Grapevine: It’s raining Chabad

News briefs from around the capital.

Chabad Rehavia sign (photo credit: WWW.JERUSALEMCHABAD.ORG)
Chabad Rehavia sign
• CHABAD CENTERS are in such close proximity to one another in the capital that it’s difficult for Chabad emissaries to refrain from encroaching on each other’s turf.
This week, for instance, the Chabad of Rehavia – headed by Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg and his wife, Shoshi – celebrated yod-tet Kislev, the “New Year for Hassidism,” in the Chabad Rehavia Center, though most of their major celebrations and Shabbat and festival services are held at the Great Synagogue or at Heichal Shlomo next door.
Yod-tet – the 19th of – Kislev is the anniversary of the release from prison of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement. The Alter Rebbe, as he was known, was arrested on trumped-up charges, and it was not certain whether he would ever be freed.
The Great Synagogue on this occasion was used by Rabbi Eli and Chanie Canterman, directors of the Chabad Center of Talbiyeh, who hosted former ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub and Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner, who for 40 years was secretary to the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last of the Lubavitcher rebbes in a seven-generation dynasty.
Unlike the Goldbergs, the Cantermans don’t have a permanent center of their own and usually utilize the premises of Yad Harav Nissim, which is fairly close to their home. But given the growth of Chabad in the capital, the auditorium there would have been too small to accommodate the anticipated crowd.
• THE HOTEL industry is a very nomadic profession. While there are general managers and lower-ranking staff who spend many years in one hotel, they move around to different parts of the country, and if they happen to be working for an international chain and have succeeded in capturing the attention of the decision-makers, they are often transferred abroad, or if they build up a reputation in their home countries, they are courted by different international chains.
Zeev Keren, the new general manager of the Jerusalem Crowne Plaza, falls into the latter category. In actual fact, Keren, who has some four decades of experience in the hotel and hospitality business, is geographically back where he started.
He was with the team that in 1975 opened the original Jerusalem Hilton in Givat Ram which is now the Crowne Plaza. In the interim he has held various positions with the Dan chain of hotels and the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. He was resident manager of the latter for 10 years before becoming involved in the opening and management of The Avenue convention and events center in Airport City.
More recently, he helped to open a similar facility in the south of the country.
He’s happy to be back in Jerusalem, even though it’s not quite the Jerusalem that he knew before. One thing that hasn’t changed is that despite the ever-growing number of high-rise buildings in the vicinity, the hotel that he manages still stands out on the horizon.
• WHILE MANY Jerusalemites have welcomed the gentrification of Mahaneh Yehuda and the addition of new dining options and shops that stock boutique merchandise at affordable prices, not everyone is happy about all the construction taking place in close proximity to the market, especially the veteran stall holders who are worried that fancy shops will take away their business.
But that seems fairly unlikely, given that the adjacent Saidoff project, which has been completed for well over a year and possibly two, has not been a resounding success. A luxurious, multistory, residential complex, rising up behind the original Saidoff houses which were built at the beginning of the 20th century by the late Yitzhak Saidoff, the building was a city landmark for many years. But it fell into neglect and in the process lost some of its charm and beauty. Now completely renovated and restored, it serves as a commercial front on Jaffa Road and has several storefronts.
But most of the stores are empty.
This may well be the case on the other side of the market if and when Amir Biran completes his project of buying up stalls at the front and back entrances of Mahaneh Yehuda to facilitate the construction of his twin tower massive building project that will include residential units, commercial outlets and a hotel.. It should be remembered that store rentals in these new complexes will be much higher than what it costs to maintain a stall in the market, and that will be reflected in the price tags on merchandise.