A cafe in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The past few weeks in Jerusalem have been a real challenge for families who live here and visiting tourists. With the current wave of terrorism, many people aren’t sure if they should continue their regular routines or stay at home and wait for the situation to calm down.
The Jerusalem Foundation has taken a proactive role in ensuring the capital’s cultural institutions and community centers are running as usual and providing special activities for residents in a secure environment – working together with the municipality to create the Jerusalem Emergency Campaign, which is funding special opening hours and subsidized activities for city residents.
I spoke with Jerusalem Foundation president Yohanna Arbib-Perugia to learn more about the campaign and how it will affect the city.
The campaign’s goal is to allow residents to live normal lives and prevent this wave of terrorism from influencing the economy, tourism and everyday routines. According to Arbib-Perugia, “It is important to show the world that Jerusalem residents are resilient and won’t surrender to the terrorism intended to attack our city.”
Spending hundreds of thousands of shekels, the Jerusalem Foundation will fund tension- abating programs for young families, subsidize cultural events with security and increase educational and psychological services in the neighborhoods.
Last week there were special programs at the Tower of David, the Bloomfield Science Museum and even special opening hours at Ein Yael.
For locals living on the seam, there have been children’s plays, arts & crafts and storytelling activities at the local community centers (in areas like Pisgat Ze’ev, Neveh Ya’acov and East Talpiot). While the kids are enjoying the activities, the parents are advised by psychologists and professionals on how to cope with the situation, providing residents with a place to both entertain their kids and support one another at the same time.
Foundation activities shape modern Jerusalem by providing opportunities for all Holy City residents – secular and religious, Jewish, Christian and Arab. Its programs include projects related to sports, culture and parks in west and east Jerusalem.
“At this difficult time for Jerusalem, our hearts go out to the families of those killed, and we pray for the wounded,” stated Arbib-Perugia. “Our forefathers taught us that ‘Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh’ [All of Israel is responsible for one another], and we firmly believe that community empowerment and solidarity help lighten the burden of the current reality.”
So how can you support the capital? Come to Jerusalem. Enjoy the cultural institutions, restaurants and attractions.
This is the time to show your family and the world that Jerusalem plays a major role in our lives, and that it is a city of unity and hope.
For more information about activities funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, visit www.jerusalemfoundation.org The writer is founder of Fun In Jerusalem (www.funinjerusalem.com). She lives in the capital with her husband and three kids and loves to inspire family fun. joanna@ funinjerusalem.com