ZOA House - Not Just Conferences

I've been going to the Israel Translators Association conferences for over 10 years, and treating the event as a vacation, time off for good behavior. I'm used to signing up for the entire event, including two nights at a pleasant hotel far from home. "Far" being a relative term, of course. To an Israeli living in the country's central region (Gush Dan), a trip to Jerusalem or Haifa, about an hour's drive away, can feel almost as adventurous as a journey to where-the-wild-things-are.
So Hubby and I would arrive on the afternoon of the first day, dump our stuff in the hotel room, and go downstairs to mingle with the Workshop crowd during their coffee break.

This year, several things changed drastically:
No hotel. No faraway city. No sense of adventure. Why? Long story. As a member of the ITA's Audit Committee, all I can say is that the change in format was well thought out, with the idea of reaching out to translators who found the usual hotel-based format too expensive and time-consuming. Most self-employed translators, especially those with families and tight deadlines, can't just escape for two and a half days.

Searching for an alternative wasn't simple. Committee members researched the options, made phone calls, received price quotes, considered everything from travelling time to cakes and ale (okay -- cakes and soft drinks) and everything in-between, and settled on the ZOA House on Ibn Gabirol Street, Tel Aviv. An aside: I am disgusted that their website is in Hebrew only. But have added the link because the pics are pretty and give you an idea of what it's like.

Spoiler alert: Sentimental mush below.

Ah, good old ZOA House! It means so much to me! See, once upon a time I belonged to The Tel Aviv Drama Circle, which then became TACT - Tel Aviv Community Theater. A group of amateur actors, singers, dancers, directors, set designers and what-not. My mother was among the early members, and soon enough so were my father, myself and my kid sister. By the time my firstborn, Daria, was about 7, she, too, got roped in; first in a musical evening; and later in a drama. I won't go into the whole history of this group. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful hobby, and doing musicals was the best. Many of our rehearsals and most of our performances took place at the ZOA House. It was my second home. At the time I lived in Tel Aviv, not far from the Hilton Hotel, and could easily walk to and from rehearsals.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum @ZOA, 1981. Nina as Tintinabula

The Boyfriend @ZOA, 1980. Nina in red Tshirt

In addition, I took various courses at the ZOA House. Leather-work, Esperanto, and god knows what else. Later, when we needed a venue for a family occasion, ZOA was the obvious choice. And in recent years, the ITA has held a few events there. I gave a talk there in July 2014 called How to Work with Translation Agencies.

So in many ways, I was pleased the conference would be taking place there. I feel at home there; it holds sweet memories.
On the other hand, it was a bit of a let-down. Unexciting. Like having the conference at the neighbors' next-door. Hubby and I pass by the building twice weekly, on our way to help out with the grandkids. Skipping grandkids duty for the sake of two days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem feels acceptable; but for spending time across the street (practically) at Good Old ZOA?... [Shrug. Pout. Raised eyebrows.] Oh well. [Acceptance].

The Pyjama Game @ZOA, 1979. Nina standing on the right

My Three Angels, w/Johnny Phillips, 1977