Einstein in Tel Aviv

Yesterday, a reblogged post on LensScaper’s fine blog, lead me to Michael Fiveson, who had posted a beautiful graffiti image of Albert Einstein http://m5son.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/einstein/, and this in turn reminded me of a trip I took to the Tel Aviv University a few years ago… and how pleased I’d been at the time, to discover a street named after the great genius. And it was on that fine street, that I found the first graffiti portrait of him I’d ever seen.

a portrait of Einstein drawn by Doron Wiener

The four lines that Mike had written under his photograph of a graffiti portrait of Einstein, brought a wave of thoughts and memories. Mike mentioned that he shared a birthday with the great man. And while I don’t have much faith in astrology, I was able to understand and share his pleasure at having been born on the same day. He also mentioned that he would have felt lucky to be either a chauffeur or a friend of the noted physicist, and this reminded me of two friends of mine, who had actually offered their services as a driver to men they regarded as heroes. The first had been a full professor and had visited our greatest writer, here in Jerusalem… just to get to know him. Upon hearing that he was about to take the bus to the center of town, he volunteered to drive him, and after they had both enjoyed the trip together, my friend offered to drive for the writer, whenever he might need transportation. Back in those days, a car was quite a luxury, and the writer accepted his offer, and my friend learned a lot from the time spent in his company. Some years later, I heard a similar story from another friend, who offered his services as a chauffer to a much loved Rabbi we both knew; a man whose company alone was a precious gift. This friend had the pleasure of driving the Rabbi all over the country.


Well, it’s too late to offer such services to Einstein, but it is a great pleasure for me to discover that graffiti artists have paid tribute to his genius even in far away cities. When he died, he left all his papers to the Hebrew University here in Jerusalem, and I had the great pleasure of reading parts of his journals, written with beautiful penmanship in green ink on white paper. Like others, I fell in love with his personality without any connection to his accomplishments in physics and mathematics. I am unaware of any street that bears his name here in Jerusalem, but I did find Einstein street in Tel Aviv, and I offer you a picture of the street sign, topped with an advertisement for BurgerRanch and CocaCola. I like the picture because it brings together the banal and the sublime, and reminds us that we’re all part of the same package.


42 responses to “Einstein in Tel Aviv

  1. What a fantastic graffiti portrait! The likeness is wonderful.

    There are a lot of people in this world, past and present I would cheerfully drive around! You have me thinking up lists of names here!xxxx

    • Yes Dina, serving is sometimes an entrance to intimacy… and a pleasure too. How good it is to take advantages of the opportunities offered us.

  2. Our present Archbishop got into reconciliation work through offering to ‘carry bags’ for someone whom he had watched in this work. Sometimes just being in someone’s company is a treat in itself.

    • The more a person is in tune with himself and his surroundings, the freer he is to relate to others, and to serve as well. It is no surprise that Abraham, our father, and the father of monotheism was famous for his hospitality… and at the same time, was not afraid to argue with god. As you say, Being in company is a great treat. Thanks for your comment, Gillyk.

  3. I loved both the graffiti portrait of Einstein and the street sign. Very interesting three dimensional advertising!

    • I have to admit, Cathy, that I’ve grown very tired of advertising. But even so… sometimes it’s amusing. This scene brought a big smile to my lips. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Yep, that is Einstein ok. What an iconic image, and yes, I would gladly have been his butler as well.

    • Unfortunately, the good fellow is no longer with us. But I have no doubt that you will continue to serve the rest of us good portions of food for thought. Glad you came by, Mike.

  5. Thank you, Shimon; that last photo is especially priceless, worth “several thousand” words! I’ve always admired Einstein’s appreciation of mystery and his generous humanitarianism, as well as his adept gifts in physics.

    • One of the amazing things about this life, is that we never know what the people around us like about us and what they don’t like. In the case of Einstein, what I liked most about him was that once when his friends decided to celebrate a ‘special’ birthday with a great party, he surprised them all by going fishing. Thanks for your comment, Kitty.

  6. We have an Einstein Middle School not far from where we live. Quite aside from his scientific accomplishments, he was very wise in the ways of humans, and an admirable philosopher.

    • Yes, he was a gentle man… and his brilliance was evident in all that he did. How nice that you have a school named after him. Thanks for the comment, Naomi.

  7. Frequently I share Einstein’s quotes on Facebook in the evening as I like to close my day with a positive thought. Think I will switch to green ink for my personal writing after I see that Einstein used it. Have been thinking about it previously as it just seems friendly.

    • As I’m not on facebook, Bev, I miss out on those pearls. But I have to say that I’ve run into some quotes on the internet whose attributions seem very weak. When I hear a quote, I like to hear where the person said what he said, or wrote it down. But on the other hand, I’ve run into some expressions from him that really are worth quoting. Thanks.

  8. That photo does bring it all together; hamburgers, coke, Einstein. It’s all relative.

  9. Much as city fathers hate graffiti, I love some of it…….this portrait is wonderful….graffiti or not 😉

  10. I love graffiti art! 🙂

  11. I would have loved to have worked with Einstein, just as his gofer (I’m not a physicist) purely to hear his voice, appreciate his humour, to be his shadow as he went about his daily life, and to sit there with him as he sat on his bed, with his notebook, jotting down ideas at the end of every day of his life. He’s my hero! He’s everywhere too: http://jmnpixels.com/2013/04/05/einstein-cycling/.

    As to the last pic in your post, and ‘being all part of the same package’, well I take offense at that, Shimon — I am not part of the American package of Coca-Cola, burgers and corn!! LOL. ‘Though I must admit, I used to be a huge fan of Coca-Cola and do currently enjoy the occasional Hungry Jack’s burger — so, you’re right! LOL again! 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Janina. I can tell you that I too am far from the American package… so far, that I don’t know most of it. But still, with it’s good and bad, it is the leading power of the world, and when Einstein’s homeland was killing off all of his relatives and friends, he survived because he found shelter in a free America. So we have to look at all of this with a certain perspective. Thanks for the link. I liked the picture, and always enjoy your comment.

  12. Hi! Janet at janet’s notebook recommended I visit your blog.

    Your post reminded me of an email doing the rounds. I have no idea if it is true or a joke. I’d like to think it’s for real.

    When Albert Einstein was on the speaker’s circuit, he usually found himself longing to get back to his laboratory work. One night as they were driving to yet another rubber-chicken dinner, Einstein mentioned to his chauffeur (a man who somewhat resembled Einstein in looks and manner) that he was tired of speech-making.

    “I have an idea, boss,” his chauffeur said. “I’ve heard you give this speech so many times, I bet I could give it for you.”

    Einstein laughed and said, “Why not? Let’s do it!”

    When they arrived at the dinner, Einstein donned the chauffeur’s cap and jacket and sat in the back of the room. The chauffeur gave a beautiful rendition of Einstein’s speech and even answered a few questions expertly.

    Then a supremely pompous professor asked an extremely esoteric question about anti-matter formation, digressing here and there to let everyone in the audience know that he was nobody’s fool. Without missing a beat, the chauffeur fixed the professor with a steely stare and said, “Sir, the answer to that question is so simple that I will let my chauffeur, who is sitting in the back, answer it for me.”

    • Thanks Tilly, for coming by, and thanks to Janet for recommending me. I really liked this joke, but I can tell you that it is very doubtful that it ever happened with the cast described here. Einstein didn’t like public speaking that much, and didn’t do it often, and when he did lecture or give a speech, everyone present knew him by sight. So if they would have seen the chauffeur on the stage, they would have supposed that Einstein was playing hooky again. Still, it was an enjoyable joke, and if I manage to remember it, I’ll tell it sometime. Good to meet you. I love laughing.

  13. That is a wonderful piece of Artistry – and so obviously Einstein again. I’m pleased to see Mike Fiveson has also seen this. A fascinating story to go with this image. One of the joys of our on-line community is the way we all interact across the globe.

    • Yes, I agree Andy. Some of what we’re seeing in the way of graffiti is very impressive. And yes, it’s gratifying to meet people with similar interests on the internet. Thank you too, for introducing us to new people and new subjects.

  14. Yes, this is one of the most fascinating aspects to our blogging here, to me anyway…the connections we make across the world, finding commonalities that bind us, however superficially or deeply that might occur. It’s encouraging and speaks well of our human spirit.

    • Unfortunately, Scott, there are really a lot of terrible things to be found on the web. Not to speak of the superficial and the commercial… but it’s true that it is a great aid in finding the things we’re looking for, and often this means people of like mind. I consider it a major improvement in our ability to communicate… something similar to the arrival of moveable type, which brought a great increase in books and enabled so many to learn reading and writing. Thanks for your comment.

      • You are most welcome, Shimon…and I’m compelled to agree with you on both points…even with its less-appealing features, the internet has revolutionized communication across the world…..and hopefully that will remain a good thing….

  15. What a great subject for graffiti (or anything really). Loved the stories about your friends’ humble approaches and the rewards they reaped from them.

  16. I suppose that offering your services as a chauffeur or housecleaner to someone is a great way to meet them and meet their needs. Maybe when I retire I can do something like that. 🙂

    • Actually, I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, yearstricken. I think it’s more for the young. I used to go out of my way, when I was a young student, to get to know the teachers I really admired… I think it’s more for the young. What I’ve found after retirement, is that we have much less time than we thought we’d have…

  17. Love this…it put a smile on my face:)x

  18. What a privilege to read the genuine works of the great man! I didn’t know he’d left of his work to Jerusalem’s university. What an amazing gift!

    • Yes, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is a unique academic institution, and a tower of learning. Some of my finest hours were spent there. And I am truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to share in the great wealth of knowledge found in that institution and others found in my home town, Thanks for you comment, Fatima.

  19. I always have interests about daily life outside my own country. Thank you for depicting.

    • Thank you, Keharuman, for taking interest, and for sharing your own locale with those of us who live far away, and can only imagine the world you live in.

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