Round-up of city affairs

The newest information on Jerusalem affairs.

KUDOS TO Mayor Moshe Lion for enabling Nahlaot’s legendary Purim street party to go on. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
KUDOS TO Mayor Moshe Lion for enabling Nahlaot’s legendary Purim street party to go on.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Purim party prevails

The traditional (and by now, legendary) Purim street party in Nahlaot was seriously in doubt this year for numerous reasons, such as:
• Residents complain, as the party goes on for 24 hours or longer and includes a lot of noise, mess and alcohol.
• Many opponents come from the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector, a number of whom live in Nahlaot and are unhappy with what they see as a “licentious” event.
• This year, with the coronavirus situation, opposition grew.
By the end of last week, the party was on the verge of being canceled, but then Mayor Moshe Lion intervened, and proposed an unprecedented solution for neighbors who suffer from the event: he declared that residents who are seriously affected by the bedlam will be offered rooms in hotels in the city, at the city’s expenses.
It’s not clear how many residents will request a room, but Lion’s office has assured disgruntled residents that no one who is adversely affected will have to remain at home and suffer.
Meanwhile, the party, which has become inherent part of the Purim festivities in Jerusalem, will not be canceled. Party on!
Always thankful

The leader of Jerusalem’s “Shuvu Banim” Breslov community, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, a confessed rapist who was recently indicted for fraud, instructed his followers to vote for Shas. It was his way of saying thanks to one of the party’s spiritual leaders, Rabbi Shimon Baadani, who did not cut contacts with Berland during police investigations, and continued to consider him as a rightful rabbi.
Not every high-ranking official in Shas appreciated the gesture, and some tried during the last few days before general election to minimize the importance of Berland’s declaration of support.

Closing the parliament

Effi Nehemia was the first Jerusalemite to open a popular sidewalk “parliament” in the city. Since the early 1970s, when Ramat Eshkol was still considered a border area (the neighborhood was one of the first to be built beyond the Green Line after the 1967 Six Day War), Nehemia ran weekly meetings in his laundromat. He was appreciated and respected in all political and religious circles, and many participated in the meetings where, side-by-side, haredim, seculars, right-wingers and left-wingers all united in their love for and commitment to Jerusalem.
Nehemia died suddenly last Friday of heart failure. It is unclear for now if members of this local institution will continue without him.

One more victim

A 30-year-old mother of five children was seriously burned this week in the Shuafat neighborhood of north Jerusalem. She was evacuated to Hadassah University Medical Center in critical condition with burns all over her body. Police, alerted by neighbors, arrested her husband as a possible suspect. The children are being taken care of by neighbors and family members. According to reports, the couple had an argument, after which the husband set her on fire, while the children were present.

Road work and traffic

Residents living close to the Pat junction will have to adapt to heavy road work that started in their neighborhood this week in preparation for the future Light Rail Green Line. Traffic will be affected from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sundays and Wednesdays.
The municipality, which published the information, says the work will run for two weeks, and that efforts will be made to ease traffic congestion, as some roads will occasionally be blocked. Information on roadwork and traffic in Jerusalem can be found at the municipality’s official site: jerusalem.muni.il/en/.

Holy immersion

A new and exciting experience will be awaiting visitors at the Tower of David Museum in April. Opening in time for Easter, Passover and Ramadan, visitors can enter a virtual reality world that showcases Jerusalem during the holiest days for the three major monotheistic religions. The project includes the Easter Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Priestly Blessing on Passover at the Western Wall, and the prayers and ceremonies at al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock during Ramadan.
The sites were recorded using volumetric scanning and Stereo 360 VR film, presenting The Holy City experience as a quest-like adventure, rich in narrative and cultural history. To produce it, an interfaith team of Jewish, Christian and Muslim innovators brought their unique perspectives to the magic and wonder of Jerusalem, according to the TOD professional team.
But what is it about exactly? The Holy City is an immersive and sensory story exploring the magnetism of the world’s spiritual epicenter, fostering an inclusive sense of humanity and celebrating shared values of the monotheistic faiths. It is a joint project by Blimey and Occupied VR, in collaboration with the Tower of David Museum’s Innovation Lab. The experience is a group activity allowing visitors to explore the holiest and most exclusive locations in the city through virtual and augmented reality, as visitors work together to complete tasks as they travel through a virtual Jerusalem, unlocking clues and completing challenges.
Teamwork and collaboration hold the answer to unlocking the secrets of the Holy City.
Participants get to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the Holy Fire ceremony, explore al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock during Ramadan prayers, and be among the priests during the priestly blessing at the Western Wall during Passover – virtually but vividly, in total immersion.
Nimrod Shanit, director and producer of The Holy City, says this new immersive experience “virtually places visitors in some of the most exclusive and hard-to-reach locations in Jerusalem as if they were actually there.” As for Eilat Lieber, director and chief curator of the Tower of David Museum, “it is the fruit of a cooperative effort with the Blimey company, which encapsulates the essence of the innovative vision at the Tower of David Museum – to create a modern, dynamic, unique language for the rich story of Jerusalem. At the Tower of David, we believe that knowledge creates a basis for building identity and values that allow for dialog and a greater understanding of the ‘other.’ When knowledge is presented using the great talent of media creators and technology developers, a unique experience is crafted for the participant. Experiencing The Holy City shows the Old City of Jerusalem in all its beauty and makes the holiest sites in Jerusalem, often closed to those of different religions and genders, accessible to all. The Holy City complements any visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, starting at the Tower of David Museum with the spectacular views from the top of the Phasael Tower.”
Dates: April 11, 12 and 23.
Visit length: 20-30 minutes
Price: NIS 60/person, for purchase at museum ticket office and online
Details: www.tod.org.il/en;
www.holycityvr.com; www.blimey.tv