A PLACE IN HISTORY: Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space

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A PLACE IN HISTORY: Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space, by Barbara Mann, Stanford University Press, 2006

JLAST SPRING, LONDON'S Victoria & Albert Museum hosted a popular exhibit on Modernism from 1914 to 1949. Although it did not claim to be comprehensive, its geographical range was extremely broad. There wasn't, however, a single reference to Tel Aviv-which arguably could be described as the world's "first" or "most" modern city, as Joachim Schick details in his superb and lavishly illustrated book, Tel Aviv: From Dream to City (1999). Those wishing to further explore the relationships between Tel Aviv and the "modern" will appreciated Place in History, a fascinating study by Barbara Mann, Associate Professor of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Focusing on discrete aspects of Tel Aviv and its unique obsession with its history, almost from its inception, Mann deftly weaves poetry, literature, journalism, art, photography, maps, interviews, and archival sources into her account. In a particularly evocative chapter she juxtaposes the seldom visited but highly significant Trumpeldor Cemetery in contrast to the Workman's Circle in New York and the (existing) Okopowa Cemetery of Warsaw-as well as with the Abdel Nabi, "a Moslem cemetery built in roughly same area as the Trumpeldor Cemetery, and upon which the Tel Aviv Hilton now stands. …