Back in the Hood

I actually have at least two neighborhoods that I have come to know well. Between them, I have the best of two corners in the city of Tel Aviv where I can get ripped off and discover as I roam along; the Namal and Kikar Rabin.

Channel 10 reported that “horef” has arrived and will be here for a while; sunny and 70’s in November is what I had to deal with! Nevertheless people have been wearing their winter garb despite it getting warmer each day in the city. I was fashionable in a “T” or “tank” and a cardigan when walking in the shade, because when the sun shines in Israel it is exceptionally brilliant!

I always find something new as I explore TLV and on one particular day, I noticed what I refer to as a “Mr. Mom explosion”. I was quite impressed by the amount of dads hanging outside with their babies over the course of the day and during the week. That’s cool if it works best, but more importantly are the MANY tiny Sabras that I have admired who are growing up here.

As I quenched my thirsty moments with the selection from the juice bars around town, I have found only one so far that is the real deal. Dr. Juice on Ben Yehuda, a few blocks from Frishman going North on the west side of the street, does it best. Beware of the rest as they sneak water and sugar into whatever cup of juice you order!

While I am on the subject of being ripped off, I have to really SHOUT about the taxi drivers and their agenda. I think it is time that they all be taken out to task and some sort of punishment be implemented. Perhaps some undercover media needs to take a ride and see how they rip people off, particularly if they hear your Hebrew is not native tongue. As if we wouldn’t notice them driving in circles as they drive at a slow pace in order to jack up the price. They did not get away with it at my end (I have become too familiar with the roads!) Each time this happened, I felt so disappointed that this is the norm. That situation needs to be handled ASAP!

As the end of the week would approach I began to sense Shabbat getting closer, even before Yom Shishi, that feeling sets in on Yom HaMishi for sure. It was on Yom HaMishi when I was walking through the streets, the scent of hairspray radiated from the salons around town as the women prepare their “dos” for the weekend. The smell of spices filled the air as the new slabs of shwarma were placed for cooking, along with deliciousness from the bakeries filled with cakes and breads was also potent. Delighted that this aspect of life in Israel will always be evident, there is no place to F E E L Shabbat like in Israel.

I have two “only in Israel” stories to share this time that definitely win the prize.

On the first day of our arrival one of our daughters took us to visit her recent “find” for a quick humus bite. We followed her into “Humus Asli” at the end of Dizengoff Street. After arriving and exchanging “Shaloms” and “Manishmas,” we quickly discovered that the owner is a second cousin of my husband. His mother and my father in-law grew up together in Morocco. Within fifteen minutes, I felt that we were in the middle of “my big fat Moroccan wedding.” The matriarch of that side of the family came by to say hello (since word had traveled that cousins had arrived from NYC) and shortly after that the youngest of her 10 children came by with a couple of her kids too. We had an unexpected sort of reunion that night. What can I say except ONLY IN ISRAEL and only with my husband!

The second story happened when my husband was on the train en route to Ben Gurion Airport. I was staying in Tel Aviv when suddenly he called me because he realized that our house key (for New York) was in my luggage with me. What to do? The only solution was when one of my daughters tracked the train and instructed me to get to the station located at Tel Aviv University. The plan was to purchase a ticket just to go down to give him the key, but when I arrived there with my daughter I spoke to the station master. I told him our problem and he also spoke with my husband on my phone to find out which car he was in on the train. He very cooperatively said he would consent to going down with one of us to hand deliver the key to my husband! The next thing I knew my husband called me from the train before it pulled in to tell me that there was an announcement on the train to the crew that there is someone that needs to pick up a house key so the station master will be meeting him briefly on the train! Can you imagine this! I still cannot believe it myself. My husband told me that the the station boss shook his hand and wished him a safe flight back to New York as my daughter handed him our house key.(and she also slipped him an Egozi-his favorite chocolate bar.)

On that note, I end this post by saying how I felt peaceful walking the streets of Tel Aviv on this trip. I did not feel insecure, as I do in New York City, that someone will rip my purse from my shoulder or my iPhone from my hand. And should I slip and fall in Tel Aviv many if not all would help me get up! I also felt relief that “horef” in this part of the world does not creep into my bones at all.

Can’t wait to return and do some more roaming!

About the Author
Allyson Altit is from New York. She has worked in the travel industry for over 25 years as a leisure specialist. Her area of expertise is in European destinations and Israel. She has been involved with charity work for the Hadassah organization as well. In 2009 she graduated from Queens College majoring in Jewish studies.
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