Eli Birnbaum reports, “Layla Lavan (“White Night” in Hebrew) is a time for all of Tel Aviv to be awake and out and about all night, celebrating the beauty and artistry of our city. The only problem is, compared to the upscale city center, our little neighborhood doesn’t get much traffic. Still we prepared for our second annual Layla Lavan event.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already since the first time we did an art show at the Rosen Center, (also for Layla Lavan). It was great to have so much help once again with Massah being here. One team baked hundreds of chocolate chip cookies and made lots of lemonade. Another team set up the whole patio as an interactive art set, with empty canvases, paint and our famous ‘thank you’ wall.

“As with any event, you really never know if anyone will show up. That being said, our doors opened at 9 pm, and slowly we began welcoming people in, some familiar faces, and some new people. One of our newest neighbors is an immigrant from Columbia; she got to meet Spanish speakers from our team (including my wife). She stayed for an hour and said it was a blessing to her that we have a place that she, too, can enjoy.

“Any give moment I looked around the room and could see people in conversation, or taking a photo with our ‘We love Florentin sign’ or sitting at the art table to paint, enjoy a cup of coffee and talk about Jesus.

“Altogether, 137 people show up; of them 100 do not yet know Jesus.

“Included were three photographers who were ecstatic that someone would want to show their photos. A painter who exhibited at a gallery we hosted in November came and gave us a painting to use; please pray for this woman as we have had many conversations with her about our faith. Another young woman who I met doing some sketches on the street showed up—and brought lots of friends.

“Isaiah and Frida from our team also showed some art, as well as staff members Melissa Moskowitz, David Minsky and our believing street artist friend.

“It was a joyous event; the whole team really came together in our various roles as welcoming crew, baristas, photographers, etc. It was lots of fun and we were open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.”