Neve Schechter the center for Jewish Culture and Arts, is an impressive and pretty Templer structure in Tel Aviv with a splendid courtyard enclosed by flowering greenery and willowy trees with a cleanliness and feeling of serenity that is unusual in the city.
The two tier building was charmingly renovated in 2012 and meticulously retains the historic features which ensures that this preservation property is as handsome as it was in the original form.
The history is interesting. The original site was purchased from a local Arab family in 1886 by a German gentleman attached to the Templer sect named Franz Lorenz. The building then became the center for the Templers in Jaffa who named the area around it Walhalla (great hall of fame). Lorenz and family lived on site where they opened a movie house (films in silent versions), an events hall which included presenting theatrical performances and a cafe.
The Cafe Lorenz as it was known, amazingly hosted pro Nazis lectures during 1930’s and ironically in the 40’s, the property was confiscated by the Mandate government and served as a British Officers club. From 1951 until 1975 the Israeli Defense Forces then used it as a Tel Aviv district club house for soldiers. Thereafter the property laid abandon for over thirty years until its restoration by the Schechter Institute of Jewish studies and partner, the Legacy Heritage Fund.
This wonderful building is now home to a creative institute, focused on Judaism, Israeli culture, religious and secular beliefs, combining traditional learning with artistic media but with ultimate goal of promoting tolerance and religious
pluralism. The center offers many programs (workshops, lectures, musical performances, excursions) including those devoted to research and teaching of Jewish Studies targeted toward local educators. It extends it hospitality to the public by offering community activities based on the philosophy of study and celebration.