This week in Jerusalem 328382

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef funeral 370 (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef funeral 370
(photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)
Farewell, Ovadia Yosef
On Monday, an estimated 800,000 people, not all of them haredim or Shas members, flooded the streets of Jerusalem to attend the funeral of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who died earlier that day. As a result, the fair set to take place on Emek Refaim Street was canceled. Both mayoral candidates, Mayor Nir Barkat and challenger Moshe Lion, also canceled their planned events and published condolence messages for the Yosef family.
The Ginot Ha’ir Community Council announced Tuesday that the event it had originally planned for Monday, the day of the funeral, will take place next Monday, October 14, at the same time – between 5:30 and 11 p.m. – with arts and crafts stands, culinary, music and street theater performances, and information stands on neighborhood activities scheduled for the coming months. There will also be information on the Yeru-Shalem project and its flagship initiative, the Oneg Shabbat series of leisure-time and cultural events open to all.
Working hard
The Cinema City saga is far from reaching its end. Last week, the Hitorerut movement – which is running for city council – submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice asking the court to move up the date set for the hearing on the matter, which, for now, is scheduled for after the elections. The hearing is about Hitorerut’s request to order the mayor to keep the Cinema City open on Shabbat.
But now it appears that Cinema City itself may not be particularly cooperative with Hitorerut. In advertising for employees to work at the movie complex, candidates for the positions of ushers are clearly requested to work on Friday mornings and Saturday nights, but there is no mention of working on Shabbat. Barkat’s official position until now has been to respect the status quo and the original conditions set by the Finance Ministry (which is partially funding the project), mandating that the Cinema City must close on Shabbat.
A happy ending?
The Jerusalem Cinematheque is facing its most serious threat to date. With the cinema over NIS 10 million in debt, with three different directors over the past two years, many employees – some of them working there for many years – fear they might be dismissed for lack of funds. The cinematheque is one of the city’s flagship cultural projects, but despite generous donations and public support, it is failing to balance its budget.
The last blow was the decision of former director Alesia Weston, who was specially brought in from England about a year ago to save the place, to quit after less than a year. The newly appointed director, Noa Regev, was appointed by the board (which includes representatives of the Jerusalem Foundation, the main sponsor of the cinematheque) – a decision that has raised many hopes. But the atmosphere among the staff, which has attempted to organize into a union and has not been in favor of this direction, is more than gloomy.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Foundation has granted the institution an additional NIS 6m., but has emphasized that the cinematheque has to prove its capacity to raise more money in order to continue to function.
Riding for Alyn
The 14th bicycle ride to raise funds for Alyn Orthopedic Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Wheels of Love, will take place from October 27 to 31 with the participation of hundreds of riders from all over the country. All are raising money for the hospital, considered one of the most advanced in caring for disabled children and youth. The funds will be used to cover the gap between existing budgets and the real cost of the special care and surgeries Alyn provides. So far, a sum of NIS 4.5 million has already been raised, with the aim of reaching at least NIS 8.5 million this year.
The journey will kick off on October 27 at Michmoret, and end on the 31st in Jerusalem, at the hospital, with a meeting between the cyclists and some hospitalized children. Among this year’s riders are people from the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, England, Canada, Mexico, the US, Australia, and Cuba. More information is available at
Art project
Not only is autumn here, but so is the season of exhibitions and openings. Manofim annually presents a program of exhibitions in cultural institutions throughout the city. Over the last five years, it has been a major event in the capital, for both residents and visiting lovers of culture and the arts, providing an opportunity to see the next season’s works; all events are free of charge and open to the public. Its sixth event will take place from October 17 to 24, with 250 artists, 30 exhibition openings and dozens of cultural events filling up this special week.
Lee Shulov and Rinat Edelstein are behind the initiative to create a high-end cultural event accessible for all. The project has the support of the municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Culture and Sport Ministry and additional foundations, including from abroad. Manofim not only displays works of art, but enables the public to meet local artists and appreciate the artistic work being done in the city. Special free shuttles will bring the public from one gallery to another, some of them accompanied by actors and performers. Among the performers participating will be students from the Nissan Nativ School of Acting, who will be doing a series of improvisations.
Employment remedy
The pharmaceutical enterprise Teva will be enlarging its presence in the city, a step that will ensure the employment of hundreds of people. The project was officially announced this past Sunday, when Mayor Nir Barkat visited city company headquarters, hosted by Teva CEO Jeremy Levin. At present, Teva has two Jerusalem centers, which currently employ 700 researchers, scientists and other staff in one location and 1,100 in the second. Teva enjoys special services as part of the municipal leadership plan to increase job opportunities for the city’s younger generation.
Young and concerned
No fewer than 16 local parties founded and led by young adults across the country met earlier this week, to raise the specific problems of this generation in their respective cities.
Soldiers, students, parents of very young children, young couples and high school students – it seems they all share many of the same problems, which they say are not being taken into account by mayors or city councils, perhaps due to the lack of their own representation.
Hitorerut, representing these interests in the coming city council elections, is working to “awaken” the capital’s youth. One of the resolutions approved at this gathering was that the special needs and interests of young adults should be promoted all the time, not only during election periods. For that purpose, a network is being established to connect and inform all the parties about issues concerning them. One of the organizers’ expectations is that through this network, more young adults will take part in the process and will no longer abstain from voting.
Ofer Berkovitch, representing Hitorerut, concluded that the high participation of groups and parties representing the younger generation has raised his hopes that this generation is indeed stepping out of what he defined as a damaging indifference to their own interests.