As part of the curriculum of the second year of the Mandel Program for Local Leadership in Eilat-Eilot, fellows continue to explore in depth questions of identity and place, with a focus on the role of leadership in effecting changes that create social and communal space for the benefit of all local residents.
On February 13–14, 2019, the fellows participated in a retreat in Tel Aviv-Jaffa that examined challenges of place and locality. As part of this experience, the fellows met with local intellectuals and practitioners in order to find out how to "make a place" and to explore the forces that act on and undercut the natural existence of place, and that seek to create alternative conceptions.
The retreat began with a tour of Rothschild Boulevard led by
Dr. Ruth Calderon, which looked at institutions such as the ATA fashion center and local cafés as local cultural institutions. Dr. Calderon shared with the fellows her idea of Tel Aviv as a secular place that is home to a Hebrew-Israeli culture that is uniquely suited to its residents.
Next, the fellows met with
Professor Zali Gurevitch, and learned about the deeper meanings of the concept of place and about its historical development, from early mythology and the Bible through to modern and post-modern trends.
The second day of the retreat was dedicated to encounters and tours of the southern part of Tel Aviv: the Levinsky market, Jaffa, Neve Sha’anan, and the Shapira neighborhood. In recent times, there has been noticeable urban renewal in these areas, which are home to innovative entrepreneurial activities that are seen as either promoting or hindering the residents’ sense of place and localness.
The retreat concluded with a performance and spoken-word workshop from performing artist
Arik Eber, who founded Poetry Slam Israel. Together with Arik, the fellows processed their learning experience in the city of Tel Aviv, which will provide them with inspiration and serve as the basis for thinking, planning, and future action in Eilat and the surrounding region.