Every day in Israel is a Hebrew reading exercise. Especially if you pay attention to the bumper sticker slogans and street art that adorn this city.
Since my stint in Israel in 2006 I’ve had a real interest in the street artists, which have since gained notoriety. I remember walking the streets photographing the art I’d find, in the form of paintings, stenciled work, and especially poems that didn’t always make sense, but I knew that they wouldn’t be there the next time I’d pass.
My interest never faded, and when I heard about Guy Sharett’s Streetwise Hebrew graffiti tours I had to sign up. I went two Fridays ago in Florentin (Tel Aviv’s Williamsburg – upcoming gentrification and all) and the tour exceeded my expectations. Guy is a linguist and teacher who speaks 7 languages, which of course makes me admire and envy him at the same time. Guy is knowledgable about the rich history of this city, and a friendly man of streets who told us about a few of the local establishments, such as the סנדלר (shoemaker), who recently passed away, and Ilan Barbi, who makes beautiful chairs and aronei kodesh with wood carvings by hand.
Guy offers a few different tour options that should fit your taste and learning needs. Some Hebrew knowledge is required, so be in touch with him if you have any concerns. The tour is only 50 shekels (we got lucky to have him for 2 hours) and we got this nifty notepad to write down our new vocabulary words!
Take a look at some of the street art we saw, ranging from poetry and Israeli icons, to commentary on the treatment of women in religious society. And what hipster neighborhood would be without a mustache or two. Check it out and I strongly recommend taking this tour. I’d do it again!