In her deeply personal account of living in Israel’s most cosmopolitan city, Getting Home: Young Anglos Find Themselves in Transcendent Tel Aviv, Miranda Früm explains why the city draw her contemporaries and how it keeps them there.
Tel Aviv is an island of lost toys—all of us from near and far who have been drawn to the scene searching for stability, searching for a place to call home. American or Israeli, Canadian or European, all of us who have relocated to Tel Aviv tend to be running away from things, hoping to start anew, readjusting our masks hoping others believe our masks are really our faces.
The portrait she draws of her friends and acquaintance are of young people uncertain of their direction – the “lost toys” to which she referred – finding some sense of purpose in Tel Aviv.
Früm observes one factor that makes Tel Aviv attractive to the twentysomething Americans who aren’t certain what to do with their lives: opportunity.
There are more available jobs in Tel Aviv, and most people tend to be doing multiple things at once. The notion of working as an artist, a photographer, a writer or a poet and not starving in the process isn’t farfetched. There are startups popping up every day. Café culture and good weather encourage frequent meetings with friends. You feel as if you really are a part of a community in a way that is harder to find in North America. Tel Aviv is a city that seems to work in one’s favor.
Once there, Früm and her peers not only feel as if they are part of community, but also have the opportunity to become more “balanced.”
52 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Americans consume three-quarters of the world’s prescription drugs. The youth of Tel Aviv tend to be more in shape (Israel’s obesity rate is less than half the rate of America’s), and spend a lot of their time out in nature. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the cheapest things to buy, and unhealthy food tends to be more expensive; compare that to North America, where Whole Foods and other organic stores are expensive, while McDonald’s can feed a family for under ten dollars. A good diet, sunshine, and light exercise do wonders for a person’s physique and state of mind. To find contentment when one is balanced is much easier of a task.
With opportunity and piece of mind comes contentment. While Tel Aviv isn’t perfect – Früm notes an element of alienation among her peers – it gives “lost toys” a chance to find themselves.
[Photo: The Tower Magazine ]