Hidden away in the understated Western part of Rabin Square, Tola’at Sfarim, which translated from Hebrew to ‘Book Worm’, is a cherished specialty bookstore and café. Founded twenty-seven years ago by Fanny Hirshezon and Eliana Yedov, the shop first garnered fame due to its book release events and salon-style poetry readings. The pair of owners eventually decided to incorporate their passion for design, architecture and psychology, facilitating the store as a centre of literature on those subjects. Expanding to include a café cemented Toalat Sfarim as a true Tel Aviv bookstore staple, with a following strong enough to last through recessions, wars, and even the latest trend of e-readers.
Shaded by the classic ‘housing on stilts’ style of architecture made popular during the population boom of the 1950’s, Toalat Sfarim offers an oasis of tranquility in a neighbourhood dominated by city hall and the nearby Ichilov hospital. Enjoy a tall mug of Hafuch, an Israeli variation on the traditional cappuccino, while thumbing through the latest architecture catalogue from the owners’ recent trip to Japan, or find your own new favourite book from among their selective English language collection. Just don’t forget to turn off your mobile phones, as requested by the sign near the entrance; people are trying to read.