed in
And again leaping out,
Without looking, toward all the unknown.

Esther Raab – Today I’m Modest

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Even ancient visions had their own moments of birth.
The heavens, lacking birds,
so strange and fortified.
This moonlit night, before your window stands immersed
a city in the tears the crickets cried.

And as you see the way still watching for a wanderer
the moon as well
upon the cypress speared
you speak aloud — my God, are all these things still here?
Can one still ask their welfare in a whisper?

Natan Alterman – Moon

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Spring and early morning –
do you remember that spring, that day? –
our garden at the foot of Mount Carmel,
facing the blue of the bay?

You are standing under an olive,
and I, like a bird on a spray,
am perched on the silvery tree-top.
We are cutting black branches away.

From below, your saw’s rhythmic buzzing
reaches me in my tree,
and I rain down from above you
aragments of poetry.

Rachel Bluwstein – Our Garden

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Can’t get enough of vintage Israel? Check out the permanent photo exhibition at HaShalom tower! And now back to the present – follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest for daily updates from our beloved White City. 

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