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Young Tel Aviv
A Tale of Two Cities
Anat Helman; Haim Watzman, trans.

The Schusterman Series in Israel Studies

2010 • 228 pp. 23 illus. 6 x 9"
History of Israel & Palestine

$29.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-337-0
$7.99 Ebook, 978-1-58465-890-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Helman concentrates, in her generously-illustrated book, on the twenty years of the British Mandate period between World War I and World War II which saw Tel Aviv grow from... [continued in Reviews below]”—Jewish Ideas Daily

Fascinating revisionist history of Jewish life in Tel Aviv in the Mandate era

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.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Helman concentrates, in her generously-illustrated book, on the twenty years of the British Mandate period between World War I and World War II which saw Tel Aviv grow from a small town of 2,000 inhabitants to a middle-sized one of 160,000. Her study is organized topically, starting with an opening chapter on the city's physical development, and continuing with ‘Public Events,’ ‘Tel Aviv's Consumer Culture,’ ‘Entertainment and Leisure,’ and ‘Subcultures in the First Hebrew City.’ . . . Helman takes pains to point out that pre-World-War-II Tel Aviv was a crucial part of the Zionist enterprise, which would have been unimaginable without it.” Jewish Ideas Daily

Young Tel Aviv is a worthy addition to the growing literature on the garden suburb that grew into a metropolis.”—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

“Helman’s research brings to light a fascinating panoply of the particulars of daily life—riding a bus, evading the dogcatcher, celebrating Jewish holidays in secular form—and the 23 wonderful illustrations are indispensable. Haim Watzman’s English rendering is a model of clarity and directness. Young Tel Aviv brings a vanished cityscape vividly back to life.”—Jewish Book World

Young Tel Aviv is undoubtedly one of the most important works published in this field and has already paved the way for further studies on the manifold manifestations of urban life and culture in Tel Aviv and other cities during the British Mandate period. . . . The publication of Helman’s book in English will undoubtedly serve the ever-growing interest in Israel Studies in North America, and now also in Britain, and the constant need for worthy publications in English for students and scholars alike.”—Journal of Israeli History Book Reviews

“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.”—Yael Zerubavel, Professor of Jewish Studies & History, Rutgers University, author of Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Culture

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.” —Steven J. Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History, Stanford University, and author of Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing

“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’ —Ezra Mendelsohn, Professor Emeritus, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University

ANAT HELMAN is a senior lecturer in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry and in the Cultural Studies Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 13:08:16 -0500