This week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Jewish Quater in the Old City of Jerusalem, 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Jewish Quater in the Old City of Jerusalem, 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Adieu, goodbye
After serving for 22 years at the helm of the Israel Festival, one of the country’s leading cultural events, Yossi Tal-Gan has decided to quit. Formerly CEO of the municipality and head of the cultural department, Tal-Gan also served as director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra for a few years and attended almost every major event of the city’s cultural life. In 2003, he tried his hand at politics, running for mayor of Jerusalem, but didn’t get enough votes. Tal-Gan is busy at the moment working on the next festival, which will take place in May 2014 – and will be the last festival he will manage.
The festival’s board is already seeking a new head, who will have to prepare the 2015 festival.
Polish cuisine
Polish Culinary Week will run this week (November 2-11), an initiative of Israel’s Polish Institute. While for some of us, Polish cooking reminds us of our grandmother’s cooking, others think with alarm about gray gefilte fish and jellied calves’ feet. But the organizers maintain that this will be an exciting week of tasty food, which will teach us about the cuisine scene in contemporary Poland.
The first Polish Culinary Week will feature more than 40 culinary and cultural events, held across the country.
Among the scheduled events are meals jointly created and cooked by top chefs from Poland and Israel, reconstructions of historical and literary meals, culinary tours, Polish vodka tasting, a large-scale cultural event at Beit Ha’ir, food photography exhibitions and JewishPolish cooking workshops.
Israelis are invited to get to know traditional Polish cooking, taste original Jewish-Polish dishes as they were before making aliya, nostalgically recall the Polish-Israeli cuisine of the tzena (austerity) era, and be introduced to contemporary Polish cuisine, which is attracting much attention on the global gastronomic scene. By employing the culinary perspective, the festival’s organizers hope to reveal the rich and varied food culture of the Israel and Poland.
A team of guests, some of the top figures in Poland’s culinary world, will be in Israel to participate in the events. Chef Artur Moroz, owner of the famed Bulaj restaurant in Sopot, Poland, will cook with chefs Assaf Granit, Uri Navon and Yossi Elad of Jerusalem’s Machneyuda restaurant.
Polish photographer and publisher Kris Koznowsky will present his works at an exhibition at the First Station Complex.
Still here with us
If you didn’t have time to see the “Color Gone Wild” exhibition at the Israel Museum, fear not. The museum has just announced that the exhibition on Fauve and Expressionist masterworks from the Merzbacher Collection will remain on view until January 11. Due to the enthusiastic reception by the Israeli public – 125,000 of whom have already visited since the July opening – collector Werner Merzbacher has generously offered the museum the opportunity to extend the run of this exceptional exhibition.
So what is it about the exhibition that has drawn such attention? It presents masterworks from the collection of Merzbacher and his wife, Gabrielle, one of the finest modern art collections in private hands. Fifteen years after the highly successful presentation of “The Joy of Color,” the Israel Museum’s first public debut of treasures of early modern art from the Merzbacher Collection, “Color Gone Wild” showcases new acquisitions alongside masterpieces already known and loved by the public. On view are approximately 40 works by artists such as Georges Braque, André Derain, Alexej von Jawlensky, Wassily ’Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Henri Matisse, all linked by a vivid use of vibrant color as a vehicle for emotional expression.
There’s no place like home
“Batim Mibifnim” (Houses from the Inside), the highly successful and by now traditional exhibition of architecture and historical homes and buildings, is back. In the framework of this year’s event, special guided tours of the National Library on the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus – before the new modern building is erected – are being offered. On November 7 and 8, the tours will offer a unique look at the structure and its treasures, enabling visitors to see the Hebrew notebook of author Franz Kafka, as well as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s study. The tour will include a short play based on Kafka’s Hebrew notebooks (he was seriously studying the language) and explanations of the Ardon Windows in the main building.Cleansing time
Time for revenge in the Lithuanian haredi (Litvak) sector. Yeshiva sources reveal that an order has been issued by Agudat Yisrael’s rabbis as a result of the municipal elections: a manhunt of supporters of the Bnei Torah group.
Bnei Torah split from the Litvak part of United Torah Judaism, and entered a candidate of their own for mayor, Haim Epstein, who is considered to be the major reason behind the failure of the haredim to impose their candidate, Moshe Lion.
As of this past Sunday, all the yeshiva students are required to sign a form in which they are asked to admit whether they voted for Epstein and, in so doing, indirectly supported Barkat by weakening Lion. Students who voted for Epstein are immediately being expelled. This step affects them in a very serious way, depriving them of their basic income to feed their families and causing them to be recruited into the IDF, as they can no longer rely on their Torah study exemption.
So far, according to the source, 350 students have been expelled from the yeshivot, and the process is continuing.