“The religious community hasn’t raised the right flag so far” was
the consensus after a long day of debates and lectures organized by Kol Israel
Haverim at Yad Harav Nissim last week.
More than 100 rabbis, all of whom
describe themselves as Zionists, presented their views and positions on the
current social problems facing Israeli society. They ultimately concluded that
only a joint effort, one that dealt with the most pressing social issues through
a genuine Jewish approach, could offer a viable solution to the problems. A
stronger emphasis must be placed on social issues and bringing rabbis back to
these aspects of Jewish life – and the sooner the better – agreed the
participants, concurring that social justice must be the dominant aspect of a
true Jewish state.
Flying down to Rio
Jerusalem Foundation president Mark
Sofer, accompanied by Adina Bar-Shalom, founder and head of the Haredi College
of Jerusalem, flew to Brazil this week to try to raise the necessary funds to
build a campus for the college.
Before taking off from Ben-Gurion
Airport, Sofer met Bar-Shalom’s father, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who gave him a
blessing for the endeavor.
According to the Council for Higher Education,
the Haredi College will offer higher education to some 4,500 haredi young men
and women in various disciplinary fields of technology, sciences and social
The Haredi College was founded by Bar- Shalom 12 years ago with
the blessing of her father to provide a solution for young haredim who wanted to
get an education and join the workforce without having to compromise their level
of religious observance or study in a non-haredi environment.
In and out
at Beit Avi Chai
David Rosensohn has been chosen to replace Danny Danieli as
director of the Beit Avi Chai cultural center. Danieli submitted his resignation
after six years of intensive work following the launching of the center that has
created a tremendous change in the city’s cultural atmosphere.
years, Rosensohn established and headed all the activities of the Avi Chai
Foundation (founded in 1984) in Russia, a position that the board of the
foundation regarded as significant enough to prepare him for this new
Rosensohn, 41, married and the father of six, has a master’s degree
in Russian literature and is currently writing his PhD thesis on Jewish Russian
author Isaac Babel.
Jerusalem – it’s academic Beit Hahalutzot (literally
“the house of the women pioneers”), part of the Yad Ben-Zvi compound in Rehavia,
has undergone extensive renovations and will be inaugurated this week. The
refurbished building, which is classified as a historical site, will house Yad
Ben-Zvi’s prestigious new project – the International School for Jerusalem
The renovation process included meticulously restoring the
beautiful building, which had served as a hostel for young pioneer women who
came to Israel to be part of the Zionist ethos.
The work was planned and
executed by architect Ada Karmi-Melamede, an Israel Prize laureate for
The International School for Jerusalem Studies, the first
of its kind, will offer high-level courses in every area connected with the
history of this city, from the ancient past to modern times.
New park in
the Old City
As of this week, the Muslim Quarter in the Old City is home to the
first ecological garden in the city, thanks to support from the Jerusalem
Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Development
The NIS 1.5 million garden, which grows vegetables, spices and
beautiful fruit trees, with benches nestled among them, is operated by the Abna
Al Quds Community Council. On the other side of the garden, a children’s
playground has been installed.
The Jerusalem Foundation has secured
funding for various programs, such as the employment of counselors who will work
with handicapped children and the elderly through gardening and environmental
The garden was inaugurated earlier this week in the presence of
Mayor Nir Barkat and Mark Sofer, who is president of the Jerusalem Foundation
and Israel’s ambassador to India.
“This is a place of opportunity, a
tranquil natural setting for residents of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. For the
first time in perhaps hundreds of years, butterflies can be seen here, thanks to
this garden,” said Nadim Sheiban, director of projects at the Jerusalem
With respect to Rachel
Thinking about paying a visit to
Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem for her memorial day but afraid of the tremendous
number of visitors and the lack of sufficient security? Fear no more.
least, according to the members of the Knesset committee that has assumed the
task of improving the conditions.
Following a visit to the site by the
committee members last week, some important decisions were made in regard to
preparations for the matriarch’s memorial day (11 Heshvan, which this year will
be observed on Sunday October 28).
Transportation will be provided at a
low fare but very high frequency, with buses shuttling some 120,000 visitors to
and from Rachel’s Tomb. And additional fees will no longer be required at the
entrance to the site.
There is one issue, however, that has not yet been
agreed upon – which of the two major medical organizations will have the right
to handle any illness or accident that might arise – Magen David Adom or United
Hatzalah. The committee has decided to ask for a tender and will choose the one
that offers the lower price.