Tel Aviv, Israel
I love Tel Aviv. Yesterday, I walked the streets for hours. Some for the first time others were old hat, but both experiences offered reflection and a sense of wonderment. I watched as life unfolded between couples young and old on wooden benches hugging Rothschild Blvd. I heard children playing just a few stories above in the many apartment buildings that appeared tattered from its once white exterior.
I walked down Skeinhem, which seemed to have ceaseless construction during my last visit. When I visited in November of 2011 there was a juice bar I’d frequent and chat with the young dreaded Israeli behind the counter. He beamed each time I arrived and when I told him I was going back to America he yelled, “Okay man, remember to take care of your healthy.” I liked his version better.
Thoughts came and went in their natural fleeting state as I made my down avenues like Ben Tsiyon, St. George, Allenby, and even stopped to take a few shameless photos in front of the Charles Bronfman Auditorium, or as I like to call it, the “Lincoln Center” of Tel Aviv.
I wondered briefly what it’d be like to live here; not as I did back in New York where my life had somehow eased into a series of noisy coffee shops and ambiguous projects, but to really set roots - to walk hand in hand with my Israeli wife for a nice lunch in Jaffa, or perhaps accompanied by a stroller, while sitting below a giant umbrella on Gordon Beach.
For the first time the thought didn’t frighten me. I considered what this all meant. Getting older? The novelty of being in a strange place? Watching a friend get married? Gradually becoming more and more in touch with my own mortality?
The lack of clarity didn’t stop my stroll. I continued on my path, zigging and zagging like the possibilities that weaved through my mind.
Yesterday I asked Rony, 33, a programmer from Tel Aviv what the best piece of advice he ever received was. He said, “When I went through the hardest time of my life; my heart was broken, my life was in pieces, I was talking to my grandma. She said, ‘Don't be stupid,’ meaning take things lightly. This is a woman who lost her family in the Holocaust.”