Will Glettner and his brother have been skateboarding since age three..
(photo credit: EVA GLETTNER)
In the summer, swimming pools can provide lots of fun for kids and families, but this summer in Jerusalem there is a different type of pool making headlines. It’s the skateboarders’ pool (no water involved) at the Skate Park in Liberty Bell Park.
Opened in May 2014 by the City of Jerusalem, the Skate Park is clean and well managed and has therefore become a feature of the Jerusalem parks scene.
This summer, skateboarders as young as five years old are enjoying a special skateboard camp at the park. Led by Lior Pinto and Noam Beer, known as “Jimmy,” the camp teaches children the basics of skateboarding, self-confidence, control, creativity, balance and more complicated tricks for the advanced skaters.
When I went to visit the Skate Park to see the camp in action, two campers stood out from the crowd. Matt and Will Glettner skateboarded past me over the bumps and up on to the ledge. The brothers, aged eight and nine, are visiting Jerusalem from Los Angeles with their parents David and Eva and older brother Josh. Matt and Will have been skateboarding since they were three, so it is one of the first things their mother looks for when she arrives in a new city. She was excited to hear that Jerusalem had its own skate park but wasn’t sure what to expect. When they arrived for the first time and saw that the park included a pool, rails, banks, stairs, ledges and manual pads, she knew her boys would be really happy.
It was an extra bonus for her to meet Pinto at the park and hear about the option for her boys to join the skateboard camp for the week. The boys quickly fit in and found a warm and friendly environment that was open to English-speaking tourists joining in the fun. While her sons skated and learned new tricks, Eva, her husband and older son enjoyed some of Jerusalem’s well-known museums.
I asked Eva what she thought of the Jerusalem Skate Park and she said, “To say that it exceeded my expectations would be fairly accurate. We were all blown away. It’s unbelievable in terms of its offerings for both vert and street skaters. Plus the skate community in Jerusalem is so accepting.
What mensches. Lior and Jimmy took my boys under their wings and made them feel really welcome. What a crazy, amazing experience.”
Pinto and Beer, both Jerusalemites, have been skating for more than 15 years. Originally inspired by the Dolores Park in San Francisco, they came back to Israel after their post-army trip and established the first Israeli skating magazine, Dolores. Today, they report on the skateboard scene in Israel and run camps, afternoon activities and competitions in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Although Jerusalem has hosted skating competitions before, the majority of the national competitions take place in Tel Aviv in the Galit Skate Park in Yad Eliyahu. After I learned about the skaters’ scene in Jerusalem from Pinto, he made sure to tell me that for “skaters in Jerusalem, the future looks good.”
So bring your child to the Skate Park during the summer or on a Wednesday afternoon during the school year from 5 to 6:30 for a skating workshop with Pinto and Beer. Give it a try once or sign up for a month.
Skate Park: Liberty Bell Park (across from the First Station) Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (illuminated at night).
For skate supplies, they recommend Gili’s Skateshop at 24 Ben-Sira Street.
Skate Camp: Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. NIS 800. July 19 to 23; August 9 to 13.
The camp is open to boys and girls and skaters of all levels.
The writer is the founder and FUN Expert at Fun In Jerusalem (www.funinjerusalem.com). She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three kids and loves to inspire family fun. You can reach her at joanna@ funinjerusalem.com.
Looking for special summer events and activities? The Summer Family Guide (www.funinjerusalem.com/summer), created by Fun In Jerusalem for Jerusalem Post readers, is available online.