Allenby and Mograbi

Cinema Mograbi was founded in 1930 by Yaakov Mograbi, an affluent Jewish merchant who immigrated to Palestine from Damascus. He accepted the proposal of Meir Dizengoff, the then Tel Aviv mayor, to build a new opera house in Tel Aviv. The building housed two large halls: on the upper floor a cinema with a sliding roof which could be opened in the hot summer days, and a performance hall which was the venue of the first Hebrew theaters among them Hamatateh, HaOhel, Habima, and the Cameri. In the 1970s the lower-floor halls were also converted into a cinema (Studio). On June 17th 1986 a fire broke out in the building which resulted in irreversible damage, leading to the building's demolishment in 1989.

Cinema Allenby was designed by Shlomo Gepstein (1882-1961), architect and journalist, born in Odessa. He immigrated to Palestine in the mid-1920s. Cinema Allenby operated from 1935 and well suited the life of Tel Aviv's residents. In the 1980s the building was abandoned as part of the move of cinemas to large shopping malls, and for a short while screened x-rated films.

One of the sons of the owners of the cinema saved some 200 photographs that were taken largely by Ephraim Erde (1905-1986), among them the facades of the two cinemas, and in their center -posters of the films screened. The exhibition, which comprises the best preserved photographs, is a tribute to the memory of the two cinemas, granting spectators the ability to stand for a fleeting moment on the steps of the cinemas and envisage their walking into the hall to view the movie stars and films of the period.

Curator: Guy Raz
Closes: February 28, 2016
Photographs: Efraim Erde