Sunday, December 16, 2007

Yaffo 3: Tel Yaffo and Neve Tzedek

This is a continuation of my series from Nefesh B'Nefesh's tour of Yaffo. For the earlier episodes, click below:

Yaffo 1: Yaffo in the Bible

Yaffo 2: The Old City

Yaffo has actually been settled since ancient times. Beneath the tel (archaeological mound) on which the contemporary city is built is layer upon layer of ancient civilization.

A current dig is exposing an Egyptian fortress from the late bronze age, around the year 2500, or 1300 BCE on the secular calendar. This date would put it at almost the same time as the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Wonder how long it took them to get word of the 10 plagues.

More excavated Egyptian ruins.

Coming to the top of the tell, we see a fantastic view of Tel Aviv. Roughly 20% of Israelis live here.

Foreground, the flora and older buildings of Yaffo. Background, Tel Aviv.

By the late 1870s the walled city of Yaffo became too cramped and could no longer accomodate the growing population, and the first suburb beyond, Neve Tzedek, "Abode of Justice," sprouted up beyond the city walls.

Rachel, our Nefesh B'Nefesh event organizer, shepherds her lost tourist-sheep into Neve Tzedek.

Our tourguide takes us to the original well.

Neve Tzedek is also the site of some of the first orange groves planted by Jews in Israel, as the ideology behind the Zionist revolution was beginning to take shape. It would be another nine years before Theodore Hertzl would publish Der Judenstadt, which would initiate the era of the organized return of Jews to Eretz Israel.

The first well and orange groves outside the Yaffo city walls. The orange trees are painted white to prevent evaporation.

With he light welling up from the inside, it looks sort of like a direct elevator to hell.

Looking at one of the first houses built in Neve Tzetek.

Finally out of the city walls, Neve Tzedek was built with the more modern construction for the time period, including running water and toilets. These amenities induced many of the great early names of Zionist thought to settle in the area, including the Nobel Prize laurete author Shmuel Yosef (Shay) Agnon, artist Hachum Gutman.

Shay Agnon

Neve Tzedek also became the home of the great Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, whose mystical and nationalist writings, as expanded upon by his son Tzvi Yehudah Kook, formed the theological basis of the National Religious movement.

Rabbi Avraham Yistchak Kook.

Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook

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