By Sergio Carmona South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 2, 2009
The Israeli city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909. On Aug. 23, the Consulate General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico celebrated the 100th anniversary of the city’s founding by hosting a pool party for approximately 200-250 people at the Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach.
Alissa Wapinski, the consulate general’s director of academic affairs who organized the event, said the objective of the party was to bring Tel Aviv to Miami.
“Miami and Tel Aviv are similar in the sense that they are both party cities, they are cosmopolitan, they have a beach, they have an international crowd and that’s where we saw common ground to do a party like this,” she said.
Consul General Ofer Bavly said that it’s only fitting that Miami should celebrate Tel Aviv’s 100th birthday.
“I think the people in Miami would feel very much at home in Tel Aviv just as much as the people in Tel Aviv would feel much at home in Miami,” he said.
During the event, the guests not only mingled but also posed for a commemorative centennial photo taken by photographer Tomas Loewy, who took a bird’s eye view shot from the hotel roof top. The photo honored those taken at the founding of Tel Aviv on April 11, 1909. The guests also saw photos depicting the city’s history, ate Israeli food, danced to the beat of DJ Leeor and enjoyed performances from the band Baraka. Band member Jude Algrably, who’s from Tel Aviv, said the event was nostalgic.
“This feels like I’m playing in Tel Aviv on the beach every Friday,” he said. “It’s like going back home and meeting all the Israelis.”
Another band member, Haim Zebede, who’s nicknamed “Happy Z,” said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to be celebrating here with the interest that one day all human beings will celebrate God by being kind to their neighbors and when that day comes we will have achieved heaven on earth.”
Roy Pfeffer, an Aventura resident who’s visited Tel Aviv many times, said the party absolutely looked like the Israeli city and was proud that Miami got together to celebrate it.
“Being in Miami, living here and knowing that there are so many Jewish people is a great feeling and being able to celebrate 100 years of the founding of Tel Aviv also makes me very proud,” he said.
Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel