Gefilte Fish Out of Water

Something in a 2-bedroom, 1-bath Sukkah?
October 11, 2009, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Cultural Differences, Just Sayin'


I missed the High Holidays here in Israel, b/c I was back in the U.S.  But I returned just in time for Sukkot.  I was excited for this – I’d heard that all the restaurants construct sukkahs outside for their al-fresco dining, sidewalk-cafe style.  But I also heard from some people that – at least in secular Tel  Aviv – this is really on the decline and not nearly as many establishments do it as used to.

Well, clearly they weren’t talking about the Super Baba!  The ‘Baba is my neighborhood supermarket.  It used to be an old, classic-style cinema, but as multiplex fever took hold in Israel, it closed and re-opened into a family-owned supermarket.  Then – get this! – the family members got in a huge fight and built a wall in the middle of the supermarket, turning it into two Super Babot: Super Baba, and Super Baba 24/7 (even though both are open 24/7).  Hilare, only in Israel.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super Baba / סופר באבא !!!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Super Baba / סופר באבא !!!

Anyway, there’s a ton of construction around my area right now.  I think they’re laying new sewer pipes or something.  It will be nice when it’s over, b/c I really do live in The Best area of all of Tel Aviv (for me, at least), I think.  It’s totes like The Upper East Side of Tel Aviv – a little quieter than most areas, a little prettier, too.  Except, that within this pretty & quiet ‘hood, the ‘Baba nexus is home to a bunch of new funky cafes and bars – so, even at 3am on a Tuesday, there’s pretty people and action going on for the taking (now, if there were a gay bar, too, we’d really be all set).

Anyway, that’s just background explaining the sukkah pic above.  It’s outside the main ‘Baba, and the reason there is dirt all around it is just b/c they’re tearing up the sidewalk right now (they’ve actually laid down a gorgeous new brick one since I took this pic last week).  But if you didn’t know that backstory, then this beautiful, family sukkah…well, it just doesn’t look so beautiful or family-style, does it?  Not exactly what’s in the Hebrew school text books of North America, right?  More, like… a bomb shelter?

I did pass a more stylin’ one outside a busy cafe on Dizengoff Street last week.  And of course I didn’t have my camera with me, and never went back for the shot.  The cafe was packed, and you could tell the tables underneath the sukkah were the most sought after ones in the whole place.  Man, it was a super cool sight!  Along with other sights that impressed me when I first got here – like mezzuzot on every single hotel room doorway in a hotel hallway – a sukkah packed with cosmopolitan, happy families eating sushi and kobe beef under it is the cool, unique, kinda fantasy-like, What if the whole world was Jewish? sight that just makes me appreciate how special it is (for me, at least) to live here.  Here’s a not as good shot I grabbed with my BlackBerry camera of another quieter (but still nice) cafe sukkah.

cafe sukkah at Dizengoff & Yiramyahu - this place has amazing a la mode pancakes
cafe sukkah at Dizengoff & Yiramyahu – this place has amazing a la mode pancakes

Here’s two shots of a nice sukkah outside someone’s apartment building.  One shot is through the mesh window of the inside.

Probably more charming on the inside.  All the urban sukkot I saw are made out of this white plastic tarp material.  Canvas would be nicer, I think.
Probably more charming on the inside. All the urban sukkot I saw are made out of this white plastic tarp material. Canvas would be nicer, I think.
Let's go camping!
Let’s go camping!

Actually, I was on the phone with my friend from high school (Helene Bracha; she made Aliyah in 1991).  Bracha lives in a religious suburb outside Jerusalem.  I spoke with her last week for the first time in a while.  She told me that as we spoke, the rest of her large (8 kids!) family was outside chilling in the sukkah.  The family made one, and all week the kids have been sleeping in it, and the family has been dining in it.  This sounds totes cool, and more like what I remember being taught during my Hebrew school days.

Let’s close with more ‘Baba, yah?

Charming, right?
Charming, right?

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[…] my bike.  Leash up the Piddley-Petester and go out for a walk around the block…with a stop at Super Baba for some junk […]

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