Back to the campusThe academic year kicked off this Sunday, with no fewer than 40,000 students in the city’s academic institutions. The municipality has seized the opportunity to display its services and events for students at all the campuses, and welcomed the newcomers among them – whom it sees as potential new Jerusalem residents once they graduate.Mayor Nir Barkat issued a welcoming announcement inviting students to make use of all the facilities available here – including employment options that have been adapted to suit students’ schedules, and of course, the city’s leisure and entertainment facilities. Counters with information on these facilities and programs have been on display at all the city’s campuses for the entire first week, including forms for municipal tax discounts, and the Jerusalemite Card, which provides discounts to residents.Even after the opening week, electronic counters will remain on display on various campuses, enabling students to carry out any necessary registration or municipal tax payments without having to come to Safra Square.Olive harvestThe French Hill neighborhood had its first olive harvest last Friday, an initiative of the neighborhood council and community center, the students’ association, local organization Young in the Center, and various youth movements. About 80 people participated in the event, harvesting olives from all the olive trees in the neighborhood. Within a few weeks, when the olives are ready, they will be bottled and distributed to all the participants under the label “French Olives.”The neighborhood council aims to make it a tradition and attract even more participants next year. Days of remembering A “Yizkor” mourning tent will go up at Safra Square for three days next week, November 4 to 6, to remember the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin 19 years ago.A small exhibition, which will be open to visitors, will include stages of Rabin’s life, and newspaper articles depicting the events leading up to the murder.Throughout the three days, there will be talks and study sessions on democracy and its values. Artists, lecturers and public figures will debate issues in Israeli society, such as the meaning of democracy and the dangers and the challenges facing society, particularly in regard to the events of last summer.Organizing the initiative is the Dror Israel Movement, with the participation of the city’s youth movements and the backing of the municipality, the Jerusalem Foundation, the Shusterman Foundation and others. The main goal of the event is to get young (and less-young) residents thinking about what happened over the summer – on one hand, the burst of hatred and xenophobia that followed the murder of teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gil- Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and on the other hand, the solidarity and mobilization that Operation Protective Edge engendered.“Jerusalem being the heart of Israel, this is the right place to ask the major question at the gatherings,” explains Dror Israel president Yaniv Levy, such as “what kind of a society [do] we want to have here?” Berlin-Jerusalem Erez Mayerantz, a young Jerusalemite who works at a Tel Aviv PR firm, is also a playwright. His new one-man show, Reaktzia, is now being performed at the city’s Hamartef Theater, and is drawing a lot of attention. Mayerantz presents the story of a young Israeli lawyer specializing in Holocaust survivor claims. On a trip to Berlin while working on a particularly complicated claim, something unexpected happens. The somewhat arrogant lawyer, the non-emotionally involved representative of his firm, mostly focused on his own tasks and success, suddenly experiences a change in his identity, and lives – in flashbacks and semi-daydreams – the life of a young Jewish American man, a journalist who tries desperately to convince his editors that a terrible thing is happening to Europe’s Jews. He fails, but slowly slips into the identity of yet another young Jewish man, a European this time, living in Paris, who is finally caught in the snare of the Nazis. The story is complicated, moving from one character to another, but during the hour or so the play runs, the audience could not take its eyes off the stage. In these days of doubt and anger, the issue of Jewish attitudes towards Europe, particularly Germany and its capital of Berlin, are more relevant than ever. The show raises many questions and though it doesn’t really provide answers, it does hold your attention tight. For more information, and for scheduling, contact Hamartef Theater: 563-9975. Afternoon sagaThe afternoon programs saga goes on. After announcing that the municipality will provide subsidized after-school programs for children from preschool through second grade, then withdrawing them following the Education Ministry decision not to finance them, the programs are back. As of this coming Sunday, November 2, children in grades 1 and 2 in state schools, who have been attending full-price programs since the beginning of the year, will benefit from subsidized programs. The subsidized preschool and kindergarten programs have been running since the beginning of the year.Mayor Nir Barkat, who holds the Education Portfolio at city council, announced earlier this week that the municipality’s decision was taken in order to alleviate the financial burden on young families and provide quality solutions for the after-school hours, enabling parents to work. The program was jointly facilitated through the city education administration, the Education Ministry and the city parents’ association. The programs will run until 4:30 p.m.and will stay open over the Hanukka and Passover school vacations, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and will include a hot meal. A minimum of 25 children must register for each class; fees will be paid on a sliding scale according to each family’s financial status, from NIS 380 to NIS 590.The independents On Sunday evening, the launch of Manofim, Jerusalem’s exhibitions season, opened with the celebration of the first 10 years of Agrippas 12, the first – and so far only – cooperative, non-commercial and independent art gallery. The new and bold venture, which opened in the middle of the second intifada, has realized the remarkable achievement of providing an ongoing place to exhibit art, without any establishment support. This week, the veterans of Agrippas 12 and those who over the years continued on a different path came together to reminisce, meeting local aficionados – quite a few of whom came from outside the city for the occasion. The motivation to open Agrippas 12 was a nod to the famous Parisian venture of Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) in 1884, which led to the birth of what was later better-known as the Impressionists.Jerusalem’s “independent” works include a variety of techniques from a wide range of artists who share a common idea on aesthetics, forms and themes, as can be seen at the gallery; a catalogue of these works can be purchased at Agrippas 12 for NIS 25. On December 12 (7 p.m.) there will be a gallery talk; more details at 077-540-4897.