Kerem HaTeimanim


Kerem HaTeimanim

Kerem HaTeimanim ( _he. כרם התימנים) is a neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, Israel. Its English translation is literally 'Vineyard of the Yemenites'. Its population is estimated at around 80,000, the majority of whom being Yemenite Jews. It is located near the Carmel Market and Allenby Street, and is a short walk from Geula Beach. Unlike other Tel Avivian neighbourhoods, it is quite observant, owing mainly to the high observance rate of the Yemenite pioneers who built the neighbourhood. The majority of the descendants of those pioneers still inhabit the neighbourhood today.

History

Kerem HaTeimanim was officially established in 1904, with consecration taking place between the years of 1902-1908 as an early neighbourhood in the growing pioneer city of Tel Aviv by recent immigrant Yemenite Jews, who had a Zionist ideology based on oriental and spiritual lines, rather than political or revisionist lines. Although many of its residents were part of the Haganah, it was known for its staunch support of the Etzel and the Lehi. Its architecture was based on the designs of the former Jewish ghettos in Yemen, with Colonial British and Ancient Hebrew features. This is significant since the rest of Tel Aviv was constructed in Bauhaus architecture. Over the years, it produced many famous Israeli personalities including Knesset Member Michael Ratzon of the Likud, Dan Bus Corporation Chairman Dan Sharabi, Platinum Singer Boaz Sharabi, Israeli roots singer Daklon and Israeli Footballer Pini Balili, who started his career at the famous Shimshon Tel Aviv Football Club, one of Israel's best football (soccer) clubs in the 1970s and 1980s that was born out of the neighbourhood's sporting culture. Unsurprisingly, Zohar Argov, an 80s Yemenite Israeli Singing Superstar, who grew up in Rishon LeZion and not Tel Aviv made an album entitled "Bekerem Hateymanim" [http://www.israel-music.com/zohar_argov/bekerem_hateymanim/] , in celebration of the neighbourhood's significance for Yemenite Israeli culture.

In the early 90s, it underwent a massive refurbishment campaign and was restored to its former glory in the early 2000s. In late 2004, it saw the building of the Lev HaIr Tower (see [http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=131197 link] ), which became the neighbourhood's tallest building. Moreover, the tower holds a public library, offices and several commercial businesses, bringing much needed resources to the neighbourhood.

Current status

Today, the neighbourhood is being gentrified with new residents, both secular and religious. It is known as the spiritual center of Tel Aviv Yafo, most probably due to the long standing traditions of Torah and ethnic culture in the neighborhood, and ultra-observancy of Judaism, in comparison to the majority secular populace within the city. At the same time, the neighborhood is gaining popularity among younger, educated people, mainly due to its proximity to central Tel Aviv and the city's beaches. Several Yeshivot, Ulpanim and Kollels, as well as its famous eateries including "Zion" and "Medina" reside in the area. It is probably the biggest Yemenite Jewish community in the world and a rival to Marmorek, an Israeli city with a large Yemenite population, and is growing, aided by the linkage of the neighbourhood to the soon-to-be Tel Aviv Subway and widening of the roads within the center of the neighbourhood. It is described as a lower middle-class neighbourhood, with a high level of educated and cultured Israelis. There are also many Ashkenazi, Italian and Sephardi Jews living in and around the outskirts of the neighbourhood.


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