About the First Jewish Community from Tel AvivNot everyone knows that Neve Tzedek was established before the city of Tel Aviv was born, as a new neighborhood for Jews outside of Jaffa's walls.
The ones responsible for this were the Chelouche family members, a family that arrived in Jaffa at the end of the 19th century from Algeria, and began working in trade. Aharon Shalosh, the father, got rich from his business and then got the courage to leave Jaffa's walls, to a new neighborhood he developed - the one that is destined to become Tel Aviv's first neighborhood, Neve Tzedek.
Neve Tzedek is the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of the Jaffa walls. There were some years that this neighborhood declined and became a real slum. At the same time there were even thoughts of destroying the neighborhood and building new buildings instead.
However in the 1980's the neighborhood began to attract young artists, that loved its simplicity, the cheap prices of apartments, its closeness to the beach, the Carmel Market, and more. Since then and especially during the last decade, it has become one of the trendiest places in Tel Aviv, for living and as a loved tourist spot. The preservations of apartments has become popular, and residential movement to Neve Tzedek has turned this popularity very profitable.
Wandering around the alleyways in Neve Tzedek is one of the nicest strolls in Tel Aviv. The tightness and close proximity of the narrow roads make this tour very special. Creating artistic shops, fashion boutiques, ice cream parlors and relaxing cafes - all these make staying in Neve Tzedek for an afternoon or Saturday brunch a great location.
Never Tzedek's HistoryNeve Tzedek's story starts in 1838, when young Aharon Chelouche arrives by sail boat from Oran, Algeria to the land of Israel. He arrives in Israel as a part of large family, works as a jeweler in Jaffa, and pretty quickly as his business does well, he buys land outside of Jaffa. Chelouche understands that Jaffa is becoming densely populated and soon will begin to build neighborhoods outside its walls. Indeed, these are the days of the First Aliyah. Tens of thousands of new immigrants arrive in Israel and some settle in crowded Jaffa. In 1887, two brothers from Jerusalem, Elazar and Shimon Rokach, established a company called Ezrat Israel. Through the Neve Tzedek Association for Building Houses in Jaffa, they establish a spacious Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of Jaffa. Their inspiration is from a successful project in Jerusalem, to go outside the walls. They took the name of the neighborhood from the book of Jeremiah: "When I return, the Lord will bless you, Neve Tzedek, the holy mountain."
Chelouche, who saw the new neighborhood as a significant base for Jewish settlements, offers the brothers to buy the land at a discount with good interest. By the end the company bought Chelouche's land at a third of the price he originally offered. Chelouche also promised to put aside a good amount of money for the upkeep of the synagogue near the already built house, at the edge of the neighborhood.
Neve Tzedek was marketed to the well-off Jews of Jaffa. 48 houses were built, and at the beginning there were no separations of nationality. Quite the opposite - mixing was done purposefully among the Jews of different backgrounds. In 1904 the neighborhood had more than 100 families.
Neve Tzedek became the beginning of the settlement, which will eventually turn out to be the most populated area in Israel, The Gush Dan Metropolis, Tel Aviv. A decision that made this possible was that, opposite of Jaffa that had poor sanitary conditions and toilets were septic tanks, this will become a clean and organized place where each house will have its own kitchen and bathroom.
Neve Tzedek was extremely successful. From a young and calm neighborhood, that dared to leave Jaffa, it became an open area, wide and full of fresh air, all Jews living in comfortable homes that had their own space. The new architecture, the narrow alleyways, all clean and organized, like the artistic culture here - made the neighborhood vibrant, and a sort of European mission in the Middle East.
In the 1960's the city of Tel Aviv almost destroyed the neighborhood. It meant to develop a business district on its ruins, near the beach. Due to different individuals and organizations objecting, that were still mourning the ruins of the Herzliya High School, to build the Shalom Tower, the project to destroy the beautiful but neglected neighborhood was stopped. Towards the end of the 1980's a project to preserve and renovated the neighborhood was accepted, the young people were given various benefits to move in. Since then, the neighborhood has been undergoing a process of population renewal, gentrification, and young well-established people buy homes and renovate them for their own needs. An attempt to build high-rise buildings in the neighborhood, is in the midst of a conflict, has encountered the struggle of the residents of Tel Aviv and Neve Tzedek. In the end, this was prevented and it was decided to preserve the original and low outline of the neighborhood. On its outskirts, tall and modern towers were erected, which many believe are damaging the view of historic Neve Tzedek.