The Old Synagogue on Allenby

When I was a boy, and for no reason I can think of, I decided I wanted more than anything to be a Jew. As a teenager of 14 it was hard to make the necessary arrangements, and it was only in my mid-twenties that I bade farewell to my foreskin, and a fortnight later immersed myself in the water of the ritual bath in a London suburb, in the grounds of an old Manor House. Seven months after this life changing event I became a citizen of the State of Israel. I was quite lonely. And poor too. So I spent my days walking, exploring, and feeling achingly homesick. In winter, the sky was often brown, rain belting down like pellets of mud; in summer the air was sticky like the sap that dripped from the dirty trees. I often passed this old synagogue in Allenby Street, wedged between an old bookshop filled with damp English books, and a newsagent that sold surprisingly explicit Gay porn. If I had money, I bought a glass of carrot juice and imagined what was inside, what Golem-like creatures might haunt its loft. There was a sadness, a whiff of Europe, of snowy sabbaths, of honey cake and greasy chicken soup. Odd memories of my 1970s childhood sprang to life, seeing the shop displays on what was once Tel Aviv’s main hub. I painted this scene to remember it. It can be bought from the link below.


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