Grapevine: Megila readings at Jerusalem eateries

No one in Jerusalem has an excuse for missing out on a megila reading on Purim.

old purim photo 311  (photo credit: .)
old purim photo 311
(photo credit: .)
NO ONE in Jerusalem has an excuse for missing out on a megila reading on Purim. Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg, the head of the Chabad Center of Rehavia, in addition to organizing his annual Aza Zaza festival of daytime readings in Rehavia eateries on March 17, also has a series of readings on Sunday night, March 16. The first will be at 6:30 in the lower level of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue at 56 King George Avenue.
Anyone who can’t make it for that time slot can go around the corner to the Chabad Center of Rehavia at 8 Ramban Street, where there will be readings at 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m.
On Monday, the Aza Zaza readings begin at 9 a.m. at the Lechem Tushiya Restaurant, 18 Aza Road; 11 a.m. at the Ben Aza Le’Berlin Restaurant, 1 Berlin St.; 1 p.m. at the Zigmond Restaurant, 29 Aza; 3 p.m. at Sushi Rehavia, 33 Aza; and 5 p.m. at Cafe’ de Paris, 1 Ben- Maimon Street (corner of Aza).
There will also be readings at eateries on Keren Kayemet Street at the following times: 10 a.m. at Maestro Pizza, 25 Keren Kayemet; noon at Shosh Café, 31 Keren Kayemet; 2 p.m. at Katzefet Glidania, 19 Keren Kayemet; and 4 p.m. at the Meyuchas Restaurant, corner of Keren Kayemet and Ibn Gvirol.
There will also be readings at the Chabad Center of Rehavia at 7:30 and 10 a.m. and every hour following up to and including 5 p.m.
This year, there are more restaurants and coffee shops offering the readings than last year. This is mainly because word got out that all the participating eateries were chock-a-block with people who had come to hear the megila, and many stayed afterwards and ordered food and beverages. It was actually great for business and introduced a lot of Jerusalemites to places they hadn’t been to before. It was a win-win situation from which everyone benefited spiritually, physically or financially.
TELEVISION VIEWERS who enjoy cooking shows may be familiar with Assaf Granit, who appears with fellow celebrity chefs Meir Adoni and Moshik Roth on The Chef Games on Channel 2.
Granit is the one in the middle whose granite facial expression matches his name but hides a heart of gold. Granit is the creative force behind the famed Machneyuda restaurant, and his magic touch has spread to other Jerusalem restaurants as well, such Hasadna and Mona. He extended himself even further last summer when he ran The Jerusalem Season of Culture’s food truck. For three weeks, he took a Food Trip around Jerusalem, cooking homestyle food with a different guest chef every night and serving kosher dinners in 23 neighborhoods. Machneyuda is not kosher, but the cuisine served from the food truck was kosher so that everyone who wanted to could be part of the project. Granit enjoyed the challenge of cooking in a van and was happy to meet with new chefs every day, as well as with the communities in the different neighborhoods.
Granit’s adventures on the Food Trip were recorded in a daily blog by Hila Alpert, Assaf Gavron and Hedai Offaim, and have now been published in book form by Lunch Box Publications in conjunction with the Jerusalem Season of Culture. Titled Tasty from Jerusalem (Taim Miyerushalayim), the book features neighborhood characters as well as recipes. It will go on sale in book stores across the country within the next week or two.
JERUSALEM MAYOR Nir Barkat aims to make Israel’s capital the Hollywood of the Middle East in more ways than one. After persuading Moshe and Leon Edery to establish the truly unique Cinema City in Jerusalem, Barkat went to Los Angeles last May. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said that he wanted to drum up interest in having Jerusalem be a location for filmmakers. He told the interviewer that he hoped to capitalize not only on the city’s ancient historical locations, mild climate and package of modern-day tax incentives but also on Hollywood’s deep strains of support for Israel. Making films and television in Jerusalem is “not only good business, it’s good Zionism,” said Barkat. “It’s the right thing to do.”
During his visit, Barkat met with billionaire entertainment mogul Haim Saban who, though on the opposite side of the fence politically, is committed to Israel and to Jerusalem and promised to shoot his next live action series in the City of David.
Last week at the press conference regarding the grand opening of Cinema City, Barkat stated that over the past five years, 40 films and 13 television series have been shot in Jerusalem, whereas only 10 films had been shot in Jerusalem in the preceding 60 years.
He repeated that statistic at the gala opening event. Only a few days earlier, the Jerusalem Municipality issued a press release stating that together with the government, it has created a NIS 22 million incentive fund to encourage foreign producers to opt for Jerusalem as a location in which to shoot movies and television series.
COMING FROM a professional background of gender and mass communication, which she taught at Bar-Ilan University before becoming a legislator, it’s hardly surprising that Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, despite the fact that she is religiously observant, together with MK Ruth Calderon and Health Minister Yael German, has drafted a bill in favor of civil marriage.
This was the subject of a panel discussion in which she participated last Saturday at a Shabbat-Tarbut event organized by the Ginot Ha’ir Community Center.
Also on the panel were Rabbi Aryeh Stern, who has been endorsed by religious Zionists as their candidate for chief rabbi of Jerusalem; Prof.
Aviad Hacohen, dean of the Sha’arei Mishpat College and senior lecturer in constitutional law and Jewish law; Batya Kahana-Dror, the director of Mavoi Satum, an advocacy group for women whose husbands refuse to grant them a divorce; and journalist Yair Ettinger as moderator.
Lavie said that the bill was designed to provide a solution for those people who wanted to get married but were unable to do so through the rabbinate or simply didn’t want to and preferred to find their own rabbi. She spoke about changing norms, human rights and how much misery the rabbinical establishment has caused couples seeking to get married because one party was not halachically acceptable. She noted that for centuries, rabbinical authorities in Diaspora communities had found solutions that rabbinical judges in the Jewish homeland can’t seem to grasp. Stern said that perhaps the wrong people had been elected as rabbinical judges. But he also made the point that the current trend is to put the emphasis on human rights while overlooking obligations.
Although he and Hacohen disagreed on some issues, they were in accord in their opposition to civil marriage, declaring that instead of improving the situation, it would make it worse because it would lead to more children being classified as mamzerim (born of a halachically forbidden union), thereby limiting their marriage options. The offspring of common law relationships are not stigmatized in the same way; and if the parents end their relationship, take up with someone else and produce more children, there is a halachic loophole that would not be applicable in the case of the dissolution of a civil marriage that had not been approved by the rabbinate.
Some of the secular people in the audience were aghast at the idea that the rabbinate would still have control over divorce even if civil marriage became legal in Israel.
“That’s the law,” said Kahana-Dror, who noted that nonetheless, a survey that included Orthodox Jews indicated that 60 percent of the public are in favor of civil marriage.
Stern, who heads the Halacha Brura Institute in Jerusalem, teaches at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav Kook and leads a congregation in Katamon, acknowledged that a lot of people have needlessly suffered at the hands of rabbinic judges and said that there is a halachic solution for everything.
But he did not spell out what possible halachic solutions there were to existing problems.
One member of the audience said that civil marriage was dangerous because it would lead to the erosion of Jewish religious values. He cited a current case before the High Court of Justice in which the divorced parents of a baby boy are wrangling over having the child circumcised. The father wants the baby to be circumcised, and the mother does not. The Netanya Rabbinical Court ordered the mother to have the infant circumcised. She refused and petitioned the High Court of Justice, which issued a temporary injunction in her favor.