Neve Tzedek is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Israel located in the southern part of Tel Aviv next to Jaffa along the sea. Like all refurbished neighborhoods before it, Neve Tzedek suffers from a manufactured cosmopolitan quaintness. Just a few years ago it was still dominated by old, working class, families who’d been living in the neighborhood for decades. Sandstorm houses with their red-tiled roofs, small synagogues, and the occasional local grocery were backdrops for transient urban youth and their flirtation with narcotic habits.
Recently, this neighborhood has become the home for the cosmopolitan chic. This select group feels more at home in newly designed homes located in old, character-rich, neighborhoods than in high rise apartments that look over old, character-rich, neighborhoods. The small sand storm houses with their red tiled roofs are disappearing, as are the working families.
The main street, Shabazi, has now become a small version of NYC’s SOHO complete with galleries, coffee shops, ceramic retailers, and reviewed restaurants. As always, I spend my early mornings in Cafe Mia, my favorite Neve Tzedek hangout, which is owned and managed by my young friend Dudu and his fiance Yeara. As usual, a friend or two of mine joins me and we quickly chat about what the Israeli’s call the “mazav” or, in English, “the situation.”
The ‘situation’ usually revolves around three constant dimensions:…