December 2nd 2014
Among the most charming neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, Neve Tzedek is also the oldest. In the late 19th century, the area was a haven for artists, writers, such as the Nobel Prize-winning author S. Y. Agnon and other intellectuals. Today, Neve Tzedek is a charming haven of bourgeois-bohemian urban living.
It began in 1887 as the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the Old Port of Jaffa. Over the next few decades, Tel Aviv expanded outwards to the north and east of Neve Tzedek. After decades of neglect, the area has been completely re-gentrified, and Neve Tzedek is now one of Tel Aviv’s trendiest districts, filled with eclectic boutiques, cafés, restaurants and art galleries. The area’s beautiful old houses have been restored to their previous glory and are now home to wealthy young professionals. The neighborhood’s narrow streets are decorated with public art hanging outdoors along exterior walls, creating a relaxed, village-like ambiance.
The Suzzane Dellal Center, the official dance center of Tel Aviv and home to the famous Bat-Sheva dance troupe, is a community icon. Regular theatrical and dance performances are open to the public. Be sure to stroll around the grounds to more fully appreciate the small gardens and the plaza area.
The Clouche House was the very first Jewish home built outside of Jaffa. Erected in 1886 by an immigrant from Algeria named Aharon Chlouche, the building has housed a revolving art gallery since 2003. Be sure to head to the rooftop of the Clouche House to appreciate a Neve Tzedek panorama and to catch a breeze off of the Mediterranean.
The Rokach House was also among the first homes in Neve Tzedek. Shimon Rokach, who was a prominent area citizen, committed to improving the living conditions of Israel’s Jewish immigrants. The home was restored in the late 1980’s by Shimon Rokach’s granddaughter, Lea Majaro Mintz. Today, the home is both a small museum of 19th century life in Tel Aviv and a gallery for Mintz’s sculpture.
For those who crave a distinctive shopping experience, Neve Tzedek is replete with striking specialty shops, especially concentrated on Shabazi Street. And when you’re ready for a break, you can stop for a meal at one of the dozens of fine restaurants and delightful cafés in the area.