(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
WHAT IS in a name? Something of certain significance if a chef in a Jerusalem restaurant has the surname Yerushalmi. Even more so if the restaurant is called Herbert Samuel, the name of the man who was appointed High Commissioner of Palestine, and thus became the first Jew to rule the country in 2,000 years.
He served as high commissioner from 1920 to 1925, and two years prior to the Balfour Declaration proposed the establishment of a British protectorate in Palestine that would allow Jews fleeing from persecution and oppression to settle in a place that was relatively safe.
Curiously, Herbert Samuel restaurants came to Tel Aviv and Herzliya first; the Jerusalem branch opened for a trial period just this week.
Chef Oren Yerushalmi has worked in high-class restaurants in Israel and New York, most recently at the Scala restaurant in the David Citadel hotel. The Herbert Samuel restaurant, which is kosher, is part of the Adi’s Lifestyle Group, which has long planned to open a dining facility in Jerusalem. The new eatery is located in Zion Square on the 11th floor of the Herbert Samuel Hotel, part of the Orchid Group of hotels owned by the Nakash brothers, who made their initial fortune from Jordache jeans before branching into agriculture, real estate, hotels, shipping and aviation. Entry to the hotel is from 25 Shamai Street. In the initial stage, the restaurant will be open in the evenings only from 6:30 to 11. Eventually it will also be open for lunch with business lunch specials.
THE WOMEN in Green’s annual prayer session and reading of the Book of Lamentations in Independence Park opposite the US Consulate has for many years been an inspiring show of solidarity for people who want to get a real feel for Tisha Be’av. Participants subsequently walk around the walls of the Old City. This year’s activity takes place after sundown on Saturday, August 13.
Given the popularity of Rabbi Binyamin Tzvi (Benny) Lau, many people are also likely to go to the National Park in the City of David, where the reading of Lamentations will be more atmospheric.
The reading takes place at 9:30 p.m., after which there will be a study session with Lau, journalist Gal Gabbay and wellknown lecturer, musician and rabbinical student Hillel Malli.
The study session will be followed by a night tour led by City of David guides through the Temple area. Participants who want to stay longer can join various study circles.
YOU CAN take the man out of Jerusalem, but you can’t take Jerusalem out of the man. Yehoram Gaon, singer, actor, director, producer, TV and radio host, author and public figure is a native son of Jerusalem who for many years now has been living in Ramat Hasharon. He is also a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem who held the cultural affairs and special education portfolios and served for a decade under Ehud Olmert.
Gaon returns to Safra Square on August 18, not in a political capacity, but in one of his professional capacities as a singer during the Jerusalem Klezmer Festival, which is being held August 16 to 22 in a number of venues including Beit Avi Chai, the Israel Museum, Yeshurun Synagogue, Jerusalem Theater, the First Station and the Bible Lands Museum. The only performance free of charge, at the First Station on Sunday, August 21, beginning at 8:30 p.m., will feature a klezmer jam session with local and international musicians.
Additional activities include a stage for “Klezmerim for Kids” where youngsters will be encouraged to try the klezmer instruments, watch a magic show and enjoy storytelling, demonstrations of unusual instruments, plays and more. Musical tours will be given, accompanied by klezmer musicians in cooperation with the JNF. There will also be tours and workshops in the spirit of the Kabbala, klezmer jam sessions that will go on into the small hours and lots of other activities for all the family.
New to the Safed Klezmer Festival will be a production of Sholom Aleichem’s The High School by the Safed Community Theater at 5 p.m. on August 15, 16 and 17. Tickets are NIS 50. From August 23 to 27 there will also be master classes led by some of the world’s greatest klezmer musicians who will not only teach but will join in jam sessions with their students.