Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zamenof - Esperanto and Real Estate

There's nothing special about Zamenof street , except its location - in the very heart of Tel Aviv city, close to every spot and attraction - and this location makes it greatly valuable in terms of urban real estate.
The above street is named after Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenof, the creator of the universal language Esperanto.

Dr. Zamenof   (Web picture)

The tel- avivian Zamenof street is just one of many streets (as well as parks, buildings, cultural centers) in the world, named after Dr. Zamenof, the polish jewish physician (oculist) and linguist who has dedicated most of his life to the creation and promotion of Esperanto. The latter is not a widely spoken language, but it's still learned and used by a few million people around the world.

Zamenof was born in the town of Bialistok (now Poland, then part of Russia).  There were at least four languages spoken in his native town (russian, polish, german, yiddish) and he attributed the quarrels among the various ethnical groups to their different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Hence the idea of a common international language.

Zamenof street in Tel Aviv is a side, quiet, street tucked between the famous Dizengoff square and Shderot Hen boulevard, and crossed by the lively commercial street King George. It has various types of residential buildings , some of them old Bachaus style houses with round balconies; it has  a Post Office branch, a health Clinic, two modest hotels, an indian restaurant named "Tandoori". Everyday needs can be met here by walking and biking despite the proximity to public transport. 

Bauhaus style old building 

Hotel Cinema

two bronze cats at the entrance of Unique Hotel

There's a certain irony in the fact that a street where only those with a lot of money can buy a home , bears the name of a person who strove for removing barriers among people ( language barrier, class barrier) and help make a more egalitarian world.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The District of the "Woman's Best Friend"

The word 'diamond' (in hebrew and english) is all over the place. It appears mostly in two-word compounds such as: diamond exchange, diamond culture, diamond jewelry, diamond mines, diamond center, etc..

The Diamond Exchange District is located in the city of Ramat-Gan, and it has become over the years a sort of 'city within city' dominated by the Diamond Exchange - a complex of four towers connected by bridges .

entrance to the Diamond Exchange District

I happened to be in the area this week; it was not during the busy hours (it was around 5:30 PM). The diamond museum was closed and so were part of the jewelry stores, eateries, banks, insurance companies. The places that were still open, seemed to be less active. I entered the Office Depot store to buy a certain item, and afterwards I decided to take a walk around, as there was a cool , pleasant breeze blowing outside.

towers within the diamond district

Years ago when I had my set of diamond ring+earrings purchased (stolen from me later on) in one of the shops in the district, there were not so many towers here and the diamond industry was definitely smaller. Now, one feels like a tiny dot among all these mighty towers. Culture is given its proper place here through a beautiful theater "The Diamond Theater" ,and the interesting "Oppenheimer Diamond Museum".

towers facing the town road

"Harry Openheimer"  Diamond Museum 

The Diamond Theater

The Diamond Exchange complex with its commercial offices and halls (where its members are engaged in trading, cutting, polishing, marketing of diamonds), gemological laboratories, museum, banking and postal services - is considered the world largest diamond exchange.  Its  rivals to the title are, I think, the one in Mumbay (India) and the one in Antwerpen(Belgium).

Bank of India in the israeli Diamond Exchange district

It's interesting to note that business within the Diamond Exchange is made with the traditional phrase 'mazal ve bracha' (luck and blessing) uttered when closing a deal and accompanied by a handshake - no contracts or lawyers. Would you believe that?).