Grapevine: Cultural soul of the city

“Culture in Jerusalem is not simply leisure – it is the soul of the city,” says Jerusalem Foundation president Shai Doron.

January 2, 2019 17:25
3 minute read.
Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra

Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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■ THE JERUSALEM Foundation announced last week that in addition to its funding of ongoing projects, more than NIS 3 million will be distributed to 39 arts and culture projects in 2019, thanks to the generous support of the Jerusalem Foundation, Inc. (USA) as well as supporters from Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and elsewhere who are long-standing funders of culture in the capital. Some of the funding will come from interest on endowment funds.

More than 140 applications were received from 70 arts and culture institutions in the city during the foundation’s open grant period. The 39 grantees represent the mosaic of Jerusalem, with events for Jews and Arabs in east and west Jerusalem, support for ultra-Orthodox and Arab artists, and with diverse multidisciplinary offerings in dance, music, performance art, festivals and much more.
The list includes: Hulgab Festival, celebrating Ethiopian-Israeli culture and the uniqueness of the Amharic spoken word; Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, in partnership with an Armenian church; Children’s Festival at the Khan Theater, with emphasis on the haredi population; “My Name is Red,” Jerusalem Print Workshop, combining Jewish and Muslim artistic traditions; Herod’s Tavern at the Tower of David, bringing the history of the Old City alive through music, culinary arts and theater; Piano Festival, focusing on women composers who received very little recognition; “Returning Spirit to the Garden,” transforming the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens into a hub of poetry and song; “Words,” a masterclass by Mikro Theater that forges a conversation between contemporary theater and history on archaeological digs; “Underground,” a New Spirit production of multidisciplinary culture that includes interaction with the audience; The Yellow Submarine Incubator for musicians starting their career, which increases their skill set and exposure; Artists’ House 7th Biennale for Sketch Artists, for cutting-edge print works at a wide array of Jerusalem galleries and museums; Israel Festival/Mishmeret Layla (Night Shift), inviting artists to create works that are performed throughout the Jerusalem Theater; Writers Festival, a first-time collaboration with the Jerusalem International Book Fair to create a new type of literary festival with events outside of Mishkenot; HaMiffal, From Open to Creation, assisting artists in creation of projects, and career guidance to help them establish themselves in the city; Design Week, in Hansen House, which brings young artists of different mediums for a week of events and exhibits at different places throughout the city; Museum of Islam, International Tolerance Day, a series of events that brings together different segments of Jerusalem’s population; Body/Dance/Place, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance students working together with choreographers to produce a fascinating festival in interesting spaces; Cultural Events in east Jerusalem, a series of arts and culture events at public gardens and local theaters in east Jerusalem focused on Muslim holidays; and more.

“Culture in Jerusalem is not simply leisure – it is the soul of the city,” says Jerusalem Foundation president Shai Doron.

■ IT’S JUST as well that the Jerusalem Foundation is around to pick up the tab on the funding of events that the municipality, under the leadership of Mayor Moshe Lion, is no longer prepared to support. Lion has made it clear that in order not offend the sensitivities of the public, the municipality will no longer support the outdoor festivals and other outdoor events that had been encouraged under the administration of Nir Barkat, who is currently campaigning in the Likud primaries.

■ ON MONDAY of this week ministers, rabbis, members of the Jerusalem City Council, including Mayor Lion and residents of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, came together to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue which was destroyed by Jordanian Legionnaires 70 years ago.

Among those present were Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin; Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman; Moti Rinkov, chairman of the board of directors of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, and other members of the board.

The synagogue, built in the 1860s, was destroyed in 1948 when the Old City fell into Jordanian hands.

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