This Week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Mahaneh Yehuda 521 (photo credit:
Mahaneh Yehuda 521
(photo credit:
Labor in action
The Labor Party and its local branch are promoting a lot of activities, aimed mostly at changing the rather gloomy image the party’s decision-makers have of the city. At the recent Ideology Conference held by the party, a strong delegation represented the city’s party members, headed by the local branch secretary, Esti Kirmayer. An active feminist who is married with two children, Kirmayer worked hard to include a few roundtable discussions about such current issues as the tensions between the haredi and secular communities, the education system and, above all, the party’s plans for the next mayoral elections.
Kirmayer says she hasn’t given up on the idea of running a Labor candidate but admits that it is more likely they will support an independent candidate. But that’s not all. Elections for the head of the party’s young leadership will take place on May 17. Martin Vilar, formerly an assistant to city council member Rachel Azaria and today the coordinator for the rights of private company employees at Bema’agalei Tzedek, is the leading candidate for the Jerusalem branch. Vilar, who was very active in last summer’s tent protests, thinks there is a bright future for Labor and the city’s young generation, contrary to all the negative predictions.
New leadership
The newly elected president of the Parents’ Association in Jerusalem, Paz Cohen, and his deputy, Arik Kaplan, met this week with Mayor Nir Barkat. The mayor congratulated the two new leaders and reminded them that education – including the need to enable parents to participate in decision-making – was the basis of his involvement in the city’s affairs. Judging by the amicable interaction between the two parties, it looks like the tension that characterized the relationship between the mayor and the former president of the association, Eti Binyamin, does not exist and that things will go much more smoothly between them.
On one issue in particular, the two sides seem to share the same view about the importance of Jerusalem. Cohen informed the mayor of his efforts to move the headquarters of the national association from the center of the country to the capital. And to be on the safe side, Cohen asked that the mayor keep him posted on any decisions regarding the education system in the city.
The best spa in the city
According to Condé Nast Traveler magazine, the best spa in the city is at the Mamilla Hotel. The Akasha Spa was listed this year on the magazine’s annual roster of the world’s best spas. Akasha was the only Israeli spa included on the prestigious list, which names the best resorts from New York to Delhi. There are spa facilities, a gym, Pilates and organic food at the bar at Akasha, not to mention the opportunity to sweat in style in the spa’s luxurious hammam.
M is for Mondays
at the movies Following a proposal by city council member Merav Cohen (Hitorerut B’Yerushalayim), as of this week there will be discounted movie tickets on Mondays.
As part of the efforts to make our cultural life more affordable and accessible, the decision applies to all the movies theaters in the city. The municipality, through the community and culture administration, accepted Cohen’s proposal and obtained the green light, as well as the required funding, to launch the initiative. As a result, we may find that going to a movie on Mondays will cost about 25% less but will require some logistics in obtaining tickets on such a popular day – a small price to pay for such an improvement.
Study session
The successful Limmud movement, which started in England and spread across the Jewish world, has reached the Holy City. On May 10, for the Lag Ba’omer celebration, Limmud Jerusalem – which the organizers hope will become an annual tradition – will take place at the Herzl Museum on Mount Herzl.
Among the topics are Zionism, Halacha, religious feminism, the social protest and its Jewish roots. Registration is available through
Payment can be made via Pay-Pal to Hamelitz. For more information:
Tons of tours
One of the city’s most successful projects, the annual Yad Ben-Zvi marathon of Jerusalem tours takes place this year from May 10 to 12. This spring’s program of 120 guided tours includes bicycle tours, the Bukharan neighborhood, in the footsteps of the Irgun, graffiti in Jerusalem, a culinary tour of Mahaneh Yehuda, the Freemasons in the Holy City, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Gur Hassidim, the zoo by night, the Russians and their footprints in our city and characters from Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon’s literary works. For more details and registration, go to
A decade of poetry
Makom Leshira (a place for poetry), one of the most prestigious poetry projects in the country, is celebrating its 10th birthday. Despite many problems, such as changes of venue due to lack of funds, the initiative is growing and will hold a week of poetry events, some with musical accompaniment, from May 6 to 10. The opening event on Sunday at 8 p.m. (in English) at 16 Emek Refaim Street features two guests from abroad.
Local poet Hava Pinhas-Cohen will give a talk and introduce Slovenian poet Barbara Pogacnik and American poet and Jewish scholar Barbara Falk, who will discuss poetry, culture and the use of foreign languages The rest of the programs will be in Hebrew. Entrance to the events is free, but registration is required. Call 652-4601.