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Friday 11 April 2008

Shabbat adventures: A sexy Tel Aviv Friday

Shabbat adventures: A sexy Tel Aviv Friday
By Laura Cornelius
"Home to perhaps the most impressive collection of sexy, young Jewish
people on the planet." This what the city guide is promising can be
found on Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv, on Shabbat. So there was no
question where I would be going on my first Friday in Israel.

Luckily, I found some young Israelis to take me along. Sheinkin is an
amazing street, similar to Notting Hill in London, just with a
difference of about 25 degrees celsius and the sea nearby.

At noon, the streets, shops and cafes are totally crowded. A van is
driving by, playing traditional Jewish music through loudspeakers. Young
religious men get out and start to put up a table with brochures. I
found them very similar to Germany's "Jesus Freaks" - young Christians,
religious, but who still like to be part of the modern lifestyle.

By 4 P.M. we are in need of a stop at a street cafe. The talk at the
table is all about 22-year-old Liron. She's upset because she got into
an argument with her roommate. It takes quite some time before I
understand why someone can be so upset about an argument with a roommate
- the reason is that it's not just a roommate, but a girlfriend.
They explain it to me very cautiously, because - coming from Germany - I
might not know about lesbians. But since I come from a city with one of
the largest gay pride parades in Europe, that really is not the case and
it is probably my sympathy for her plight that leads Liron to offer me
an invitation to her family home for Friday night dinner.

On our way there, the vibe of the city has totally changed. The streets
are almost empty, the shops are closed. Combined with a nice breeze from
the sea, the pulsating city of Tel Aviv all of a sudden has become a
calm and peaceful place. To me it feels like someone flipped a switch,
and within one hour a Friday afternoon changed into a Sunday morning -
the holy day in Christian countries.

This feeling is also enjoyed by non-religious people like Liron and her
friends. But they don't think of doing just nothing until Saturday
evening. Lights out, staying home with the family? No way! On a Friday
night, the party scene is at its hottest, they explain to me.

At Liron's home the TV is on and the food being warmed up in the
microwave. Her 15-year-old sister has already eaten, so she's showing us
the different shirts she bought today. I suggest a green one, but she's
going with the white. With this shirt she wants to impress other
youngsters of the neighborhood, with whom she is planning to hang out on
a street corner.

Meanwhile Liron, two friends of her and I dive into the club scene. The
parties of Tel Aviv are known worldwide for a reason: Gorgeous DJs,
stylish, beautiful people and a great choice of all genres. Electronic
music in particular seams popular.

Since November 2007, Israel has had a no-smoking law, like the one we
recently got in Germany, too. The difference is that since the law was
passed, nobody in Germany smokes in clubs anymore. Not even in
underground techno-clubs. Here everybody still smokes, and the only
difference is that they put their cigarettes out on the floor, because
there are no ashtrays.

The most popular party drug seams to be something they call "liquid
cocaine." People inject small shots it into their drink. I suppose it's
the same stuff which is known in Germany under the name "K.O. Drop."
Liron is putting it into her Red Bull at will, she says it makes her
feel better.

Laura Cornelius is a journalist from Cologne, Germany, staying in Israel
for one month. This is the first in a weekly series about her
experiences of an Israeli Shabbat.


At 23 September 2008 at 10:55 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Laura, after those first experiences she is now making a lot more in a different area....
Blonde Laura trying to take in that hundreds of years of tradition do not suddenly disappear once she arrives in Tel Aviv. Sorry you people cannot follow this properly on Laura's video blog she does in german for her german newspaper....


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