Matkot Part 2: The Museum

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The sign reads welcome to the Hall of Matkot

After my excursion to Ting-Dong Dagan, where Matkot paddles are made, I ventured up the road to Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv, to visit the Museum of Matkot.  Located in the second story apartment of Amnon Nissim, the apartment/museum is a shrine to all things matkot (and it turns, out, music and cats, too). A small man with a soft raspy voice excitedly greeted me and proudly walked me into his expansive apartment.  Two large rooms with towering ceilings were covered with matkot paddles, matkot trinkets, matkot shirts, matkot trophies (how, I asked if there’s no winner? These were just gifts, I was told) and non-usable artistic matkot paddles (marble, crochet, painted with landscapes, Elvis’ face, glued on seashells, etc), and matkot gifts from fans around the globe.  I also received a history lesson on matkot paddles and walked through an informal timeline of the development of matkot paddles’ designs, from heavy wood to today’s carbon.

The end of the table holds the marble matkot piece.

The end of the table holds the marble matkot piece.

Amnon is also a lover of music and the third large room in his house is devoted to all things music. He is a fan of Elvis, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra and has a wall of vinyls and CDs along with everything from a CD player to a record player to a very large 2 reel tape machine (not even sure what this is called). Where the walls don’t have matkot stuff, there are paintings of water scenes, often in neon shades.  There are also certificates, pictures with politicians (ranging the political spectrum from Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai to Avigdor Lieberman) and large pictures of cats. It turns out the massive cat photos posted on a door lead to a room where Amnon keeps cats. He also cares for outdoor cats but this are his indoor cats.

Amnon

Amnon

Amnon in the music room.

Amnon in the music room.

Amnon, whose family was from Yemen, was born and raised in the apartment (as explained on a massive matkot paddle nailed to the wall). When Amnon is not tending to his apartment/museum he spends his time playing matkot at Gordon beach.  As Amnon walked down to the street, the Frank Sinatra music from his apartment echoed in the street. He showed me his 8 chairs on the street corners (half of them are at a corner across from his apartment, above a multi-million dollar penthouse under construction) and introduced me to the street cats that he cares for as well. Smiling, he waved me off and encouraged me to visit him at Gordon Beach.

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11 thoughts on “Matkot Part 2: The Museum

    • I went to Amnon Nissims apartment and I was terrified by how he kept six cats, one eleven and the rest eight years old, in one smal room. The cats have never been outside of that room. He showers them in a bathtub, connected to that same room.
      I recommend everyone to visit the museum, and to try convincing this man to let the cats out into the garden.

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  1. Love this description of a completely unique person and place. It is fun and wonderful to read about people who are living a more unusual life than most. It is great that you could find this person and for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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