Party till morning at Tel Aviv’s White Night
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Party till morning at Tel Aviv’s White Night

Annual end-of-June festival offers up a cornucopia of art, performances, live music and international foods

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Getting the groove on with the Rabin Square earphones party for White Night, Thursday night, June 29 (Courtesy Guy Yechiely)
Getting the groove on with the Rabin Square earphones party for White Night, Thursday night, June 29 (Courtesy Guy Yechiely)

Tel Aviv is one of those cities known to “never sleep,” and with its annual White Night set for Thursday, its denizens will have a great excuse to stay out well into the wee hours, with dozens of events throughout its neighborhoods.

In Hebrew, “white night” means a night with no sleep, but there’s an added connotation in Tel Aviv, which is known as the “white city” and was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003 for its unusual collection of white buildings designed in the Bauhaus style.

The German architectural school emphasized functionality and inexpensive building materials, ideas that were brought to the city in the 1930s by German Jewish architects fleeing Europe.

Fittingly, White Night offers opportunities to celebrate the city and its history. Following is a selection of events, with a full listing available at the municipality website.

Dining in white elegance at the 2106 White Night dinner al fresco (Courtesy Moshik Lindenbaum)
Dining in white elegance at the 2106 White Night dinner al fresco (Courtesy Moshik Lindenbaum)

1) You can start White Night a day early with the White Picnic, an ode to elegance and outdoor dining that originated in Paris and was later imported to Tel Aviv and other cities. The dining event is free, unless you want to pay for a table, white tablecloth, two chairs and a picnic basket of three courses. All diners have to be dressed completely in white, and while they can eat a dinner of their choice, it must be served on white. The location is kept secret in the lead-up to the event, on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m., and while entry is free, registration is a must. Register here.

2) If silent boogieing is your treat, check out the late-night earphone party taking place at Rabin Square. Participants can bring their own earphones or rent them at the square. Hook them up to smartphones set to 102 FM to stay in sync with other participants rocking out to the night’s songlist. Rabin Square, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Kids take part in White Night celebrations at Bialik Square during last year's events (Courtesy Noa Ben Shalom)
Kids take part in White Night celebrations at Bialik Square during last year’s events (Courtesy Noa Ben Shalom)

3) Party with the Europeans at 1 Rothschild Boulevard, where a selection of performances and video art from Austria, Romania, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Cyprus will be performed and screened throughout the night, paying homage to those cultures that have set up shop in Tel Aviv. Held at 1 Rothschild Boulevard, 8 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Right nearby is Live Draw, along the pedestrian streets of Nahalat Binyamin, where some 30 graffiti artists will do their thing with spray paint from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

xx at Givon, the outdoor space near Ha'arba'a and Chashmonaim streets (Courtesy Guy Yechiely)
Indy music at Givon, the outdoor space near Ha’arba’a and Chashmonaim streets (Courtesy Guy Yechiely)

4) There’s also lots of live music all around town on White Night, including rock ‘n’ roll in Jaffa’s Pisga Park, with Tractor’s Revenge and Monica Sex 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; alternative rock with an Eastern edge in the refurbished Train Station complex, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.; indie rock in Givon, the lengthy outdoor courtyard between Ha’arba’a and Chashmonaim; and along Rothschild Boulevard.

There will also be public singalongs throughout the night in front of the Habima Theater (9 p.m.-1 a.m.), Israeli folk dancing at Gordon Beach (9 p.m.- 2 a.m.), street theater and performances at Bialik Square, and live music and outdoor film screenings at the Cinematheque and on the roof of the Tel Aviv City Hall (rooftop screenings only for Digital Card holders). Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is offering free entry from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Fresco Dance Company will perform at White Night Tel Aviv (Courtesy Anna Lindan)
Fresco Dance Company will perform at White Night Tel Aviv (Courtesy Anna Lindan)

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While you’re eating dinner, take in the enormous, wooden sculptures created for the desert festival Midburn — Israel’s version of Burning Man — with Jacob’s Ladder and the Pirate Ship in situ for this week at The Platform.

Free app Sidekix will show all the events taking place during White Night and navigate users from one stop to another, so it’s worth downloading for an easy trial.

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