A little known fact – Tel Aviv is the first modern city originally built to an urban master plan. It is less than 100 years old, in a country full of towns that are thousands of years old. The rapid growth of Tel Aviv led to an array of architectural styles, but none as famous as its Bauhaus buildings with their clean, minimalistic design. The “White City” is the world’s largest concentration of Bauhaus architecture, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Israel is home to people from over 120 different countries, and the impact of so many influences on Israeli art and culture is revealed through the architecture of Tel Aviv. From the oriental homes in old Jaffa to eclectic, busy designs and contemporary sky scrapers, Tel Aviv’s architecture is ever-changing and fascinating.
The fantastic Israeli food scene is famous for its dizzying variety of tastes from Arabic to Polish, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Hungarian and Persian cuisine. Where else can you find such an amazing array of delicious foods available in a 5-minute walk? Visit the shuk, and your senses are immediately overloaded with the scents of Middle Eastern spices, the colors of the beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables, the allure of the syrupy pastries and the ruckus of the market. Tour the foodie scene with me and hear the stories behind local personalities, and the history of traditional and modern fusion dishes. Creative use of the freshest ingredients and spices has made Israeli chefs famous throughout the world. Taste olive oil made by ancient methods, eat the sweetest tomatoes in the world, and sample fusion cuisine – Israel is a foodie’s heaven.
What better way to explore and feel the hum of a city than by cycling through it? The traffic congestion of the “city that never sleeps” has resulted in a bicycle culture with Tel Avivians, young and old, using bikes to get around. Our tour avoids the traffic hubs, using bike paths and wide boulevards to visit the sites and scenes of the city, such as the beautiful gentrified neighborhoods of Neve Tzedek and Florentine, the trendy Tachana, Kikar HaBima and beachfront promenade. Bike along a chronological timeline while learning about key sites in the development of the young Israeli state, such as Rabin Square and Rothschild Boulevard. See why Tel Aviv is a magnet for young adults with its club culture and hip foodie scene, as we cycle by famous Bauhaus buildings and get a bird’s eye view of the city’s culture and lifestyle.
Israel’s Haredis, the ultra-orthodox community, are often referred to as the “black hats.” They comprise 10% of the Israeli population, yet their influence on the local and national stage is far greater. The rigid Haredi social codes created a community that is very identifiable, but also very segregated. However, the invisible walls that protect this community from outsiders are tumbling down under the onslaught of internet technology and social media. Discover more about the Haredim: why do most of them refuse the army draft, what is the role of women in the family, how are the leaders responding to the technological “earthquake” that threatens their social order? Join me on a fascinating experience through this insular enclave where we will meet the locals, peak into yeshivas, mingle with the crowds in shops and gain insight into the most segregated community in Israel.