Teddy: The man who transformed the city

Jerusalem may not have a beach, but cooling off in water is one of the favorite local pastimes. So where do tourists and locals find a place to cool off?

August 31, 2015 13:17
2 minute read.
Teddy Park’s fountain water show

Cooling off in Teddy Park’s fountain water show. (photo credit: FUN IN JERUSALEM)


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Jerusalem may not have a beach, but cooling off in water is one of the favorite local pastimes. So where do tourists and locals find a place to cool off? At Teddy Park in the Sylvia Hassenfeld Family Fountain.

The beautifully landscaped gardens named after the Mitchell family has grass, benches, water features and the Model Family Sundial. Situated across the street from Jaffa Gate and Mamilla facing the Old City walls, this gated park is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer. It is a unique location in Jerusalem because it attracts diverse families from the ultra-Orthodox to the secular, Arabs, Christians and Jews.

Built by the Jerusalem Foundation in honor of Teddy Kollek, this park brings to life his dream to see the city’s diverse populations coming together to enjoy Jerusalem and have some fun. Most people don’t know that hidden away in the building adjacent to Hutzot Hayotzer is a little gem that expands on this vision.

The Kenneth and Ann Bialkin Visitors’ Center is a small air-conditioned room with an eight-minute hologram movie about Teddy Kollek and the Jerusalem Foundation. Visitors enter for free and are given the choice to see the movie in English or Hebrew. The film tells the story of the man who established the Jerusalem Foundation and was Jerusalem’s illustrious mayor for 28 years.

When the 3D presentation ends, one can take a walk around the room to see some of Kollek’s special mementos, such as archeological findings, some of his books, and pictures of him throughout the years with famous people who visited Jerusalem.

After seeing the movie, I realized that most of the places I call “Fun In Jerusalem” were founded by Teddy Kollek and the Jerusalem Foundation. The list includes the Israel Museum, the Tower of David, the Bloomfield Science Museum, the Tisch Biblical Zoo, Teddy Stadium, the Cinematheque and Ein Yael, as well as more than 200 local parks that residents can enjoy with their kids. Not to mention festivals and events that we all enjoy, including the Hutzot Hayotzer Artists Fair and the International Puppet Festival.

Next time you are walking to the Old City or Mamilla, stop in to see the video, and you will gain a greater understanding of the history of modern-day Jerusalem.

Teddy Kollek’s vision was to bring Jerusalem into the modern era by building the cultural institutions of the city. He was a man of action. Now I know why they called him the greatest builder in the city of Jerusalem since King Herod.

Hours Visitors center, operated by the Tower of David Saturday-Thursday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Fridays.

Fountain water shows Water only 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Show with music and lights 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.

For the most up-to-date information about the water shows, visit www.facebook.com/teddyparkjerusalem • The writer is 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; 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.

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