Grapevine: Sweet nostalgia

THE REVAMPING of Zion Square will include a smaller square to be named for Shira Banki, the 16-year-old who was stabbed to death during the Gay Pride march in Jerusalem last summer.

February 17, 2016 12:33
3 minute read.
AN IMAGE of Zion Square circa 1939.

AN IMAGE of Zion Square circa 1939. . (photo credit: COURTESY JERUSALEM MUNICIPALITY)


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■ SHENKAR COLLEGE of Engineering and Design president Yuli Tamir is going to be busy running from campus to campus next week during the annual Shenkar Bustle Week, in which some 600 Shenkar students will participate in a multidisciplinary festival of creativity and renewal in which they will be showing new items made from old and will introduce new designs in clothing, accessories and home wares. The festival is open from February 21 to 24.

■ PEOPLE BORN when the State of Israel was already a flourishing reality cannot for the most part imagine what the country was like in the pre-state era. There are documentary films in the state and Zionist archives as well as in the Steven Spielberg Archives and those of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, but it’s rare for people other than researchers and historians to be interested in them.

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The Nostalgia website, which takes surfers back in time to long before the establishment of the state, has among its recent offerings a label from a bottle of red table wine from the Richon le Zion Palestine winery. The French spelling is in deference to the French branch of the Rothschild family, to which Israel’s wine industry will forever be indebted. The wine was produced by the Société Carmel Oriental, the fledgling winery built in 1892 in Zichron Ya’acov by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in memory of Baron James Jacob de Rothschild. Today Carmel has state-of-the-art facilities for wine-making, and its wines these days are not labeled “Palestine.”

Aside from the Nostalgia website, which incidentally also features an old-fashioned radio that plays only Hebrew songs from the pre-state era, which would undoubtedly warm the cockles of the heart of Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, anyone interested in a more detailed yet varied picture of life in the old Yishuv can take advantage of modern technology which helps to bring the past to the present and is also a means of jogging the memories of those who are old enough to remember a pre-state yesteryear.

Toward this end, Tel Aviv University, in conjunction with the National Library, is engaged in a project called the Historical Jewish Press, which aims to scan, digitalize and transfer to the Web all Jewish newspapers and magazines, from the first such publications some 160 years ago to those of the present day.

The first Hebrew newspaper published in the Land of Israel was Halevanon, the introductory edition of which came out on February 20, 1863.

■ THE REVAMPING of Zion Square will include a smaller square to be named for Shira Banki, the 16-year-old who was stabbed to death during the Gay Pride march in Jerusalem last summer. Though heterosexual, Banki was among the marchers as a demonstration of her acceptance of the other. The square is to be called the Shira Banki Square for tolerance and mutual respect.

When Shira’s parents, Uri and Mika Banki, learned of the projected redesign of Zion Square from an article in Yediot Aharonot about a design contest for the area, they contacted the municipality to ask if provision could made to honor her memory, because Zion Square was where so many of her peer generation gathered after her death to remember her and to advocate for a more tolerant and understanding society. It goes without saying that their request met with a positive response.

Meanwhile, Matan HaSharon, the offshoot of the Jerusalembased Matan seminary founded by Malke Bina to make Jewish studies at their highest levels available to women, last Sunday initiated a four-session lecture series on Jewish attitudes to the other in our times.

On Sunday, February 21, the lecture by Rabbi Ronen Lovitz, with an introduction by Rabbanit Oshra Koren, who was among the first graduates of Matan Jerusalem and the founding director of Matan HaSharon, will be on attitudes to the LGBT community. The lecture will begin at 8.30 p.m. and will be held at Matan HaSharon, 4 Hapalmah Street, Ra’anana.

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