Grape Vine: Defending Jerusalem then and now

In addition to a special prayer for Jerusalem, the service featured singing by Cantor Chaim Adler and the Jerusalem Synagogue Choir, conducted by Elli Jaffe

Jerusalem Academy Choir and String Ensemble (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem Academy Choir and String Ensemble
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ SEVERAL PEOPLE who are not regular congregants at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue expected the place to be overflowing last Saturday for the special Jerusalem Day service. In addition to a special prayer for Jerusalem, the service featured singing by Cantor Chaim Adler and the Jerusalem Synagogue Choir, conducted by Elli Jaffe, as well as addresses by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, chief rabbi emeritus of Haifa and former chief rabbi of the Israel Air Force.
While still a student at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, Cohen – who was born in Jerusalem and has a law degree from the Hebrew University – joined one of the underground resistance movements that fought the British Mandate, and during the War of Independence defended both Gush Etzion and the Jewish Quarter of the capital’s Old City.
He suffered a severe leg injury and was captured by the Arab Legion of the Jordanian Army. The Jordanians operated on his leg, but the injury left him with a permanent limp.
Cohen spoke of the bravery of the soldiers who defended Jerusalem, and of the constant need to develop the city. Barkat also spoke of the importance of developing the city, and both he and Cohen emphasized the significance of Jerusalem being all things to all people regardless of religion, nationality or gender.
The choir was truly at its best, and Cohen and Barkat made several inspiring remarks.
FORMER TIME Magazine bureau chief Marlin Levin – whose first job in Israel after making aliya in 1947 was at The Jerusalem Post, then known as The Palestine Post – brought with him something that was rare in Israel at the time: a Kodak-chrome camera and lots of color film, with which he captured the evolving history of the state in general and Jerusalem in particular.
Now 91 and still taking pictures, Levin, who lives in the Ahuzat Beit Hakerem retirement home with his wife, Betty, was interviewed last month on Channel 10, which showed some of his early photos of the country. The American-born Levin, whose collection is being published in book form, began photographing at age eight, when his father bought him a box Brownie camera. Over the years, he graduated to more sophisticated equipment, but did not realize when he first began photographing in Jerusalem that he was doing something unique. He was unaware at the time that all other photographers were using black-and-white film, because color film was unavailable. In his television interview, Levin said he preferred color because it added life to the picture.
 THOUGH MANY of the friends and supporters of The Jerusalem Foundation who attended the opening ceremony of Teddy Park last week had known and worked with legendary mayor Teddy Kollek, who died in January 2007, there were some among the younger and more recent supporters who had not, and even a few who had never even met Kollek.
Invitations also included people who had worked with Kollek at City Hall or at institutions that were close to his heart. Among them were Amos Mar Haim, who had served as deputy mayor during Kollek’s last term in office; Ruth Cheshin who worked with Kolle in the Jerusalem Foundation since its very beginning and was given a life achievement award; Libi Bergstein, who was second in command in the municipality’s special events department; Mordechai Darwish, who used to be the city’s head gardener; Amanda Weiss, director of the Bible Lands Museum, which was founded with Kollek’s support; Harry Sapir, who sits or has sat on the boards of various cultural institutions with which Kollek was passionately involved (most notably the Israel Museum, of which Kollek was the founder and for years the driving spirit); and Israel Museum director James Snyder.
Snyder himself will be honored this coming Monday when he receives the prestigious Guardian of Zion award from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies.