In mid-November, I took a fascinating trip to Tel Aviv at the invitation of Iris Zohar, the founder of 9ROOMS. It was an incredible experience, and Iris was a tireless guide during my five days there. I spent most of my time with her, discovering the wonders of the city–and I was pleased, and very touched, to discover how warm and welcoming Tel Aviv’s people could be!
We spent one full day touring a selection of the city’s hot spots, starting with some cool boutiques, like Abraham (Tel Aviv’s best shop for men’s shoes and accessories); Yanush Gioielli, for fine jewelry; TES, Tali Epstein’s fun collection of bohemian leather bags; and Lilamist, a unusual range of clothes, from daywear to intricate evening pieces, designed by Lila Elgrably.
Along the way, we stopped for a short lunch break at Juno Wine & Food, where we chatted with the owner, Eyal Dubinski. Then it was on to B. Knit, to see designer Maya Calderon’s monochromatic collection of cotton sheets, towels and clothing basics; and Kastiel House of Design, where co-owner Jchoshua Kastiel gave us a tour of the showroom, discussed his philosophy of interior design and pointed out some favorite pieces. We finished the long day with a delicious meal at Mul-Yam, an extraordinary seafood restaurant (and the only one in Israel to be included in Les Grandes Tables du Monde).
A few days later, I presented the keynote address at the 9ROOMS Autumn Event. Iris organizes most of these day-long presentations around special activities for women: spa treatmens like massages and manicures, plus individual speakers (like me). These days, the average woman’s day-to-day life is incredibly busy–and Iris believes we all need time, and a place, in which to meet friends, chat, bond, network and, above all, share. Before this visit to Tel Aviv, I didn’t know what Iris and 9ROOMS were all about. But I quickly realized that, although we’ve taken different paths, we value many of the same things. Clearly, Iris and I both appreciate the potential for beauty (some might call it luxury) in our lives, and we seek to embrace it every day.
Iris is a hardworking businesswoman, but she understands the need to slow down and spend time with important people in her life. Near the end of my stay, she hosted a tea at her fabulous office in the old city of Jaffa, to which she invited a small number of strong, intelligent and interesting women. It was an intimate, empowering group, and I felt very proud to be among them.
Towards the end of my stay, I had some free time to explore Tel Aviv on my own. Alejandra Barav, a charming woman who works with Iris, introduced me to another side of the city, taking me to flea markets and small boutiques I probably wouldn’t have found myself, as well as showing me a little bit of the nightlife Tel Aviv is known for. I’ll never forget this amazing experience, and I hope to see Iris again very soon. Perhaps next time we’ll meet in Paris?