AT THE opening of the Jerusalem International Book Fair at the YMCA, where the Jerusalem Prize was awarded to Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, the only person who mentioned Teddy Kollek was President Reuven Rivlin – who happens to be a former member of the Jerusalem City Council. Rivlin said he could remember the first time the Jerusalem Prize for Freedom of the Individual in Society was awarded at the fair, at the initiative of then-mayor Kollek and then-city manager Roni Feinstein.Council member Pepe Alalu sat near the aisle in the third row, so he could take some photos of Kadare on stage. The atmosphere was very multilingual, with Mayor Nir Barkat speaking in Hebrew and English, trying to find some balance as he extolled the virtues of both Jerusalem and Kadare; Rivlin speaking in Hebrew; Dan Meridor, who chaired the panel of judges that had selected the prize winner, speaking in French – which he said Kadare understood better than English; and Kadare himself speaking in Albanian.TALBIYEH’S HAZVI Yisrael congregation has the tradition of a Tu Bishvat walk around the neighborhood for its congregants, after the morning service on either the Shabbat before or after the New Year for Trees. Last year, participants were introduced to the large variety of trees in the neighborhood; this year, the focus was on historic buildings.Tour guide Ruth Frank had anticipated that at most, there would be some 30 people on the walk – but there were at least 40, possibly more. Several of the participants, unaware of the famous personalities who had once lived in such close proximity to their synagogue, were amazed to think that for years they had walked past the buildings on the route and never realized.Frank pointed out that in recent weeks, the municipality has put up signs on several buildings indicating their historic significance. One was just down the street from the synagogue, at 18 Hovevei Zion Street, testifying to the fact that Orde Wingate, the British officer who trained the Hagana’s Special Night Squads to combat Arab revolutionaries, had been a resident. At the other end of the street, at 3 Hovevei Zion Street, is the house that Martin Buber lived in; today, it belongs to hedge fund manager and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, one of the founders of Taglit-Birthright.At 25 Hovevei Zion Street, the group entered the impressive Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies and Research, and met founder and president Shlomo Hizak – who also happens to be the president of the Isa Bracha Sephardi synagogue on Jabotinsky Street, and invited everyone to come there for services. He explained that the BSR center is largely engaged in Jewish-Christian relations, and on occasion manages to attract Christians not well-disposed to Israel or to Jews, but who after spending a period of study there often become firm friends of Israel – sometimes discovering their Jewish roots and even converting to Judaism.Most of the houses on the street once belonged to Christian Arabs, and at least one building, Jasmine House at 21 Hovevei Zion, still has an Arab owner. Originally a guest house catering to pilgrims, it still has lodgers, but now caters mainly to UN personnel. There were several other historic homes on nearby streets, including one at 11 David Marcus Street that had belonged to publisher Reuven Mass, the father of Danny Mass, the Palmah commanding officer of the Convoy of 35 who all fell in battle in 1948. Reuven Mass, known as the Mukhtar of Talbiyeh, was trusted by his Arab neighbors; in 1948, unwilling to be caught in the conflict, they came to Mass and gave him the keys to their houses for safekeeping, thinking they would return after the fighting was over. Mass, being a yekke with a high regard for law and order, went into each of the houses and made a complete inventory of the contents, to ensure each homeowner would have a checklist upon his return.However, the Israelis would not allow those Arabs who had left to return to claim the property and contents of the houses with which Mass had been entrusted; their assets were eventually passed to the State Custodian. One of the large, elegant houses along the route was eventually proposed to David Ben-Gurion as the home of the prime minister. He refused – not only because of his modest lifestyle, but because he would not live in premises that had been abandoned by their rightful owners.