5: Painting, “The Beginnings of Tel-Aviv” (Reshita shel Tel-Aviv) by Reuven Rubin, 1912.
In Hebrew literature of the early twentieth century, crossing the sea, from the diaspora to Palestine, is often narrated as a passage of conversion or of revival into a new national life. This painting of Tel Aviv by Reuven Rubin (1893-1974) offers a portrait of the city a few years after it was founded. By 1935, and certainly by 1964, when Goldberg’s poem was published, the city had undergone rapid urbanization and expansion, unrecognizable today from the city on sand in Rubin’s painting.
Suggested activities: Ask the students to draw comparisons between Rubin’s painting and the visual imagery in Goldberg’s poem. Have them consider the choices each artist makes in rendering Tel Aviv: what is included and what is left out? Have them look up information about Tel Aviv and its early history. In light of their research, have them discuss why it is significant that the poem is set in Tel Aviv and not in Jerusalem, for instance. Ask them to describe the connection between the three boats in Rubin’s painting and Goldberg’s reference to Columbus’s ships.
Source: Reuven Rubin, "The Beginnings of Tel-Aviv," 1912. Oil painting. Published in Art in Israel, eds. Benjamin Tammuz and Max Wykes-Joyce. Philadelphia, New York & London: Chilton Book Company, 1967. Accessed September 19, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reuven_Rubin-The_Beginnings_of_Tel-Av...