Grapevine: A women’s Hallel service

There was also an international pianist and composer, but unlike the other instrumentalists, she did not bring a keyboard with her, merely joining in the singing.

Nir Barkat celebrates election victory 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Nir Barkat celebrates election victory 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
ART TEACHER Maureen Kushner, who every Rosh Hodesh celebrates by having a women’s Hallel service on the rooftop balcony of her apartment in Mahaneh Yehuda, was thrilled that among the 20-plus women who showed up last Friday morning were singer Rachel Rubin, a violinist, a harpist, a clarinetist and a guitarist.
There was also an international pianist and composer, but unlike the other instrumentalists, she did not bring a keyboard with her, merely joining in the singing.
Kushner likes to live her Judaism in as meaningful a way as possible.
When the Bible reading is about the life of Sarah the Matriarch, Kushner goes to Hebron. Almost every year on 7 Adar, which is the anniversary of the death of Moses, she goes to Mount Nebo in Jordan and takes with her earth and stones from Israel. No one knows where Moses is buried, but because he was unable to enter the Promised Land, Kushner tries to compensate him by bringing earth and stones – which she scatters over different parts of Nebo, in the hope that something she has brought from Israel will make its way to his grave.
AFTER SEVERAL delays, there may or may not be two major openings in Jerusalem this month. One is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which already has furniture still in its wrappings installed in the huge, luxurious ground-floor lobby clearly visible from the street. As yet, there are no drapes on the windows, and hopefully there won’t be – because even with no one inside, it’s great looking in from the street and promises to be more so when the hotel is finally open and occupied.
The other grand opening, if it takes place, will be that of Cinema City, which is in the final stages of completion. It’s rather interesting to see that after all the movie theaters that used to be in the center of town closed down, there will soon be a glut of options for movie buffs. (The Malha Mall Cinema Bank closed down, and its operations were transferred to the Jerusalem International Convention Center; whether films will still be screened there after the opening of Cinema City remains to be seen.) Meanwhile, following an eightyear battle with residents of Abu Tor, who objected to the construction of a cultural center at the Naomi Street- Hebron Road intersection, a jubilant Uzi Wexler, who heads the Sherover Foundation, can complete the project for which preliminary plans were approved by the city planning authorities as far back as 2005.
During Gita Sherover’s lifetime, the property on which the project is being constructed housed a gourmet restaurant. Sherover had wanted to build a boutique hotel there, but Wexler was not in favor of the idea. Following her death nine and a half years ago, Wexler – who in a previous capacity at the Jerusalem Municipality had been responsible for putting up the National Precinct, which houses several government ministries – decided instead to build what he calls a cultural center.
The project will include 12 movie theaters, plus four multipurpose halls, art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants.
Neighbors in the immediate vicinity objected because they believed the traffic flow would disrupt the tranquility of the area. The nextdoor neighbors, who are religiously observant, were even more upset because the center will be open on Shabbat. In addition, some of the infrastructural work already done on the project has caused damage to the neighbors’ property. However, the Jerusalem District Court recently rejected all the objections and gave Wexler the green light to go ahead.
Cinema City will have 15 movie theaters plus a museum dedicated to Israeli cinema, art galleries and coffee shops. Once Cinema City and the Sherover project are completed, Jerusalemites and visitors to the capital will have more than 40 options at their disposal when they want to go to the movies.
IF HE wants to run for a third term in office, Mayor Nir Barkat may have a more formidable rival than before – if Moshe Lion decides to run again.
Barkat’s campaign people in last year’s election attempted to turn voters against Lion, an accountant from Givatayim, on the grounds that he was not a Jerusalemite. Lion rented an apartment on the capital’s Keren Hayesod Street and said that, win or lose, he would remain in Jerusalem. After he lost the election, there was extensive speculation that he would not take his seat on the city council – but he did.
Not only that, he didn’t always go back to Givatayim for Shabbat. On several weekends, he stayed in Jerusalem, went to synagogue and greeted people with “Shabbat shalom” on the way back to his apartment.
Now, according to a report in Yediot Yerushalayim, he’s bought an apartment on Ramban Street. If he is again nominated by a right-wing party, Barkat will have to look to his laurels because the argument that Lion, who was previously chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority, is not a Jerusalemite will no longer hold water.
It should be remembered that Barkat also failed the first time that he ran for office but had ample time in which to learn the ropes while sitting on the city council. The next time, he did win – and the same story could easily apply to Lion.