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Practical Zionism in the Mandate era (1920–1948) is usually associated with agricultural settlements (kibbutzim), organized socialist workers, and the creation of a formal high culture. This book fills a gap in historical research by presenting a different type of practical Zionism in Jewish Palestine—urban, middle-class, and created by popular and informal daily practices. While research on Tel Aviv has so far been confined to “positivist” historical description or focused nostalgically on local myths, Helman’s book reconstructs and analyzes the city’s formative decades on various levels, juxtaposing historical reality with cultural images and ideological doctrines. Topics include the city’s physical portrait, major public events, consumer culture, patterns of leisure and entertainment, and urban subcultures.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Portrait of a City
Tel Aviv's Consumer Culture
Entertainment and Leisure
Subcultures in the First Hebrew City
What People are Saying About This
“Anat Helman’s Young Tel Aviv: A Tale of Two Cities offers a fascinating portrait of ‘the first Hebrew city’ during the interwar years. Based on a painstaking study of myriad archival and cultural sources, Helman’s study presents the rich texture of daily life and public events in young Tel Aviv as it was developing into a major urban center of the Zionist Yishuv. This work addresses some aspects of Tel Aviv’s life that have been little studied to date and in so doing transforms our perceptions and misconceptions regarding its early years. A must read for anyone interested in Israeli society and culture, urban history, and cultural studies.”
“Young Tel Aviv is consistently interesting, a first-rate cultural history in the best sense of the term. Blended with great intelligence and scholarly industry is a lucid and original portrait of the new, often discordant, city’s institutions, streets, celebrations, films, and inhabitants. It is history tough to capture, an essential slice of contemporary Jewish life.”
“This is a finely crafted and highly original book, both thought-provoking and a pleasure to read, whose subject is the early years of the Tel Aviv metropolis. Anat Helman, who uses to great effect the tools of the new urban history as practiced largely in America and England, focuses on a number of vital and fascinating issues usually ignored by historians of the Jewish community in British Palestine: quality of life, entertainment and leisure time, festivals and celebrations, the development of a consumer society, sanitation and hygiene, the emergence of distinct subcultures based among other things on country of origin, the varieties of secularism and religiosity, architecture, the advent of a popular culture in the revived national language, and the like. This is a must read for all those interested in the pre-history of the State of Israel, in the creation of a new Israeli culture, and in the dramatic creation of the ‘first (modern) Hebrew city’