This week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

A man poses with the new issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at a cafe in Nice. (photo credit: REUTERS)
A man poses with the new issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at a cafe in Nice.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
‘Jerusalem is Charlie’
A street in Jerusalem will soon be named after the late Rabbi Paul Roithman, one of the leading figures of the French rabbis and spiritual leaders of the French Jewish community. He died in 2007 in Jerusalem after having made aliya. Roithman was a leading figure in various activities aimed at helping and supporting underprivileged Jews in France and Israel. To that end, he and some friends established the Tzedek Torah Mizion organization. During World War II Roithman was a member of the Resistance, the movement in which many Jews were members, which fought against the Nazi occupation of France.
The rabbi’s name was already on the list of new street names, but the decision to bring it up at the city council meeting on Sunday was part of the municipality’s ceremonies and activities planned for that day to honor the memory of the 17 victims of the recent terror attacks in Paris.
Also on Sunday, 1,500 French flags were hung throughout the city, and a large poster, which Mayor Nir Barkat signed, read “Jerusalem est Charlie.” The residents of Jerusalem and visitors are invited by the municipality to add their thoughts, comments and remarks to the poster, which is located in Paris Square on King George Avenue.
Big Brother?
The end of one of the last privately owned public spaces or a necessary measure to fight against sexual crimes in places of entertainment? Opinions are divided regarding the latest instructions issued by the Jerusalem District Police, which require the presence of a guard at the entrance to the restrooms in nightclubs and other entertainment venues in the city. The decision came as a result of a significant rise in the number of sexual crimes and assaults that have taken place recently in the restrooms of several bars and clubs. The new instructions were distributed in the city center and in the bars and restaurants in Mahaneh Yehuda.
Additional measures require installing cameras and keeping track of the material photographed for at least a month. These measures may have a positive effect on the security of nightclubbers, but it seems that most of the bar owners are reluctant to apply them for fear that their clients might not want to frequent places where their privacy will be compromised.
Good for you – but not good
Healthful food doesn’t have to be bland or tasteless, but that is exactly what happened with one of the city’s ambitious projects. Following the success of the last year’s pilot project held in various public preschools, where healthful food was distributed to the children, the project was extended to 15 other kindergartens. However, according to some parents, the reaction of the most of the children to the nutritious food has been anything but positive.
“Most of the food is rejected by the children. It is ultimately thrown into the garbage, and the children remain hungry,” say members of the Parents’ Association.
Singing different tunes
After a relatively calm period on the Temple Mount, tensions between Muslims and Jews have renewed. On Monday morning, Muslim women welcomed a group of Jews with shouting, including the traditional “Allahu akbar,” to prevent them from entering the site. Two Jewish men decided to answer loudly with “Am Yisrael Hai,” trying to overpower the women’s voices. The two sides continued for a short while, until two policemen decided it was enough, and arrested them all – the two Arab women were released after a short interrogation. On an online video, which The Temple Institute says was originally filmed by a Muslim and put on an Arabic Facebook page, only the Arab women can be heard, but a couple of Jewish visitors stood facing the Arab worshipers and singing. The police forced them to disperse, each of the groups stepping out from a different side of the site.
Mazal tov
On Monday morning, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat took part in a particularly joyful mitzva – he was given the honor of being the sandak, or the holder of the baby during a brit mila, for the Gross family’s newborn. Yehonatan Eliezer Gross is the son of Michal and Shimi, who lost two daughters who were exposed to dangerous pesticides a little more than a year ago. Barkat said that “anyone has to be amazed by the parents’ moral strength and courage, and that he represented all the residents of Jerusalem in conveying his congratulations.”