Rehavia – The Landscapes of My Childhood
This is an easy and comfortable walking tour of the streets and alleyways of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia. The tour usually takes 3 to 3½ hours. Participants can enjoy lunch at the end of the tour in Rehavia or elsewhere.
Rehavia is a relatively new neighborhood in Jerusalem which was built in the 1920s. I grew up in Rehavia from the early 1950s. I went to school here and this is where I became a youth and a man.
I will never forget the different street games we played around the neighborhood. Almost every day I would see David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, returning to his home on Ben Maimon Street, accompanied by a military police escort. I would also see Yitzhak Ben Zvi, the young nation’s second president, going for his daily after lunch walk, accompanied by….. a single policeman.
Part of my childhood experiences in Rehavia relate to the period of severe economic austerity during the 1950s (the government allowed us to buy one chicken per family a week…) We will learn how to make an omelet using dried egg powder imported from America, and look at original food vouchers that were worth their weight in gold during that difficult time. I spent 12 years at the Hebrew Gimnasia, and much of my free time I spent with my friends in the boy’s & girl’s scouts in the shack belonging to the Masada tribe of the Israel Scouts.
I will be honored to share some of my experiences and memories with you as we stroll through the streets and alleyways of Rehavia. We will learn a little about the architectural heritage of the neighborhood (Bauhaus) and hear stories about interesting buildings and well-known local residents. We will come to understand how Mr. Ussishkin, (the President of J.N.F.), managed to get the street he lived on named in his own honor. We will walk past the former homes of Ussishkin, Ben Gurion, and Golda Meir (it was in this house that Golda’s famous “kitchen cabinet” first met to decide on important issues). We will hear the strange story of the giraffe that sits on top of the kiosk on Ramban Street. Next to the kiosk, in the small park, we will hear about the tennis court that was once a favorite meeting place for the German Jews of the neighborhood. But what became of the tennis court?