Grapevine: Modern mayor

Modern technology has caught up with the elections, at least in the Rehavia-Talbiyeh neighborhoods.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MODERN TECHNOLOGY has caught up with the elections, at least in the Rehavia-Talbiyeh neighborhoods. There, very polite university students on current Mayor Nir Barkat’s campaign team are knocking on doors with tablets in their hands, asking residents if they intend to vote, and whether they are interested in receiving campaign literature, want to be invited to parlor meetings or want to ask questions at such meetings. All the answers are faithfully tapped into the tablet, to be collated for Barkat’s campaign platform.
The well-mannered surveyor does not forget to ask at the end of the interview: “Why do you think Moshe Lion moved to Jerusalem?” When Barkat’s chief rival Lion visited The Jerusalem Post’s offices last week, he was asked after talking to reporters if he had seen the filth in the street on which the prime minister resides. He replied that during a stroll through the neighborhood, he had indeed walked in that direction, and had been shocked. He might be even more shocked to learn that the luxury areas of Herzliya Pituah are just as filthy, notwithstanding the fact that so many diplomats and members of Israel’s elite live in the area.
By the way, the morning after the survey – when a student knocked on the door of one of the prime minister’s neighbors, who also complained about the filth – the street was almost spotlessly clean.
There’s nothing the mayor can do to stop the constant shedding of leaves by trees lining the fence of Terra Sancta. But the garbage cans had been emptied before dawn, which was unusual and contrary to standard practice, and spillage from garbage cans had been swept up and removed. The question is: How long will it last? THE BARKAT campaign headquarters sent out an SMS on Sunday, advising reporters that some 60 Likud members had signed a letter affirming their support for Barkat and for the Jerusalem Will Succeed faction that he heads. According to the text message, the letter praised Barkat for the positive change that has transformed the city under his stewardship, and noted that this had augured fresh hope for the future.
IT DIDN’T take very long for Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau to be invited to any number of dedication ceremonies. One of them was the ceremony for the affixing of the mezuza on the doorpost of the new Leumit Medical Center in Geula.
When any major dignitary is invited to an event of this kind, the mayor is also invited. But this particular event was truly top-heavy with dignitaries. In addition to the Leumit powers that be, and several leading figures from Safra Square, also there were Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Shas leader Arye Deri and United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush, as well as MKs Uri Maklev and Yitzhak Cohen.
Lau said that the people of Geula had been waiting for a long time to get a health clinic that offered so many services. Deri recalled that when he lived in Ma’aleh Amos some 25 years ago, he was insured by the Leumit Health Fund, which at the time was the only health fund that agreed to open a clinic in the area. The mezuza was affixed by Rabinowitz.
PRE-HIGH HOLY Day penitential prayer services, lectures and symposia abound, but Rabbi Ian Pear, who is the spiritual leader of the Shir Hadash congregation in Katamon, has scored a star turnout for his seminar on Sunday, September 1, at the synagogue premises at 4 Heyl Nashim Street. Beginning at 1 p.m., participants will be able to hear from MK Dov Lipman, who will speak about applying the values of the Days of Awe to the public and national spheres; Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, head of Petah Tikva’s Yeshivat Hesder, whose topic is “Halacha Enters the Knesset”; Israelight founder Rabbi David Aaron; Beit Hillel founder and director Rabbi Ronen Neuwirth; Shoham Chief Rabbi David Stav, who is also the chairman of Tzohar; and Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, who in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Israel Meir Hacohen Kagan, better known as the Hafetz Haim, will speak about the great rabbi as a model of leadership. Oh yes, we almost forgot: Barkat will also put in an appearance.
Participation is free of charge, but it would be wise to make a reservation. To do so, email For those who can’t make it but are interested in hearing the lectures, the seminar will be webcast live on