Tel Aviv is too often looked down on as a secular city empty of Jewish identity or values. I find this far from being true. Tel Aviv was founded on a Jewish spirit that is as relevant today as ever: on the dream of living a 100% Jewish life and at the same time living the best worldly life possible. The custom of showing one’s seriousness by the amount of one’s suffering is not the game here. The leaders of last summer’s social revolution felt no conflict when they ordered sushi to eat in their tents. And in these tense days — going down to the same shelter in which I sat as a child in the Six Day War, this time with my children who themselves are soldiers — I am hopeful because at night coffee houses, theater, and seminars are open. Tel Aviv is not a bubble; it is a real, low cholesterol frontier.
Ruth Calderon is head of the culture and education department at the National Library of Israel.