Thursday, August 26, 2010
One sweltering Friday morning in August I accompanied a few young members of our family on an outing to Tel Aviv. Our destination was the open air arts and crafts fair held every Tuesday and Friday at the Nachlat Binyamin pedestrian mall which is right next to the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately the fair itself has no English website (that I could find) but there is a photo gallery here on the Hebrew site.
Tel Aviv got it's start in the area when the first homes outside Jaffa were built by the "Ahuzat Bayit" group which got started in 1909.(Tel Aviv just finished celebrating it's 100th anniversary.) The Nachlat Binyamin neighborhood was founded just after that (1911) and the homes there were less expensive than the Ahuzat Bayit ones. It seems that the source of the name Nachlat Binyamin is disputed. One story is that that the founders applied for financial help from both the JNF (Jewish National Fund, an organization which collected money from Jews in the diaspora to fund land and forestation projects in what became the State of Israel) and from Baron Rothschild. They said that if the JNF gives the money we"ll say it's named for Binyamin Ze'ev (Theodore) Herzl and if Baron Rothschild come through then it will be for Binyamin (Edmond) Rothschild.
The neighborhood has long since lost its lost its original character and now has Tel Aviv's unique mixture of 100 years of architecture. Some of the buildings are better preserved than others but you can still see the old grandeur.
The fair it self is colorful, crowded and lots of fun. There is even some street entertainment. Below are some photos of the craftspeople and their wares. By the way, to participants have to be selling their own wares (so that you actually meet the artists themselves).