Yesterday – 7 Aug 2017 or 15 Av 5774 – was the Day of Love in Israel. Unlike America, there is no commercialism for this holiday. There are no special colors. No big marketing ploys in the malls. No build-up. In fact, I didn’t realize it was the 15th of Av until my boyfriend sent me a whatsapp with “Happy Day of Love! Dinner?” It was a very nice surprise (and yes, he gets mega-points). I find that the Israeli style of celebrating days like these is much nicer than the American. No one feels left out. When you make an effort, you find the means to celebrate in a personal way.
Date Night in Israel
Let me tell you about a date in Israel. I think this site is over-represented by the Religous Jewish minority. Here’s a voice of reason…I mean, Secular Israel that is the majority of the population.
I get to my boyfriend’s home. (Yeah, we’re not married and we’re not going to get married.) He greets me with a kiss and a glass of champagne. He watches the news while I shower and dress for dinner. Dressing up in the Tel Aviv heat and casual lifestyle means (for a Secular Israeli woman) light slacks and a lacy strap top. We used Gett and got a taxi to Neve Tzedek. This Tel Aviv neighborhood has an interesting history. We go there because it has some of the best restaurants in the country. This time we went to Hatraklin. This is a fine-dining experience for carnivores and oenophiles.
The meal was excellent. There were specials for the Day of Love. And they were very delicious! We tried a new wine – Dada – which made the flavor of the fresh herbs pop. I won’t go too much into it. I have to save some for my Tripadvisor review. But worth a visit if you like wine and meat.
There’s Kosher Food and Then There’s Food that Tastes Good
Let me make this clear: this is not a kosher restaurant. When I want steak for dinner, I make sure the restaurant does NOT have a kosher license. First, I think the kosher process ruins the steak (removing all the blood with salt leaves a dry, saltish, tasteless bit of meat). Second, I think the whole kashrut business is closer to NY-mafia-style protection rackets than religion.
Throughout the meal, we held hands when we felt like it. We stepped outside for a smoke when we felt like it. We talked about relationships with the waitress. We met one of the owners and talked about wine and his friends and family. He shook hands with both of us. As he answered our questions, he looked each of us in the eye. We kissed on the balcony, in full view of the whole city. All these little things make Tu B’Av feel like the world is smiling at love. And all of these things are permissible only in Secular Israel. Which, fortunately, is the majority of the country.