In Jerusalem

Letters: Building solutions

Except for a short period of time in the morning when parents drop their kids off at school,the streets in Ma’aleh Adumim have as much activity as a dirt road in Oklahoma.

Letters: Building solutions
BUILDING SOLUTIONS

Your correspondent Sam Sokol seems bewildered (“An unusual settlement fight,” June 22), and I don’t blame him one bit. He came to Ma’aleh Adumim to figure out why a small group, including some American-born residents, are opposing a proposal to replace a series of buildings that have been declared “unsafe” (to put it mildly!) and offer the apartment owners larger, upgraded apartments at no cost to them. It is the only plan that is actually being offered, has the support of the affected apartment owners and might actually happen – if it is approved by the city government. Even before this review process begins, the kvetchers and kibbitzers are out in full force with complaints, some real and many imagined.

Except for a short period of time in the morning when parents drop their kids off at school and the roads become a parking lot (a problem the city needs to address with or without additional housing), the streets here sometimes have as much activity as a dirt road in Oklahoma. So much for “suffering from traffic problems.”

My family lives about 50 meters from the buildings described in the article (in an adjacent development that is in much better condition). Our quality of life would be greatly enhanced if these dilapidated buildings were removed from the face of the earth, and we would welcome with open arms an influx of new residents.

Fred Casden
Ma’aleh Adumim

A NEW ROUTE TO TRANSPORTATION CHANGES

In June 22’s In Jerusalem, there is a listing of the “changes and improvements” to the bus routes (This Week in Jerusalem). On behalf of all the residents in the Talpiot and Arnona neighborhoods, I want to say that we do not consider the changes to the No. 7 bus route as an “improvement.” We now can no longer get to the Mahaneh Yehuda market or to the central bus station with one bus. Instead, we will have to change either to the light rail or to another bus in order to get to these places. That means changing buses on our way to and from the central bus station with suitcases and when traveling home from the market with heavy packages or shopping carts. The inconvenience, plus the time waiting to transfer to another bus or train, will certainly be no “improvement” for us. And instead of the No. 7 ending up at Har Hotzvim, it will end up at the Givat Ram Campus main gate.

Most of us living in Talpiot or Arnona have no need to go to Givat Ram. None of us in this neighborhood who use the bus are looking forward to this new route. Give us back our old route, please!

Hannah Sondhelm
Jerusalem

ON THE WRONG TRACK

I am writing in response to the article “Give passengers some respect” (June 12). I agree completely with Alexander Zvielli that the light rail has been a disaster for many people like myself.

Take as an example the journey from Shaare Zedek Hospital to Givat Ram campus where I swim three times a week. This journey, which used to take 30 minutes and require only one change of public transport, now takes 45 minutes and requires two changes of transport. As a result, when my pool subscription expires I will not renew it.

Shifra Gordon
Jerusalem

Mayor Nir Barkat can no longer complain that he is unhappy with the light railway as he did when he campaigned for office. It is now his problem, having been in office for a number of years.

The mess is appalling. Agrippas Street is only one of the problems.

Why can’t half the buses use Agrippas and the other half use Bezalel Street? These are parallel streets. Half the volume of buses would relieve a great deal of the pressure on both streets.

The need to sometimes take both a train and a bus to get to one’s destination is absolutely farcical. People who are in any way infirm, elderly or with young children have to change from a bus to a train to a bus to get to their destination. Can you picture rain in the winter and umbrellas constantly poking people in the eyes? Getting out and changing is not easy for many people, and taking a bus to the train to the bus again places a great hardship and a security problem. We live in an area that is very often dangerous. There are no visible guards on a train, which you can board in any car, unlike on the bus when you have to pass the scrutiny of the driver.

Mayor Barkat, please start thinking about what you can do to deal with these problems of everyday life. People will be happier and safer when they know you care enough to do something.

Egged should be required to post bus routes at every bus stop and on the buses. People do not know which buses go where, or even how to get to the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) or the bus station. You must ride the buses and the trains to understand the problem and not rely on people who say everything is fine.

Toby Willig
Jerusalem

NO POPULAR SUPPORT

The Reform and Conservative movements have no significant following in Israel because secular Israelis do not see them as authentic (“Achieving religious reform,” June 8). When a secular Israeli needs a religious ceremony, he wants the real thing. The Reform and Conservative movements, after 40 years of trying to make inroads into Israeli society, have failed dismally. The little support they have managed to muster is due to the public’s being fed up with the bureaucracy of the rabbinate, not because they see some substance to these movements.

The constituents of these movements live in America, not here.

In Israel they are not a movement; they are little more than a cult. They want to tell us how to modernize our prayer, but they are not willing to live here to show us how to do it. If we had as big an influx of Conservative Jews coming to live here as we have Sudanese, the religious institutions in this country would have a completely different complexion. Because they haven’t enough support to change public policy by the usual democratic processes, they now have duped the Supreme Court into treating their demand for taxpayer funding as a civil rights issue. Perhaps our taxes should also fund the salaries of Hari Krishna gurus; they have about the same relevance to Israeli life.

American Jews should stop trying to export their failed lifestyle to Israel, where they don’t live and don’t pay taxes. They should worry about their own future, which is a real cause for concern.

Allyn Rothman
French Hill, Jerusalem

We wish to warmly congratulate Rabbi Miri Gold on her achievement of state recognition of Progressive and Conservative Rabbis.

Three years ago, our granddaughter, Eve, came to Israel from Australia to celebrate her bat mitzva, which took place at Kibbutz Gezer with Rabbi Miri conducting the service. It was the most beautiful and meaningful Shabbat service we have ever attended and we cannot begin to describe our feelings of joy and pride at Eve’s recitation of Maftir and the Haftara. Rabbi Miri also organized Friday night accommodations for the rabbi of the Netanya Conservative Synagogue and his wife, personal friends of ours, to enable them to attend the celebration. How we wish that all daughters and granddaughters were able to enjoy the achievement of a bat mitzva in the same way that Eve did, and that all families, like ourselves, members of an Orthodox synagogue, could take pleasure in it.

David and Jackie Altman
Netanya

TAKE THE FOLLOWING STEPS

To my mind, nothing can reduce the quality of life in an otherwise beautiful, comfortable, new, and quite yuppie area of the capital than the growing profusion of fresh, large, steaming piles of doggie chips.

On the basis of the obvious irrelevance to the dog owners of neighbors and the investment the city has made in our area, I believe that these strong steps need be taken immediately to begin to control this plague as the heat of summer rolls in:

1. Increase canine licensing fees astronomically so that the keeping of a pet becomes a financial burden and an extremely expensive luxury.

2. Increase the presence of grounds inspectors with the capacity and motivation to fine owner-violators at meaningful levels.

3. Place and refill as needed doggie doody baggie dispensers throughout the community. Our area was designed for living, enjoyment, walking for health, and the visual pleasure gained from greenery and plantings of various colors, textures, and perfumes (lavender, sage, myrtle, roses and cherries, among many other flowering varieties). Why must all this be ruined by the necessity to plan each footfall, lest it be misplaced?

Dr. Bezalel Schendowich
Ramat Beit Hakerem


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