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Pupil of the Streets

11 Jan

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!


Guy Sharett’s handy dandy notepad


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!


Nitzan Mintz is a rarity – she leaves her full name on her work, so if the police want to find her, they can


“And G-d said…” – this is a commentary on the treatment of women by religious men. It’s in a style of the Tanach, as if it is Jewish law to mistreat women


Another work by Nitzan Mintz


A bride’s chair, made by Ilan Barbi


A chair for Elijah the Prophet, made by Ilan Barbi


Le Mustache. Also Zohar Argov “The King”


Image in full


Perfect for Israel’s weather lately


Jews are supposed to pray towards the direction of Jerusalem, but this religious boy is praying towards Tel Aviv


Punk Jews Movement makes a special appearance!


A play on Mount Rushmore, this is Har Roshmore