This week in Jerusalem 280644

Peggy Cidor's round-up of city affairs.

Bikers in Jerusalem 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem /The Jerusalem Post)
Bikers in Jerusalem 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem /The Jerusalem Post)
CityPass – end of story? It doesn’t sound realistic, but at both the Ministry of Transportation and the municipality, there is a serious thought not to renew the permit to operate the light rail through CityPass when the current permit expires at the end of this year. The contract should be renewed almost automatically, but due to the large number of complaints against the company’s management of the light rail, there have been serious signs that such a decision might be taken. If that will be the situation, the Egged bus company would be one of the public transportation companies invited to present their offer, bringing a somewhat premature end to CityPass’s hegemony over the light rail. Sources at Safra Square admit that this probably won’t happen, but also admit that the mere discussion of and publicity given to these considerations might serve as a very helpful means to enhance services to the city’s residents and to passengers specifically.
Riders, take your marks The Jerusalem part of the Israel Bike Trail has been officially approved. It will run through the city to enable visitors, as they do in many other major cities in the world, to tour Jerusalem by bicycle. The path will run from the Arazim Valley (in the north of the city, near Ramot) to Givat Ram (near the Prime Minister’s Office) and then to the city center, down through the Rail Trail along the former railway tracks in the German Colony and out of town through Malha. The trail has been approved by all the bodies involved in the Israel National Trail (from the north of the country down to Eilat), namely: the ministries of Tourism, Trade and Industry and Environmental Protection and the Jewish National Fund, as well as the municipality. Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, who was deeply involved in and pushed for the approval of the project, says that just as public transportation must be encouraged and developed, it is also important to add more bicycle paths, for residents as well as for tourists.
Celebrating on both sides The municipality deserves congratulations, having produced and financed a large scale of outdoor entertainment and cultural events in east Jerusalem to mark the month of Ramadan for the Muslim population. For the first time in many many years, the residents of east Jerusalem will enjoy, in addition to the festive lighting, a wide range of cultural activities. On the program are lectures on religious legacy and tradition, theater performances, events for children and a story-telling festival for adults as well as children. All these are being prepared with the participation of the local community centers and councils that operate in the Arab neighborhoods of the city.
The events, which began on July 20, will run until August 21, the end of Ramadan and the three-day holiday of Id al-Fitr. The events are taking place in Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz, Isawiya, Beit Safafa, Sur Bahir and the Old City as well as in Kafr Akab and Ras Hamis, which are beyond the security barrier but still under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality.
The program is part of a project launched by the municipality to strive to reduce the gap between the two sides of the city.
And the Jewish side too A new series of “Oneg Shabbat” events for families is kicking off this week in various parts of the city.
One is taking place at the plaza of the Gerard Behar Center downtown and another, aimed at the younger crowd, is taking place in two trendy coffee shops – Ben-Ami on Emek Refaim Street and Salon Shabazi, the community coffee shop and alternative center in the Nahlaot neighborhood.
The event at the first venue is being organized and planned by the city’s Youth Authority and directed by Yoram Braverman, while the second is an initiative promoted by a group of young religious poets and activists, led by Eliaz Cohen of the Mashiv Haruah poetry group.
At the Gerard Behar plaza, on Fridays between 3:30 and 6 p.m., live music will be played by religious and secular performers, combining traditional traditional music and texts with modern and secular tunes so that observant and secular young residents can welcome the Sabbath together. At Café Ben-Ami and Salon Shabazi, poets will host musicians (and vice versa) for a sweet and relaxed welcoming of Shabbat with poetry and music. Both events are free of charge.
Nanochemistry, anybody? Have you ever dreamed of taking the matriculation exam in nanochemistry? The Jerusalem Education Administration (Manhi) has added this field to the list of matriculation topics for students.
Considered by many to be an up-and-coming field in science and technology, nanochemistry will be added to the city’s high-school curriculum in the coming school year. Courses will be offered through a special program promoted by the Belmonte Laboratories for Youth at the Hebrew University.
The decision was made by Mayor Nir Barkat, who explained that the major task of the municipality and its education administration is to prepare our youth for the future that lies in technology. The new topic will be at first introduced through three hours of studies once a week, and expanding the following year.
Evening meal, Islamic style “Charity and Justice in Islam” is the title of this year’s event for marking Ramadan at the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and its Jerusalem branch, led by Rabbi Ron Kronish.
Religious leaders of the three monotheistic faiths in Israel gathered on Tuesday evening to break the daily fast of Ramadan and discuss the subject of charity and social justice in Islam. The guest of honor this year was Qadi (spiritual leader) Muhammad Abu Obeid from Baka al-Gharbiya. Pastor Fuad Dagher from Shfaram and Rabbi Ronen Lubitz of Nir Etzion joined in the meal and discussed charity as seen by the three faiths. Kronish pointed out the importance of showing the positive aspects of Islam, “which prove that interreligious coexistence is possible to achieve.”