Grapevine: The Museum Residence project is launched

News from around Jerusalem.

The Israel Museum  (photo credit: PR)
The Israel Museum
(photo credit: PR)
QUITE A number of prominent personalities from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and environs did not attend the opening of the Israel Festival but chose instead to attend the launch of the Museum Residence project held at the Israel Museum. It is a joint venture of Israel Brothers, among the most veteran of Jerusalem building contractors; and Pini Cohen, a leading national figure in real-estate development. Although the project has nothing to do with the Israel Museum per se beyond being located just below its southwestern border, it takes its name from the number of museums that are within relatively close walking distance. Also close by is the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, as well as the National Library on the grounds of the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University.
Some 400 invitations were sent out for the event, and more than 350 people attended. These included members of the Jerusalem City Council such as Sima Zino, deputy mayor for senior citizen affairs. Also present were former deputy mayor and current Honorary Consul for Georgia Yigal Amedi; supermarket king Rami Levy; and lawyer Arieh Toussia Cohen and his wife, Efrat. Among the non-Jerusalemites was master storyteller and television, radio and stage personality Yossi Alfi.
The catering for the event was provided by Modern, which has the food franchise at the museum. The restaurant provided inter alia an endless supply of beef medallions, as well as pot roast, which was generally pronounced to be delicious.
Boaz Israel, chairman of the Jerusalem Building Contractors Association and head of the veteran building company that was founded in 1964 by his father and uncles, said he was sure that when people received their invitations, they didn’t quite know what to expect. “We wanted to do something different,” he said.
What came next was a brief lecture about the project by architect Amatzya Aaronson, who has been working in Jerusalem for 30 years and refuses to work outside the city. He said that he endeavors to make all his designs, no matter how modern, fit harmoniously into the architectural landscape of the capital.
The lecture was followed by a marvelous concert, emceed by former radio personality Amnon Pe’er. He introduced singer Shlomit Aharon and Israeli Opera tenors Yotam Cohen and Adi Chezra. Their repertoire included Israeli nostalgia, Neapolitan folk songs, opera arias and Broadway tunes. The audience sang along with them and went wild with enthusiasm, which caused the three to give even more of themselves to the performance, which was truly memorable.
Next came a mini-tour of the museum, covering works by Israeli artists, followed by a brief glimpse of Impressionists. Then everyone went outside to the sculpture garden overlooking Neveh Granot to see that part of the Museum Residence project that has been completed bathed in colored lights.
Having seen the main reason for which they had been invited, the guests went back inside to partake of dessert and were given an elegant gift bag to take home. Yet another illustration that Jerusalem is not as provincial as it used to be and, in fact has a lot of class when the occasion demands.
NEW CONFERENCE halls are springing up all over the place in Jerusalem with the construction of new hotels and banquet facilities. Several such halls are located in the stunning addition to the campus of the Van Leer Institute – a modern, brightly lit building at the back of the one that is visible from the street. The new facility, which is actually just over a year old, is known as the Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The project was funded by Dr. Leonard Polonsky, the New York-born chairman of Hansard Global, an international financial services company.
Polonsky, who has worked in many professions in different countries, supports numerous charitable causes in the UK, Israel and the US, primarily in the fields of education and the arts. In Israel he is an honorary fellow and governor of the Hebrew University, serves on the board of the Harry S. Truman Research Center for the Advancement of Peace, provides scholarships for humanities students, as well as scholarships for students of Ethiopian background in universities throughout Israel, and is a governor and honorary fellow of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.
In 2007, Polonsky initiated and funded the Polonsky Academy at Van Leer, as well as the post-doctoral fellowships that it offers, and provided the building that serves the 30 post-doctoral fellows from Israel and abroad.
Last week, the launch of the MiHaLev project aimed at significantly reducing child abuse. The project initiated by the Haruv Institute, which is one of Israel’s leading authorities on child abuse and neglect, was based on a series of findings in a recent survey on child abuse conducted by Prof. Zvi Eisikovits and Prof. Rachel Lev-Wiesel from the University of Haifa. The Haruv Institute, which was established by the Schusterman Foundation, is headed by Prof. Asher Ben-Arieh, who explained the urgency of MiHalev, which is a Hebrew acronym for the prevention of violence against children but translates as “from the heart.”