Mayor Uwe Becker
São Paulo, Brazil
Leeds, United Kingdom
Victor Salomon Goldstein
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
London, United Kingdom
Dr. Dan Tartakovski
Mexico City, Mexico
Siomara Paciornik Schulman
Frankfurt’s Charming Mosaic
Mayor Uwe Becker
Mayor of Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurt am Main is the most international city in Germany, a world-famous metropolis, and the largest village in the state of Hesse. The city is compact both geographically and socially, which means that anyone who comes here and wants to make it their home will easily become a Frankfurter. Not only are people close to each other spatially, but in our city of short distances, the pathways into urban society are short and inviting too. Anyone who wants to become part of the community will do so quickly, and the sports clubs around every corner will ensure that friendships are made effortlessly if you want them to happen.
Frankfurt is full of energetic arcs of tension. The places where people meet range from a district festival, the Kerb or community celebration in one’s own church, to the International Banking Evening, or an after-work party following a global trade fair. Frankfurt is a mosaic of its districts, which gives the city the charm of home. However, those who wish to live anonymously and in seclusion can pursue this dream 24/7 as well.
Frankfurt has played and continues to play an important role in the history of both Germany and Europe, from it lines of European emperors, to being considered the cradle of German democracy as well as of the European monetary policy of the European Central Bank .
A couple of my favorite places to visit are the Römerberg—the famous market
in front of our historic city hall, and the Eschbach Weir in my home district of Nieder-Eschbach.
Frankfurt is full of energetic arcs of tension
My city also offers world-class culture: it is not for nothing that our opera has won the Opera of the Year prize in Germany several times. A lot of green runs through the city, making it additionally attractive and pleasant to live in. It takes less than an hour to reach the vineyards on the Rhine and the low mountain ranges from the Taunus to the Spessart and the Rhön. But we are also proudly international --Frankfurt is connected to the world via the largest airport in Germany, one of the largest train stations in the country and a highway interchange, which, just like the river Main, connects people almost everywhere by land and water. Yes, I, for one, couldn’t be happier than to live in Germany's most beautiful city, and to help shape its future!
Photo of Uwe Becker courtesy of Stadt Frankfurt am Main, K. Gottesleben.
Come to Sao Paolo—and bring your appetite!
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo is an incredible city. In fact, it is composed of several cities in one, and, as so many say, it is not a place for beginners. But this does not mean that tourists or newcomers cannot enjoy the wonders that “Sampa” has to offer.
São Paulo has cultural amenities distributed throughout several neighborhoods, and my tip for those who come to know the city is to mix gastronomy with culture. I like outdoor walks, so one of my favorite places to visit in the city is Ibirapuera Park, with almost two square kilometers of green, running tracks, lawns and museums within the park complex. My advice is to go early, enjoy the empty park and then have breakfast at Bread & Co., a bakery near the park, in Vila Nova Conceição neighborhood.
Speaking of museums, there are several scattered around the city, each with a unique character. The most impressive, due to its architecture and collection, is MASP. When you visit it, take the opportunity to walk along Avenida Paulista, and plan a meal in the restaurants of Jardins. Some options are ZDeli (Jewish cuisine), Botanikafé (Brunch), Carlos Pizza or Pizzaria Margherita.
Don’t miss Congregação Israelita Paulista – CIP, which is the largest congregation in Latin America.
Downtown Sao Paulo offers architectural wonders and interesting tours, such as Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Pinacoteca Both have a tradition of hosting itinerant exhibitions, which sell out. There the gastronomy options are: Dona Onça (best mincemeat “Picadinho” in São Paulo), ZDeli Sanduíches (a snack house that rivals many in New York City) and the Municipal Market, which has several food options, including the traditional codfish pastry.
Of course, the strong dollar is always a good reason for shopping: anyone who wants to shop outdoors can go to Rua Oscar Freire street, in the Jardins district, or, on rainy days, the Iguatemi Shopping Mall. Go to Itaim neighborhood to eat a good meal at Varanda restaurant, or visit one of the modern Italian restaurants, like Nino, Momma and Due Cuochi.
Finally, a neighborhood for walking, shopping and eating: Higienópolis. It is a neighbourhood that has architectural treasures from the 50s, 60s and 70s, a mall with a good variety of stores and most important—my two favorite restaurants are there: Tappo (Italiano) and Shushi Papaya.
For those who are Jewish, it is worth visiting Hebraica (our JCC), strolling in the Bom Retiro neighbourhood to see remnants of the Jewish community, and visiting some of more than seventy synagogues that exist in the city. Don’t miss Congregação Israelita Paulista—CIP, which is the largest congregation in Latin America.
It doesn't take much effort to find sites and activities for all tastes in my remarkable city, which is also known as “Pauliceia”, Stone Jungle (Selva de Pedra), Drizzle land, (Terra da Garoa), or simply, “Sampa.”
Flavio Levi is a member of the Israel Bonds New Leadership Council in Brazil.
Lead on, Leeds!
Leeds, United Kingdom
Although there is scant evidence of it now, Leeds was initially built on the wool industry and later through the production of clothing. It would have been the offer of work in tailoring that attracted my paternal great-grandparents to the city in the early years of the twentieth century. My late mother’s family came to London but relocated to Leeds to escape The Blitz and never left.
So, whilst a part of me is an honorary Cockney, I was born and bred in what is known as God’s Own Country – Yorkshire. Leeds is effectively the capital of Yorkshire and is the UK’s third-largest city.
No one seems sure exactly when Leeds was founded, but it is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086. There is a church a couple of miles from where I live that dates back to 1150 that features the remnants of a Roman pavement nearby. Indeed, at that time, so long ago, Leeds was not very large. But with the Industrial Revolution, wool and flax production drew workers in and the city began to expand, and to become well-connected by
canals and railways.
Leeds was a pioneer not only in the textile industry, but in others as well. in the first integrated factory in the UK was built in Leeds, and that factory went on to produce the first commercially successful steam locomotive. Leeds built many steam engines for the world but was also a force in ready-to-wear clothing, leather, chemicals and pottery. These industries are long gone, but much evidence remains, including some spectacular buildings. For example, Temple Works was built in the style of an Egyptian temple and was the largest single room anywhere on the planet in its day.
How Leeds has maintained such obscurity is a mystery to me!
You might wonder how I know all this. The answer is that I wrote and co-presented a series on the history of Leeds for our local city TV channel. You can find it on YouTube.
In my business career, I was able to build a successful public company without relocating. Topflight lawyers, accountants and advisors are all located here, and whilst I did make use of some people in London, that is not because those services were not available in Leeds.
Anyone from outside of the UK will tend not to know Leeds unless they know football. The convoluted history of Leeds United has been a rollercoaster ride for its loyal fans. The team has had so many near misses over the years - but with a recent promotion to the Premier League, things are looking up once again for The Whites.
How Leeds has maintained such obscurity while being the location of the discovery of oxygen, the invention of the first moving picture, the first Marks & Spencer’s and even the creation of the Jelly Tot makes no sense to me! We Loiners punch well above our weight and if people choose to ignore this, then surely that is their loss.
These days, Leeds has a lot going for it. Here one can find all the culture anyone could ask for. With numerous galleries, dance, ballet and opera to enjoy, we are now also on the map for major bands to perform, since they can play at the 15,000-seat arena that opened just a few years ago. And for those who love to shop, we can boast the first Harvey Nichols outside of London. Whilst it is not quite Knightsbridge, it makes us very proud.
It appears the world is waking up to Leeds now. We are home to some leading businesses, like ASDA and Sky Betting and Gaming, and with Channel 4 in the process of relocating its headquarters here, more stations are set to follow. But best of all, housing is reasonably priced, and you are never more than a few minutes away from beautiful, open countryside. All of this, combined with a small yet vibrant Jewish community, makes it a great place to live.
There is a lot in Leeds for tourists too, so next time you are nearby or planning a break with a difference – think of us. We’re a friendly lot – you might be pleasantly surprised!
Jonathan Straight is a purpose-driven entrepreneur and creative who lives in Leeds.
Dazzled by Lyon
Roaming the medieval streets of Vieux Lyon, at the end of one of its many traboules, one discovers a charming street known as “Rue Juiverie,” or Jewish Street.
The term “Juiverie” was used in medieval periods to refer to our community. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the plague struck Lyon. The Jewish community, in observing the teachings of our Holy Torah, was spared from the pestilence by our rules of hygiene. And, when it was time to celebrate Hanukkah, Rue Juiverie was shining; the illuminated windows sparkled in contrast to the dark backdrop of a city in mourning.
Lyon was illuminated;
the plague faded.
On his way to prayer, a magistrate was dazzled by the sight of these lights. He queried the Jewry about this glittering sight and, in learning its heritage, asked all Lyonnais to beseech God by lighting candles in their windows every evening.
Lyon was illuminated; the plague faded.
Ever since, each December the eighth, in memory of this victory, the people of Lyon illuminate their windows with candles. Lyon became the “City of Lights.”
In the 1990s, Emile Azoulay Zal, my grandfather, then deputy mayor of Lyon, encouraged the renovation, restoration and international promotion of Rue Juiverie.
Today, the festival of December 8th attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to admire the illumination of our beautiful city of Lyon, without knowing that behind this great tradition lies ... the wonderful history associated with the Rue Juiverie.
Written in loving memory of my grandfather- Emile Azoulay Zal, European President of Israel Bonds.
Photo Credit: Sarah Zakine
A tropical paradise
Victor Salomon Goldstein
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
I was invited to write about what it is like to live in Rio de Janeiro and how to get the most out of this tropical paradise, which is full of structural and political problems. Without a doubt, one suggestion is based on making the most of living with the luxuriant and so-available nature that we have here, which often compensates for all the “tzures” of the confusing daily life in Rio.
My tip for those who come to Rio is to take advantage of the outdoor tours. The vistas from the top of the mountains and peaks are impressive, but I suggest that in addition to the traditional panoramas of Corcovado and the Sugarloaf Mountain, do not miss the views that you can enjoy when taking a tour by boat through Guanabara Bay or on the open sea from the Cagarras Islands, which lie in front of Ipanema.
The views over Rio de Janeiro from
the top of the city park in
Niterói are breathtaking
Another suggestion would be a walk to the other side of the Rio-Niteroi bridge, as the views over Rio de Janeiro from the top of the city park in Niterói are breathtaking. This walk can be the “grand finale” of a tour that begins by passing through the Niemeyer path and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói. The path is named for Oscar Niemeyer, the architect of this iconic building and others that make up the path, all inspired by the curves of the Rio mountains that compose the landscape.
In Rio de Janeiro, besides the famous south zone (Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Copacabana, etc.) I recommend visiting and walking in the Tijuca Forest, following the Barra da Tijuca beaches, Reserva, Recreio, Prainha, Grumari— stopping for lunch at Barra de Guaratiba overlooking the Marambaia sandbank and on the way back, pass by Burle Marx, designed by and named for the famous Jewish landscaper, who knew so much about architecture and botany, and designed his landscape projects with extreme good taste.
The surroundings in the State of Rio de Janeiro are magnificent: to the southwest you will find Ilha Grande, the city of Parati, and the hundreds of tropical islands of Angra dos Reis, and on the other side, to the northeast, Buzios and Arraial do Cabo are also impressive and unique.
In Rio de Janeiro, outstanding beauty surrounds you in all directions, and the city offers an abundance of awesome tropical nature to inspire tourists and residents alike.
London, United Kingdom
I was born in Haifa, but my parents emigrated from Tallin, the capital of Estonia. They were among a lucky few who obtained certificates to come to Israel. In 1934, my grandfather declared that Jews no longer had a future in Estonia, explaining that “only a complete idiot would tell you that it was raining when a goy was pissing on his head."
My father would later describe the family’s destination—The Holy Land-- as “the British Empire”s Pearl of the Mediterranean.” He would go on to graduate in agriculture from the University of Nancy in France, and find his first job on a farm that was run by Rachel Yanait — the wife of the president of Israel, Itzhak Ben Zvi. Afterward, he changed jobs and moved into insurance, specializing in agriculture.
After completing my studies in Haifa, a full army service and further study of Middle East affairs in Jerusalem, I was bitten by Insurance bug and graduated from Israel’s National Insurance Institute.
I fell in love with London’s culture
It was at this point that I moved to London, with the help and influence of my father, to further my insurance studies, and while a trainee at Lloyds, I fell in love with London's culture , not to mention its dynamic insurance industry.
At that time in the 70s, London was still a traditional version of its current self, a place I referred to as “The land of Fish n Chips.” But tradition aside, there was beautiful countryside to enjoy, together with a burgeoning theatre scene and expanding and energetic commerce.
After a move back to Israel, I joined the shipping company MFC--Maritime Fruit Carriers-- owned by Mila Brener and the government minister, Jakob Meridor, and became their deputy head of the insurance division. Following that company’s closure, I joined and then for a few years headed Ramon Insurance, a subsidiary of the Zim shipping line.
But London beckoned. Because of my love for the city and my wife's desire to return, I fulfilled my promise to myself and to her and we came back in 1984. Nowadays, the Israelis who come to London, as opposed to those who came in the 80s, are likely not posted here or sent to do business for Israeli companies, as was often the case in the past, but come from a range of diverse backgrounds. Israeli Londoners now enjoy a more integrated lifestyle, thanks in part to the Israel Business Club (IBC), Alondon, an Israeli magazine, and the choice of many Israeli films and restaurants. Today’s London is a flourishing, multi-cultural society, with much to offer in terms of culture, sport and scenery.
Given our current economic climate, an Israel bond is a good investment, and I want to take the opportunity to wish Israel Bonds continued success in meeting its financial objectives to raise money for a noble cause—helping our beloved State of Israel.
The Most Beautiful City in the World
Living in Paris is a blessing. To me, it is the most beautiful city in the world, where history and modernism collide at every corner. But my favourite area is known as Boulevard Saint Germain des Près.
Historically, this was the place to be for writers and artists in the late 50’s or 60’s. Back then, in such famous coffee shops and restaurants as Les Deux Magots, or Le Café de Flore, it was not at all unusual to find yourself seated next to luminaries such as Jean-Paul Sartre or Juliette Gréco.
Historic buildings and the best places to shop in all of Paris!
As you stroll along the small streets of St. Germain, you experience the unique vibe created by the museums, restaurants, historic buildings and the best places to shop in all of Paris! Rue de Buci is my particular favorite: on this street, no cars are allowed, florists, bookshops and typical French brasseries abound,
and a bustling marketplace hums every day, but especially on Sunday, when celebrities and tourists mingle,
all enjoying the atmosphere.
Paris would never be Paris without Saint Germain.
Mystery in Teotihuacán and Warm Hospitality
Dr. Dan Tartakovski
Mexico City, Mexico
I’d like to tell you about two of my favourite places to learn, to rest and to work in Mexico. To enjoy them the most, get someone who knows these places well to accompany you!
The first is Teotihuacán—the place where men become gods—also known as the “city of gods,” and “city of the sun.” I recommend that visits be done during the week, from Monday to Friday, so that you can enjoy the place quietly, without the weekend crowds. Go early, take the time to climb up and soak in the atmosphere of the place, and to appreciate the Danza de los Voladores, an ancient ritual dance still performed in isolated pockets of Mexico.
Insect tastings—lots of protein!
In the palace, where the murals are, some of the restaurants offer classic pre-Hispanic food. For example, there are insect tastings—lots of protein! You can drink and enjoy delicious fresh water, tour the entire ceremonial centre and buy handcrafted and locally-produced items there. For a few pesos, you can hire one of the guides available in the area to give you a great guided tour.
One of the reasons I enjoy the cultural greatness of this place so much is that it is still yet to be understood. In this place, before the conquest, 25,000 people participated in their ceremonies for five days. What kind of technology allowed them to accomplish all that they did? And most mysterious: why was it abandoned ?
Why was Teotihuacan abandoned?
My second favorite place to visit – because of its warm welcome, opportunity to try extreme sports and vacation vibe – is Cozumel. Here you can appreciate all the natural beauty of the surroundings, as well as experience the incomparable kindness of the people who live in the area.
Not to be missed experiences are a swim (with the knowledge of a seasoned diver) in a cenote—a natural pit or sinkhole, a “cleansing” in a temazcal—a kind of traditional sauna, and tastings of a good tequila or mezcal. The ecologically sound manner in which turtles are protected is also well worth observing, and The Danza de los Voladores, the dance of the flying people, is performed in Cozumel as well.
There is another reason I enjoy Cozumel so much: it always reminds me of the Israel Bonds Cancun Quintana Roo Convention at the end of the 90s. I remember it so fondly as an event filled with brotherhood and good times, spent in the company of good friends who still remain close today
Dr. Dan Tartakovski, Bnei Brith Special Ambassador.
Siomara Paciornik Schulman
Curitiba, in the south of Brazil, is the city where I was born, where I live and that I consider my home, even though I have lived in several other places, such São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Switzerland. Today, I would not exchange my city for any other.
Its population is a broth of ethnicities, from the descendants of the Portuguese explorers who first found the native people here, to the Polish, Ukrainian, German, Jewish, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish and many others who came later and settled here.
Back in the 1960s, I thought Curitiba was very provincial, despite being the headquarters of the First Federal University of Brazil, and home to many theatres, cinemas, and clubs. In those days, young people dreamed of moving to the big cities,
São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Around 1970, a young Jewish architect and urban planner took over the city when he became mayor. Jaime Lerner revolutionized the city, making it modern and pleasant to live in, with an enviable quality of life. It became a model for cities around the world, with its efficient system of public transportation, including tube stations and bi-articulated buses.
Curitiba residents – “Curitibanos” – have become proud of their city.
The fame of the city’s wonderful gastronomy has already
The attractions and sights of Curitiba are numerous: the Ópera de Arame, the magnificent, French-inspired Botanical Garden, and the Passeio Público, our oldest municipal park. There are countless other parks and green areas, such as Barigui, Tingui, Tanguá, Passaúna, São Lourenço, to enjoy, as well as the German Forest, and The Pope’s Woods, a small park named in honour of Pope John Paul II, without forgetting the old and very charming part of the city where a fountain still exists, around which the colonists would gather in the old days to water their horses.
And the fame of the city’s wonderful gastronomy has already crossed borders. Here you can sample all the best flavours in the world, as well as snacks and drinks in bars spread throughout the city.
Curitiba is now a cultural center, with its theatre festival, music festival, the Teatro Guaíra and its admirable corps de ballet, and the countless Christmas choir performances.
The Jewish community, whose first immigrants arrived around 1890, now has 2,000 members. Though small in relation to the almost two million total population of Curitiba, the community is extremely visible and active in all areas.
Here it is possible to experience the four seasons in a single day!
At The Kehilá, all Jewish entities in the city are able to gather physically in one location. The complex includes a large sport club with lounges, a swimming pool, sports courts and a gym, a beautiful synagogue, the Jewish school--“ Escola Israelita Brasileira”-- and the first and the only Holocaust
Museum in Brazil.
Curitiba today has much to offer tourists, but, mainly, it is a city where people live very well, with a great quality of life, despite the really bi-polar climate: here it is possible to experience the four seasons in a single day!
Even with the reputation that the people of Curitiba have for being aloof to strangers, a reputation that is not always justified, my beautiful city deserves several visits!