Hebrew Language Blog

Fashion During the Austerity in Israel (1949-1959) Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


Photo by Ayana

It doesn’t happen frequently, but whenever I get home and the entire block is filled with cooking scent I know auntie is here. With her radiant smiles, fascinating stories and most important – delicious food. She blends, she bakes, she cooks, she fries and she does all that while she’s nattering. Nattering about her youth, about her husbands, about my father, about her olden days. Her exact age is a mystery but she is Israel contemporary, and her private life stories entwined with the country鈥檚 history.

One of my favorite stories is about auntie’s first date. The very first date of my juvenile auntie was during the austerity in Israel (1949-1959). During the country’s first years Jewish immigrants kept entering the new born state, but neither the currency nor the resources flourished respectively fast. Eight months after the establishment of the state of Israel, the government declared a budgeting policy that ended only ten years later. This policy was imperative in order to provide food and other goods to the increasing population. The government controlled consumption of food, beverages, clothes, furniture, etc. to ensure equal rations for all Israeli citizens.

Textiles were one of the goods that were in shortage. Every citizen had a yearly allocation for clothes and footwear. Israelis with relatives over-seas were looking forward to parcels received by mail. Israelis without relatives over-seas had to be creative in order to stay chic. Such as my auntie. When the tallest guy in high school asked her for a date she only knew what she is definitely not going to wear: the subsidized linen dress with the collar and the three buttons on her top.

“I told my mother that his father is a doctor, and that was enough. She gave me money and sent me to the curtains store. I chose a beautiful golden curtain. I hadn’t had a clue she will sew me a dress out of this outlandish curtain!” But it worked, the golden dress did her magic and the tallest guy in high school became my auntie’s first husband two years later.

The dress she wore for the first date with her second husband wasn’t golden or made out of a curtain. Their date occurred in another decade, and that’s a story for another time 馃檪

Text vocabulary

Aunt = 讚旨讜止讚指讛 (Do-da)

History = 讛执讬住职讟讜止专职讬指讛 (Is-tor-ya)

Austerity = 爪侄谞址注 (Tze-na)

Government = 诪侄诪职砖讈指诇指讛 (Mem-sha-la)

Ration = 讛址拽职爪指讘指讛 (Ak-tza-va)

Husband = 讘旨址注址诇 (Ba-hal)

Curtain = 讜执讬诇讜止谉 (Vi-lon)

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