Neve Tzedek – The Furerunner of Tel Aviv
History of Neve Tsedek
Neve Tzedek was established by a few Sephardic Jewish families who wished to form a new Jewish community outside the overcrowded Jaffa. They named it Neve Tsedek (נוה צדק), a phrase from Jeremiah 50:7 which means “Oasis of Justice.” In retrospect, Neve Tsedek was indeed the Oasis – of modern Tel Aviv. The founders designed the colony as a quarter with narrow streets and low-rise buildings, some bearing elements of Art Nouveau and later Bauhaus style.
In its heyday, Neve Tsedek residents included future Nobel Prize author Shai Agnon and famed artist Nahum Gutman. However, the community aged, and the buildings were worn out. By the 1960s, Tel Aviv’s intended to tear the neighoborhood down for new high-rise buildings. But at the same time, the historic school building of Tel Aviv, Gimnasia Herzlyiah, was cleared for a new high rise, which led to a public cry to conserve Israel’s historical buildings. Setting a new conservation policy, Neve Tzedek was now protected, and over the years, most of the neighborhood was renovated with careful attention to preserving its original design. The gentrification of the neighborhood is now a model for conservation in all of Israel.
Touring Neve Tsedek
The quaint village-like neighborhood of Neve Tzedek is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Various art galleries, boutique shops, and cafes are lined along Shabazi Street. The former community’s school is now a renowned dance and theatre center (Suzan Dallal), and there is a charming museum devoted to Nahum Gutman’s artwork.
A tour of Neve Tzedek can be combined with a guided day tour of Jaffa and Tel Aviv.