This page was created by Zoë Wilkinson Saldaña.  The last update was by Isabella Buzynski.


Café Ambarzaki


According to the memoir of his friend Israel Trivus, one of Odessa’s Zionists, Jabotinsky said that in the Greek Café Ambarzaki, “there is an aroma of Asia, . . . but it creates an ambiance that takes you up to the sky, where there is no limit to your thought and imagination.”

Playing on the Greek name of the café, Jabotinsky claimed that when he got to know this “lofty institution” well enough, he finally understood “the ancient Olympus, where one could enjoy ambrosia and nectar,” and that “God’s nectar is really a fragrant cup of Turkish-style coffee, and ambrosia is rahat lokum [Turkish delight] and halva.” However, it was not just the divine food and drink that Jabotinsky was attracted to but the conversation with the Greek owner of the café. He was enthralled with the visitors’ talk, which, according to Trivus, revolved around Greek and Jewish national movements and the emerging Zionist movement, as well as around the glories of Odessa, Pushkin’s poems (which Jabotinsky recited from memory), the city, and its cafés.

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