This Week In Jerusalem 381755

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Nir Barkat
Who’s to blame?
The first two vigils of a planned series set up near Mayor Nir Barkat’s house have taken place. The group of young adults and students organizing the vigil are protesting Barkat’s ironfist policy toward the Arab residents of Jerusalem in retaliation for the riots, stone-throwing and general agitation in east Jerusalem. The protesters say that this policy will not solve the problems and is destined to serve the interests of the right-wing parties, which want “to set Jerusalem on fire” through their plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
From Blue Hole to Blue Hall
In the late 1990s, it was the place to go for entertainment.
The Blue Hole bar, an important brick that built up the myth of hedonistic Jerusalem of the past century, was named after the trend of going diving in the area by that name in the Sinai.
Now, after a year and a half of extensive renovations, it has reopened with a totally different ambiance as the Blue Hall Music gastropub. From a small and rather dingy place, Blue Hall Music has become a large, well-lit place that will feature live performances and offer a diverse assortment of alcoholic beverages (in that way, it hasn’t really changed.) The sound system has improved, and there will be a rich menu of meat dishes (strictly kosher).
In short, the look and probably the patrons will be very different from the early days of its penniless students and struggling artists. But it will certainly add to the nightlife in Nahalat Shiva.
Performing the spoken word
The 14th annual festival of Hazira Performance Art Arena is taking place this year at the renovated Hansen Center, produced and directed by Guy Biran and the Ma’amouta and Sala-Manca Group. The event will focus on the various connections between text and the spoken word and the performance on stage by actors representing various aspects of stage performance.
The basis for the festival is the story of the Dybbuk, which will be scrutinized in various spaces in the center. Among the performers are Adi Kaplan, Joseph Sprintzak, Tom Soloveitchik, Maya Dunitz, Eran Zacks, and the Orchestra of the Rubin Academy, conducted by Michael Klinghofer. November 24 to 26 at 8 p.m. More details at
National Library, the new concept
The National Library’s new concept, designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, is to be revealed to the public. The design, which will evolve during subsequent design stages, aims to convey the values of openness and accessibility to the general public of all classes, nationalities and denominations. The new building is a central element of the library’s renewal as a 21st-century library, housed in an appropriate sustainable building – a “creative and dynamic center for onsite and online activities,” designed “to activate and inculcate the irreducible value of pluralistic, tolerant and enlightened modes of public life.”
The new library building combines the functions of a central research center, a venue for indoor and outdoor cultural and educational activities, a hall for digital experience and a secure, climate-controlled underground storehouse for its treasures and administrative headquarters. It will be constructed on a site allocated by the government in the National Precinct adjacent to the Knesset, the Israel Museum, the Science Museum, the Hebrew University and the Supreme Court building.
The built-up area consists of approximately 34,000 square meters – six floors totaling 15,000 square meters above ground and four floors totaling 19,000 square meters primarily for stacks and underground parking.
The design, which incorporates the principles of sustainability, will strive to minimize the building’s energy consumption. Design of the new building, with executive architect Mann Shinar Architects and Planners, will continue in 2015. Construction will begin in 2016 and is slated for completion in 2019.
Funding for the national project is being provided by the government, Yad Hanadiv, a philanthropic foundation of the Rothschild family and the David and Ruth Gottesman family of New York. The National Library of Israel, established in 1892, collects, preserves, cultivates and bestows treasures of knowledge, heritage and culture in general, and in connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish people, in particular.
Women’s time
Slowly but surely, it’s coming. The Jerusalem city council committee for street naming decided at its last session to honor the memory of three formidable women, each from a different field, and will name three streets after them.
Sarah Uziyahu (1873-1962) was a feminist and Zionist activist who rallied for women’s right to vote. Ada Geller (1888-1949) was the first woman accountant in the city, who had to fight for years to obtain her official diploma. Rosa Ginzberg Ginossar (1890-1979) was the first woman to obtain a law certificate after eight years of struggle.
Mayor Nir Barkat’s comment on the decision: “The city council is aware of the importance of emphasizing the role of women in the development of the city.”
Academic practice
The Jerusalem School of Law at the Hebrew University is launching a series of encounters on various aspects of law practice and social cases as they appear on the daily agenda.
Under the title “Silence, Shooting,” the Wednesday encounters will take place at the faculty building on the Mount Scopus campus, presenting cases of incitement versus the freedom of expression in times of war.
The first session will take place on November 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Bronfman Hall. The debates will be moderated by TV news reporter Rina Matzliah and will feature former state attorney Moshe Lador and MK Orit Struck (Habayit Hayehudi), with Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, president of The Israel Democracy Institute.
French cinema The Institut Français de Jerusalem – Romain Gary invites Jerusalemites fond of the history of cinema to a special screening of films and live music as it used to be about 100 years ago. It is presented within the framework of a vast project run by the center called Open Jerusalem, headed by Vincent Lemire, an urban historian who researched the films made and photographs taken in the city over the past century. The screening will include a series of short films shot in various locations in the holy city, some of them the first ever filmed, showing these places as they looked then. A group of musicians playing Oriental tunes, led by oud player Fuad Abu-Ghanam, will provide musical accompaniment to the films.
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Romain Gary Center, Safra Square. Free.
Arts and protest
A dance performance at the Hansen Center on Monday evening turned into a stormy protest, which the police had some difficulty restraining. The program, scheduled a few weeks ago, was planned in cooperation with B’Tselem, the Israeli NGO for Human Rights in the Territories. It featured an interpretation of dance to the gestures of soldiers photographed by B’Tselem activists during their military activities, mostly at checkpoints.
Right-wing activists, who felt that the event was an unfair criticism of the IDF and Israeli soldiers, tried to have the event canceled, arguing that the venue was financed by taxpayers who hadn’t been asked if they agreed to see their money used for that purpose.
The event was not canceled, and the protesters held a demonstration during the program. However, despite the presence of policemen, the protest quickly escalated into a riot.
Some of the protesters managed to cut off the electricity, and it took about 10 minutes before the power was restored. The performance continued to its conclusion, and no arrests were made.