Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bringing Turkish coffee to Tel Aviv

The Jerusalem Post profiles two Turkish Jews, now making new lives for themselves in Tel Aviv. (With thanks: Albert)

By 6 p.m., the Choco-Latte cafe on Rehov Idelson in the heart of Tel Aviv is relatively quiet. The bright orange chairs on the glassed-in patio are empty, apart from one older gentleman in the corner who is savoring his second strawberry pastry and two girls inside on a retro couch sipping coffees.

"By this hour, things start to wind down," says Jackie Tsvi, 28, a Turkish immigrant who co-owns the caf with his friend and partner, Vedat Bahar, 30.(...)

Friends since childhood, Bahar and Tsvi grew up in Istanbul in the Jewish community but like many in the assimilated community, attended regular schools. Tsvi studied media and communications systems at the University of Bilgi, finishing his B.A. in 2002.

Bahar taught Zionist classes in the Jewish community, but says he chose to make aliya because he couldn't see a future in Turkey. "The Jewish community in Istanbul is very wealthy and snobby," Bahar explains. "I'm not like that, and I wanted a chance to do something else with my life so I came to Israel."

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