Neve Zedek was established in 1887 when the Jewish residents of Jaffa felt overcrowded and decided to expand their presence outside the walls of this ancient port city. This name means “oasis of justice” in English, and was actually Tel Aviv’s first neighborhood, established by Aharon Shlush, 22 years before Tel Aviv was officially founded.
This new housing development featured low-rise buildings constructed along narrow streets. The construction frequently incorporated design elements from the Art Nouveau and later Bauhaus Art movements and featured countless contemporary luxuries such as ensuite bathrooms.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many artists and writers flocked to Neve Tzedek. Most notably, future Nobel Prize laureate Shai Agnon, as well as the renowned artist Nachum Gutman made Neve Zedek their home. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, also resided for a while in Neve Zedek. He was one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century and he even maintained a Yeshiva in Neve Zedek.
This neighborhood has undergone major urban renewal over the last few decades. It’s boundaries are delimited by Hamered street to the east, Herzel St. to the west, Elchanan St. forms its Northern border and the southern demarcation is rendered by Ha’Mesila stretching all the way to the newly refurbished Tachana or train station complex.
The newly refurbished train station complex encompasses an area of some 20 hectares and includes 22 buildings. These buildings include, inter alia, the historic train station, freight terminal, Templar factory and the Wieland Family home. Visitors will also encounter a nice selection of trendy restaurants, cafes and shops that offer tourists a large selection of unique goods and services.
Neve Zedek has gained a reputation for being a center of culture, entertainment and refined living. Buildings which were condemned and destined to be leveled have been refurbished and are sold for unheard of prices. Tourists visiting this area will find a number of sites of interest.
First you should see the GutmanMuseum. This is actually a residence that housed 3 prominent 19th century writers. Another worthwhile stop would be the Chelouche House. It is not a museum per se but was the first home in Neve Zedek, constructed in 1886. You should also see the SuzanneDellalCenter, and the Eden Cinema. These are just a few of the interesting sites in this neighborhood.
By Brent J. Mitchell