not what you’d think

Two different places within a couple of hundred metres of each other in south Tel Aviv.

Left:  shop selling kitsch. Yes, those are inflatable Santa Claus dolls. No, Christmas is not a holiday in Israel, it’s a regular working day, shops don’t decorate themselves etc.  These are either for: foreign workers who celebrate Christmas, Christian Arabs, people from the Former USSR who celebrate New Year (a non-religious holiday permitted by the Communists in the USSR and still celebrated because it’s fun, for them this is the non-religious Grandfather Frost).

Right:  kosher Persian restaurant. The Hebrew sign reads “beer from the cask”. The sign in Persian says “Ash-e Resteh” which means “thick noodle soup” and is a Persian-Jewish dish. There’s a large community of Jews who came to Israel from Iran. Here’s a recipe. (for the soup, not the Jews).

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13 comments on “not what you’d think”

  1. Funny to see christmas ‘ornaments’ in Tel Aviv. I never would have imagined. Nice visual juxtaposition of the many cultures that live side-by-side. I’ll have to check-out the soup recipe. :-)

  2. Hello Cat, I like very much how do you enhace the contrast on this picture, the red color play and gives a strong apperance. Well done!

  3. It looks like an ink drawing with a dash of red. It could be a hand drawn image – it has a very personal touch. I copied the soup recipe it sounded so good, and would be just the thing for a cold winter evening – thanks Cat!

  4. great combination of images

  5. I love both photos.

    The inflatable Santas because they always remind me of that story about the Japanese mall with a Santa crucifixion.

    The restaurant because I just know how good the food will be inside.

  6. Thanks for your comments :)

    I like the Japanese Santa story too – how hard they tried…

    It is strange to see Christmas ornaments – not least because I don’t associate them with hot, sunny days…

    The tinsel and other glittery, hanging ornaments are not associated with Christmas and instead are popular here on Sukkot, when people use them to decorate their Sukkah (if you don’t know what that is, it’s a sort of outdoor “booth” that people put up on the Sukkot holiday).

    You also sometimes hear Christmas themed ringtones here, downloaded by people who don’t have a clue at all that they are Christmas songs, but just think they sound good.

  7. Wonderful images that go so well with the cultural soup which is Israel.

  8. What an interesting slice of life and I like how you’ve brought them together.

  9. i think that you have a good idea to show us both face of things, religion.. Freedom is for me the most important thing..

  10. Great information as always Cat and a pair of lovely images. I like how the one on the right is verging on Monochrome.

  11. You have some great work here. This I like in particular, both the photos and the stories behind them.

  12. Thanks for the comments :)

    I’m glad you like the stories – I want to show people sides of Israel that they wouldn’t know existed, as things are so different here from how Israel is shown on the news. Which is very sad.


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