We had national elections in Israel this last Tuesday, 9 April. Elections days are public holidays in Israel, so we took advantage of the day off to have a family outing. We decided to head to the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.
I had been to the museum a couple times with our kids, but this was the first time we all went as a family.
There’s a lot to like about this museum. There are a number of static exhibits, and new exhibits that arrive from time to time.
By the time we arrived at the museum, it was almost lunchtime, so we had an early lunch at a restaurant just outside the museum called Anina. The food is pretty good, albeit it a little pricey.
The museum is more like a campus comprising various buildings housing exhibits, with a number of outdoor exhibits too. We started off in the Kadman exhibit that basically traces the origins of money both in the region, and in general, leading up to the New Israeli Shekel that we use today in Israel.
The Glass Pavilion is pretty impressive too. We pretty much had the hall to ourselves. There was a fun exhibit documenting aspects of Israeli society with glassware, along with a variety of other pieces.
One of the highlights of this exhibit was a suit of armour made from glass.
From there, we moved on to a temporary exhibit that documented the work of Israeli photographer, David Rubinger. I was familiar with one or two of his photographs without realising who he was.
The photographer, David Rubinger, the Israel Prize laureate for Communication who died last year was one of a small selected group of photographers whose works are etched on local and international memory. His endeavor began at the end of the enlisted “Zionist photography” period, that dominated the local photography scene until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.Eretz Israel Museum
I really enjoyed this exhibit. Looking at his photographs, I’m reminded that you don’t need the best of modern cameras to create meaningful, even profound, images.
We had an interesting experience when we stepped outside the exhibit. I took a little longer inside, and my wife and kids were waiting for me on a bench outside. I wanted to take a photo or two of the three of them on the bench, and we were interrupted by the exhibit’s usher who wanted us to rather take photos with some flowers she planted in the background.
This turned into a bit of a “lost in translation” family photo opportunity when the usher took my camera, and then spent a good 10 to 15 minutes getting us into position. My wife wrote about the experience on her blog:
One of the benefits of this experience with the usher was that she pointed us to another exhibit I hadn’t visited before. The Ethnography and Folklore exhibit is is a rich exhibit of Judaica that includes a recreation of an 18th century Italian synagogue, complete with its original doors, and ark.
We wandered through a couple of other exhibits along the way, including a flour mill, an olive oil press, and a few outdoors features.
It’s easily one of my favourite vacation destinations. There are a couple of other really great museums in the area, so if you’re looking for something to do, definitely consider spending a few hours at the Eretz Israel Museum.