May 18, 2009 Religious life in Tel Aviv – by Ron Friedman
Ron Friedman is the former editor for the Jewish Independent (the main publication I work for). He is now living in Israel, getting his journalism career off the ground there. He has given me permission to share this article of his here. It was just published in the Jerusalem Post. It is about the religious life in Tel Aviv. I am pasting the first two paragraphs with a link to the remainder of the story on the jpost site.
On Independence Day eve, a group of young people was happily celebrating the holiday at a popular bar on Sderot Rothschild. Sipping imported champagne and nibbling shrimp tapas, religious worship was the last thing on their mind. Suddenly, they turned their heads hearing loud music coming from outside. They went out to see what the noise was and ran into a group of Chabad yeshiva boys singing and dancing to the sounds of religious techno music coming out of the speakers of a van parked on the opposite side of the street. They joined them in their joyous worship and for the rest of the evening divided their time between the two sides of the street, oblivious to the gulf between them.
Residents of Tel Aviv enjoy its reputation as a liberal city, open to radicals, outcasts and minorities. The city styles itself as a cosmopolitan metropolis, a place where everyone can do as they please and there are few taboos. Novel ideas are celebrated and expressed in every imaginable artistic manner. Human differences are rejoiced. The only lifestyle that seems at odds with this Tel Avivian zeitgeist is the religious way of life.