This week in Jerusalem

Guided Russian tours at Yad Vashem; new system to filter and purify water to be used in Jerusalem mikvaot; Place for Poetry project moves to the Musrara Photography School.

Yad Vashem (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yad Vashem
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Pure savings A new system to filter and purify the water used in Jerusalem mikvaot, capable of saving more than 100,000 cubic meters per year, will soon be installed. The Moriah municipal company will soon begin work at the mikve in Pisgat Ze’ev. If the first device proves to be effective, the system will be implemented in the 35 ritual baths throughout the city. It is estimated that the device will save the city NIS 1 million a year. It will be operated according to the strictest requirements of rabbinic law. As ritual baths are known to consume a lot of water, this device should help alleviate users’ guilt about water consumption.
And another good deed The Jewish National Fund and Mekorot (the national water company) are making a combined effort to bring the color green back to the President’s Forest (one of the forests planted near Jerusalem by the JNF). Due to work that Mekorot had done in the forest, rare species of plants were uprooted, replanted for preservation elsewhere, and then replanted in their natural soil this week after the work had been completed. Mekorot and the JNF hope to inspire other companies to adopt the same healthy, green attitude.
New place for poetry Following major changes on the local neighborhood council and in the Lev Ha’ir Community Center, due to financial difficulties the Place for Poetry project, born and nurtured there for the past six years, is moving to the Musrara Photography School. “Although photography and poetry are different arts, art is still art,” explained Dr. Gilad Meiri, founder and co-director of the poetry group. Last week, the group hosted an evening at Café Avram in the Clal Center to launch the group’s third poetry review. “It is not adieu, since we are staying in Jerusalem,” said Meiri at the end of the poetry reading evening, “but it is certainly the end and the beginning of something.” What will happen to the popular One Square Meter poetry festival, which took place at Lev Ha’ir every summer, remains unclear.

Yad Vashem in Russian
Guided tours in Russian of the museum at Yad Vashem have attracted hundreds of new and not so new olim from the former Soviet Union, thanks to a generous grant from the Genesis Foundation, created by a Jewish Russian philanthropist. These immigrants prefer to hear about this dark period in their mother tongue, even if they speak fluent Hebrew.
“It is hard to face both the heavy story of the Holocaust and the use of a language we sometimes do not completely master,” explained a 17-year-old student from Holon. “I speak Hebrew with my friends and have no difficulty, but for this I felt I needed Russian. I don’t know why exactly,” he said.
The Yad Vashem tours are part of a three-month course offered to any Israeli from the FSU who wants to learn more about the Holocaust. The first course started in December and will end on February 20. The organizers are already planning the next one, which will take place in the spring.

Warming their hearths
As of next week, many Jerusalem seniors will receive a special grant of NIS 400 to pay for heating costs. Through a special donation from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and with the collaboration of the municipality’s welfare department, 4,000 volunteers will distribute the money – a total of NIS 7 million – on February 16 to 16,000 needy residents so that no elderly person who can’t afford to pay for heat will remain in a cold apartment. Among the volunteers will be the soccer players of the Beitar Jerusalem team