This week in Jerusalem 407807

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

People walk under colourful umbrellas decorating a pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem June 30, 2015. (photo credit: CINDY AZOULAY)
People walk under colourful umbrellas decorating a pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem June 30, 2015.
(photo credit: CINDY AZOULAY)
Umbrella organization
Eden, the city’s subsidiary company for developing the center of town, launched an initiative this week to make summer in the city a little more fun – beginning with umbrellas.
The project is starting off in the narrow streets of Nahalat Shiva, which now have multicolored umbrellas hanging overhead. The umbrellas are wide open, providing not only a colorful attraction, but also some shade for pedestrians during the hot and sunny summer days.
Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkovitch, who is chairman of Eden, has promoted the initiative to turn the city center into a lively and active location. The aim is also to help merchants and develop economic life there by investing not just money, but innovative ideas.
Berkovitch says the umbrella project is only one in a series of ideas that will transform the city center completely and provide significant economic support for the city. For this week, the street boasting umbrellas is Yoel Moshe Salomon Street, the main road in the Nahalat Shiva neighborhood, where many bars and restaurants are located.
But the plan is to hang umbrellas in additional areas throughout the city center and locations attracting visitors.
A brush with art
Artist Hanan Mazal is giving a painting workshop on Friday between 10 a.m and 1 p.m at the Art Shelter in the Mekor Haim neighborhood.
Mazal is exhibiting together with Israel Feldman at the Art Shelter gallery, which is located at 7 Yehuda Hamaccabi Street. Visitors can bring their brushes (for water colors) and enjoy a morning of arts and soul food before Shabbat.
The Art Shelter regularly provides painting lessons, workshops and gallery talks on artistic subjects, and has an exhibition gallery with new works every few weeks.
Olympic city
For the first time, Jerusalem has been selected to host the International Children’s Games in summer 2018. The ICG will bring 2,000 children, ages 12 to 15, from 100 cities in 70 countries worldwide, to the capital for two weeks of sports and games.
The choice of Jerusalem “puts the city on the map of the world,” said Mayor Nir Barkat on receiving the announcement. The city’s Sports Administration, headed by Itzik Kornfein, presented Jerusalem as an option to the Olympic committee on the children’s games, and managed to convince the decision-makers that Jerusalem was the best place to hold the event.
The children, along with instructors, trainers and probably family members, will come to the capital and take part in basketball, streetball, soccer, judo, swimming, athletics and other games, all in the city’s modern sports complexes.
Tracks to the future
A second light rail line connecting the Gilo neighborhood to Mount Scopus and the Hebrew University campus there received approval this week. This route is the latest step in plans to connect almost every point in the city through the light rail. Spanning 20 km., the new line is expected to transport about 145,000 travelers a day.
Another line, which will continue from the Givat Hamivtar station to Mount Scopus on one side, and to the HU campus at Givat Ram in the other direction, is already at an advanced stage of planning.
Lost millions
NIS 7 million has somehow gone missing between the Treasury in Givat Ram and the municipality at Safra Square. While that’s not such a long distance, the money – which former finance minister Yair Lapid promised with the aim of increasing the city’s arts and culture budget – hasn’t arrived yet. In fact, no one knows exactly when the money is expected to reach its destination, if at all.
The problem is that because the Treasury had already committed the NIS 7m., the sum was registered in the city’s 2015 budget, so the city treasurer withdrew it and allocated it for other purposes.
Who is going to fill the gap? That’s what Pepe Alalu, who headed the city council’s Meretz list until this week, is asking. But the situation is not clear. The money may finally reach the city’s cultural institutions as intended, but it may not do so through the city’s treasurer; the Finance Ministry is now saying it will give the funds to the culture and sport minister, who in turn will give it directly to Jerusalem cultural institutions. However, Alalu maintains that this is still no guarantee that the money will reach its intended destination.
Vacation, vacation!
Summer is here, and 167 children in kindergartens and elementary schools across the city are starting their two-month break from classes.
Their counterparts in junior high and high schools – some 25,000 students – have been on vacation since last week. By mid-July, the universities and colleges will join them, and all of these young people will be finding ways to spend their leisure time, with some taking summer jobs or (for the younger ones) going to summer camps.
The city’s education administration says that more than 6,000 children are registered for an 11th month of kindergarten, while pupils in grades three to six are going to summer camps or vacation programs affiliated with youth movements.
However, this situation has also led to safety concerns, and the city and the local police are working to provide solutions. One is the recently formed parents’ patrols, which will attempt to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol, and any other dangers that may arise on the streets.
In their memory
Bar-Ilan University is hosting a conference on July 6 in memory of Rabbi Yosef and Rabbanit Bracha Kapach, who were leading members of Israel’s Yemenite community and had the rare distinction of having each been an Israel Prize laureate. Rabbi Kapach was recognized in 1969 for his contribution to Jewish studies, and Rabbanit Kapach in 1999 in recognition of her amazing charitable works and her contributions to society and the state. Among the many awards that Rabbi Kapach received was that of an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan. To date, the Kapachs were the only married couple to each be awarded the Israel Prize.
Rabbanit Kapach was only 11 years old when she married her first cousin. When they immigrated to the Land of Israel seven years later, she was already a mother of three children, one of whom died en route. Not long after reaching the Holy Land, she gave birth to a son.
The Kapachs lived in modest surroundings in Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood, where she initially started a Yemenite embroidery factory, employing 50 Yemenite women so they could have an income from which to support their families. In addition, she provided food packages and clothing, including bridal gowns, and cash to some 1,400 of Jerusalem’s needy every year. Just before Shabbat or any Jewish holiday, they would line up outside her apartment and would never go home empty-handed.
Rabbi Kapach was renowned for the breadth and depth of his learning and was a dayan in the Supreme Rabbinical Court.
In addition to presentations by learned rabbis and academics, the conference will be addressed by filmmaker Einat Kapach, who is a graduate of the Ma’aleh Film School and is its director of international relations and special projects. Another member of the family, Rabbi Ofer Kapach, who is also known for his Torah scholarship, will be the moderator of the conference. – Greer Fay Cashman