• danaevankaplan

First Night in Tel Aviv

My first night in Tel Aviv. After a delicious dinner of Couscous, I walked around for a few hours. I saw the Dizengoff and the Gordon Beach areas. There were tons of people walking around and some of the cafes were packed. The northern part of the city seems very exciting and active.

My overwhelming impression is that things are basically the way they were when I left the country in June 1994. I'm going to discount the one week trip I took in around the year two thousand because it was only for one week and it was basically so packed that I didn't have time to make any impression other than the things that we saw. So 1994 is 28 years ago. The Israelis I saw acted basically the same.

I spoke with the taxi driver from the airport for about an hour and all of the attitudes he expressed were what I would have expected from someone in 1994. The political alignments, the attitudes toward religion, various other cultural and societal expectations, all seemed very similar.

I asked the taxi driver what had changed in the last 28 years and he basically gave me the same answer. Not much. Even the military situation, he said, was basically the same. He told me that there's always going to be wars and terrorist attacks and very serious security threats.

28 years ago, I expected that the Israelis would think like me and I was deeply hurt that they did not - especially in religious matters. Now I see myself visiting a foreign country and I can enjoy it in that context. I still have hope that Israel can serve as an inspiration for the revitalization of American Judaism, but it is not clear how that could happen.

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