Nightlife in Tel Aviv is way too cool for the guys in this column. (Photo/Flickr-Israel Tourism CC BY-SA 2.0)
Nightlife in Tel Aviv is way too cool for the guys in this column. (Photo/Flickr-Israel Tourism CC BY-SA 2.0)

Middle aged man goes to Tel Aviv, tries to look cool

This week, on the “(Is It) Good for the Jews?” podcast …

LARRY ROSEN: So you’re back from Israel. What’s going on in Israel?

ERIC GOLDBRENER: Israel is happening, man. Israel is definitely happening. Tel Aviv, man, the vibe is outrageous. The energy. The restaurant scene.

LR: Let me ask you this: When you say that it’s “happening,” that tells me it’s no country for old men. The clubs! The discos! What happens if a middle-age person shows up?

EG: I was there. I’m not so young.

LR: Was it like going out to dinner in the Mission, where you look around the restaurant and everyone else is at least 20 years younger?

EG: No, no, there were some other …

LR: … elderly men?

EG: … 50-somethings out there, but you’re right, there were a lot of young people. You know we were at this one disco and it was super cool when they were playing ’70s funk.

LR: American music?

EG: American ’70s funk, but then they switched to the electronica, so we left.

LR: The EDM?

EG: Right, the electronic dance music.

LR: We only know this acronym because we have kids in their teens and 20s.

EG: (approximates a dance music beat with his mouth)

LR: (also does this until the Twilight Lounge sounds like a disco)

EG: Exactly. But it was certainly cute to watch the 20-somethings get up there and dance.

LR: I can’t even imagine! Reminds me of when we went back to New York, to Great Neck … you know Great Neck? On Long Island? As a lifelong Westerner, you may not be familiar.

EG: I know Great Neck. Sure. That’s the Old Country, baby. I got mishpachah in Great Neck.

LR: You are, after all, Jewish. We went back there in 1986, I think, right after high school, and saw my cousins. We were looking at their high school yearbooks and I was shocked.

EG: “Ramy Irving, Joseph Finkelstein …”

LR: Not only that, but all the football players were Jews! All the cheerleaders were Jews! That’s the crazy thing to me, a California guy who went to high school in Orange County, where there were about a dozen of us counting Greg Schwartz, who did play football but was in the closet, Jewish-wise.

EG: For real?

LR: No joke. Didn’t even know he was Jewish until many years later.

EG: Schwartz?

LR: Could’ve been German. Who knew? Had blond hair. Played football. These are not typically Jewish things.

EG: What’s your point here?

LR: My point? I guess that it’s still so wild to me to imagine this place — a disco in Tel Aviv — that’s full of beautiful, young Jews. Jews dancing! Jews in skinny jeans! Jews all over the place!

EG: They’re all Jews, but a lot of tourists are coming in.

LR: Tourists, too, but probably mostly Jews?

EG: Some Jews, yes, but you’ve got to remember, you’ve got people from all over the world. Pilgrims. Religious people. People come to Israel because it’s a tourist destination. They’ve got the beautiful beaches, the scene, the culture.

LR: But still, a lot of Jews.

EG: I’ll give you that.

LR: You’re in that disco, there’s a beautiful young woman dancing nearby, chances are good that she’s a member of the tribe just like me. Like Kyle’s cousin who has asthma and sounds like Woody Allen.

EG: Who’s Kyle?

LR: The Jewish guy on “South Park.” One more question.

EG: Fire away.

LR: You’re in Tel Aviv. Is every building white?

EG: Yes.

LR: And why is this so? Camouflage?

EG: It’s because it’s 110 degrees all the time. Any other color and you’re inviting trouble. And all the buildings, you know, are made of concrete.

LR: With walls several feet thick?

EG: Yes. This is the best material to use when it’s 110 degrees all the time.

LR: I can’t imagine this. Seriously? You’re there in March wearing your sandals and your lounging suit?

EG: No sandals, no lounging suit. It’s 110 degrees for much of the year, but right now it’s very comfortable. In the 70s.

LR: So basically, Tel Aviv is Phoenix with Jews?

EG: I think you need to go to Israel.

Larry Rosen
Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen is a writer, husband, father and author of “The Rabbi Has Left the Building,” a memoir about his son’s bar mitzvah. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”

Eric Goldbrener
Eric Goldbrener

Eric Goldbrener is a Libertarian, Zionist, atheist and autodidact technologist. He co-hosts the podcast “(Is It) Good for the Jews?”