At the beginning of April, I spent ten days in Israel. This magical small state holds inside it a lot of special moments and memories for me. I love all of Israel, from the Golan Heights to the Kineret, to the Green Mountain Carmel to the endless spaces of the Negev desert. My dad (who recently became an official tour guide) always had a passion for the Israeli views, which he passed along to all of us through years of trips and hikes across the country.
But still, more than anywhere else, I’ll always have a special connection to Tel Aviv. As I’ve told many of you before, I grew up in Ramat Hasharon, a nice but pretty boring town not far from Tel Aviv. Since there is not much to do for a teenager in Ramat Hasharon, I spent most of my free time in Tel Aviv. For me, walking in Tel Aviv is like a museum of memories. Every corner in this city takes me to a different time in my childhood and adolescence. Every place is classified in my mind to the time in my life when I used to go there. From all of those places I love in Tel Aviv, there is one place I kept visiting steadily throughout the years: Nachalat Binyamin midrahov. To those of you who have never visited there, it’s an art fair in the center of Tel Aviv, right next to Hacarmel shuk. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved to wander around the fair and see all the creative stuff the artists created with their own hands. Even after all these years, the magic that surrounds this place for me is still there. I rarely buy anything, but just walking there among the jewelry, the small statues and Dream Catchers, the door signs and dozens of colorful art objects, felt like Disneyland to the young, curious me. Every table sells something different, something you most likely never saw anywhere else. On one table there are clocks made from a beer bottle, on another there’s a wallet made out of an empty Bamba bag, on another a toilet paper holder or a falafel magnet. But more then all of them, there is one table I always loved the most. That table has stood at the same corner of the street ever since I can remember this place, ever since I can remember my self. At this table there’s an old couple selling glass animals.
For over 10 years now, every time I’m at Nahalat Binyamin, I like to go there and watch the guy burn the clean, plain glass and create something new out of it. I love watching how he creates a small world in his own hands, and how the fire, which can be so destructive, can give something a new life. Every time I’m there I like getting a glass ladybug. Why a ladybug? I don’t know, but just like the Jewish nation, I guess I just like my own traditions, which I keep carefully. When the lady who sells at this table heard this story, she even gave me one for free.
Everyone who knows me knows that if I’m in Tel Aviv on Friday morning I won’t skip a visit to Nahalat Binyamin. And when I’m there, I won’t leave before going to this one table, and getting a new ladybug.
Do you also have a special place in Israel? Or a special moment? We’d like to hear about it! During Rodef Sholom’s Israel Independence day celebration on May 3rd, we’re launching an exhibition composed of your pictures and stories. I’m inviting you to send photos from your time spent in Israel to [email protected] along with your Israeli story and take part in our Community celebration.