As you can see Tel Aviv is a total opposite of where we’ve been up to now. It’s a city of 400,000 with a metropolitan area of over 3 million along the Mediterranean coast. It reminds one of New York or Miami. Just as Jerusalem is the heart of the religious communities in Israel, Tel Aviv is the heart of secular (sabra) Israel. The city was established on the sand just north of the ancient port of Jaffa in 1909. By 1950 they were one large city. Downtown Tel Aviv is lively though we haven’t seen many tourists this whole trip. It’s a very young city, lots of young people especially in the bars at night. The Tel Aviv port has been given over to restaurants and shops many of which are housed in buildings refurbished from international trade fairs in 1934 and 1936.
We visited Tel Aviv University at the northern end of the city where we saw the Beit Ha’Tefusot (Diaspora Museum). This is a museum that focuses on the worldwide Jewish communities and Jewish history outside of Israel. It is located on the campus of Tel Aviv University, the largest university in the country.
We saw the permanent collection which contains a number of models of synagogues around the world, some of which will surprise you. An interesting photography show featured elders born the year Israel got its independence with their grandchildren or other young children and how they relate to one another.