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happy one hundredth!

Part of the Chanoeka celebration this year included a photo exhibit commemorating the century since the founding of Tel Aviv in April, 1909. 300 volunteers in ten community centers there had proceeded to sift through archival photographs for the display, which is traveling around... 100 years ago T-A was a tiny suburb of Jaffa/Yafo, which had been a big-deal seaport for 3400 years up to then. Fought over successively by Egypt, the Israelite kings David and Solomon, the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Roman, Turks, British... and there was need for a new settlement in our time. In 1909, Tel-Aviv was originally a few families in a small Yafo suburb, now the metro area is around three million. Jaffa/Yafo was joined to Tel Aviv in 1950 when the larger port of Ashdod was built; now Ashdod is measured within the population of the region.

I didn't have much to do with Tel Aviv last year except to change my plane ticket there, in Ramat Gan, and go through it on my way to see Naatz in Haifa, Lotus82 near Jerusalem, and Yoni in Efrat. So I didn't recognize much of anything about all that history.

TEL is related to the Arabic word for a small elevation, a raised mound marking the site of an ancient city. This 1932 photo shows immigrants building a factory wall in the city center:






And this is a kindergarten music class in percussion from about the same period:





From only a few families, in the 1930's the city grew with thousands of refugees fleeing religious persecution in Central Europe.

I am completely in awe of what has been constructed not only along the coast but all over the desert terrain... fresh plants and trees grown under tents that are regularly watered, new roads, schools, hospitals, really a modern country from what it was a century ago. A whole nation built actually from faith and hope, reflections of candles of hope symbolized by the menorah.

A leading choreographer in the international dance world is Ohad Naharin, the Israeli who danced with the national dance theatre here, then returned to Tel Aviv to start the Bat-Sheva companies... also internationally famous. This was his poster for a US tour in 2007, which sold out so fast I couldn't get a ticket:








And this action shot is from his duet choreography for "Intermezzo", performed last September and which I saw here:





Last week we had a choir traveling between the snowstorms, 70km down from Gouda, where they make the cheese. Their conductor is Israeli, Yaél Kedar, and one of her Dutch choir members made a special note about her Israeli heritage when she introduced her. They were the only choir to wear some lights as well as sing beneath them:






The group is named "Supper's Ready" -- have no idea how you'd say that in Hebrew -- and I like the kids looking on.

And I liked the lights through her hair:






To life!

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