Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Last Day in Tel Aviv?

I slept much better last night, only getting up a little before 7 am. My hand is definitely better today: the swelling is down and is less painful.

I went down to breakfast where we discussed our plans for today and Rochelle expressed her concern about her long layover in New York (more than 10 hours). Dad was able to have his last Israel breakfast: lots of salads, bread, tomatoes, avocado salad, egg salad, etc.

We arranged for us to have a room where we could relax in the afternoon and store our luggage while we wait for our flight tonight. I moved my luggage into my parents' room and then my dad and I headed out to the Haganah Museum.

We walked along Allenby Street as far as Rothschild and then turned down to the Eliahu Golomb House. When we got in, they told us it was 15 shekels admission. My dad then said "I was in the Haganah," so they said his admission was free. I said I wasn't. I paid the 15 shekels.

Dad wanted to see the archivist about donating photos, but she wasn't there so the guard set up the movie for us. He told us to watch the computer rather than the screen since the image was better.

It was a rather heroic depiction of the Haganah, as you might expect, though I felt uncomfortable with their use of the term "special operations" to describe some of the activities of the Palmach against Palestinian Arabs. For anyone who teaches Holocaust, the phrase has some unfortunate connotations.

We found a map showing where dad served, but the exhibit seemed much smaller than in years past.

Afterwards we went downstairs and met Orly, the archivist. She showed us the photos they have for the base at Bet Keren Hakayemet, but they were only of the Palmach unit that set it up in 1947; nothing from 1948 when it was run by Givati. I told her that I would e-mail her my dad's photos next week. She was excited to expand their collection.

From there we walked back down Allenby and then turned aside to visit Robinson's used bookshop. I'm looking for a book by David Kroyanker that gives architectural information for buildings throughout Jerusalem. I lost my copy and its now out of print. They have a huge stock of floor to ceiling, plus an adjacent warehouse, but no luck.

After that we went back to Allenby and then turned onto Bialik St. This is a quiet, beautiful street, lined with houses built in the mid 1920s to early 1930s. At the far end was the old city hall building, including Mayor Dizengoff's residence. We saw Bialik's House, Rueven Rubin's house, and the Bauhaus Museum (all from the outside). After that we headed back to the hotel.

We met mom and from there caught a taxi to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. This is next to the music center where we ate last night. We went in but oddly, there's no map or plan of the museum available. We found the coffee house downstairs and mom and I had the avocado sandwiches.

From there we made our way through various collections. Unlike other museums, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is not organized thematically or by period, but by donor. We all really enjoyed the Helena Rubinstein collection of miniatures. These were scenes from homes from various centuries, with all the furniture and decorations in miniature.

Up on the first floor, we found the impressionists and post impressionists. They have some very nice Kandinskies, Miros, and Chagalls. I particularly liked one called "The Lovers," which showed a rather chaste couple embracing at night with an angel flying overhead. Mom loved the Sisleys while dad really liked one of the Russian avante garde pieces.

The exhibit eventually led to a special exhibition of contemporary German neo-Expressionism, but my parents really didn't care for it. "That looks ugly," dad (loudly) announced in front of one large painting. I told him not to be shy but share what he really felt.

We left and walked back to Dizengoff Center. I left them there in order to meet my friend Ofer near Kikar Rabin and see his new place. We were supposed to meet in front of a cafe called "Book Worm," but either I missed him or he didn't show. I got a kafeh hafukh and sat out front, but never saw him.

At 4 pm, I decided to walk to the beach and watch the sunset over the Mediterranean. I saw some people on one of the "hasakeh"s my father used to use when he was growing up. Then I walked back to the hotel. Our flights are still confirmed (yay!) and we're going out for a last dinner and then at 9pm it's off to Ben Gurion (and New York and California, I hope).

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