This week in Jerusalem 429801

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, October 21 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, October 21
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Back to shul
On Monday morning police closed most of the entrances to the lowest part of the Silwan neighborhood, to enable the evacuation of the Abu Na’an family from a building owned by the Ateret Cohanim association, in line with a court ruling. The building, located not far from the seven-story Beit Yehonatan building inhabited by 10 Jewish families, is part of Ateret Cohanim efforts to bring as many Jewish families as possible to reside there. This part of the neighborhood was once completely inhabited by Jews who walked their way to Jerusalem last century, and has since been known as the “Yemenite Neighborhood” (Shechunat Hateimanim). The large Abu Na’an family lost their case at the Jerusalem District Court and were ordered to leave the building, which was the pre-1948 synagogue for the Yemenite community. Part of the family agreed to leave one wing of the structure a few months ago after Ateret Cohanim offered them compensation; the other part of the family refused to obey the ruling and was therefore evacuated by police this past week. A spokesman for the family announced that they will camp on the street, facing the house from which they were evacuated.
Back to school
In the tense atmosphere connected with the current terror wave, no fewer than 40,700 university students began the new academic school year in Jerusalem on Sunday. Mayor Nir Barkat, who visited the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus on opening day, stressed that “despite the security situation, the campus is full of students and activities.”
According to municipality data, this year some 70 percent of the students attending the city’s academic institutions will study for a bachelor’s degree, 40% will study humanities and 12% will study social sciences. Also, it appears that being a Jerusalemite might be a lead-in to studying at one of the city’s academic colleges – 37% of these students attended a city high school, compared with only 22% of students at the Hebrew University. As for students at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design – 83% of them lived in Jerusalem prior to their studies there. And last but not least: only 28% of the students in city academic institutions remain in Jerusalem after graduating.
Save Mother Nature
A petition has been initiated by residents of the Ramot neighborhood and nature lovers throughout the city to stop the government’s plan to build 1,600 housing units on the slopes of Ramot Heights. The plan, promoted by the Interior Ministry – and opposed by the city’s local planning and construction committee, as well as the mayor – is considered by experts to be a serious threat to rare flora species in the area.
The local neighborhood council and the municipality are interested in promoting an alternative development plan for this area – a natural park, to benefit both the local species and residents.
A decisive meeting of the committee ill be held at the ministry on November 11, which will be open to the public. Activists for the cancellation of the construction call on residents to attend the meeting, and to sign their petition to stop the plan.
Signs of the times
The terror attacks of these past weeks have prompted several local initiatives – one of them to help elderly people get their medications without having to put themselves in danger. Hasdei Naomi, a well-known local association for the elderly and underprivileged, has gathered dozens of volunteers who take the prescriptions and bring the medications to those requiring them. The association distributes food baskets throughout the year, with a network of volunteers who bring the baskets to the homes of the disabled elderly. Now, in addition to the prescription assistance, it will also help single mothers afraid to walk alone in the streets as they bring their children to and from kindergartens.
Those interested in volunteering or in need of these services can learn more at:
From Prague with love
Terrorist attacks in the streets of Jerusalem have not discouraged Noah, the Prague-based male choir, as they are here to give a concert. It will take place at the Hebrew Union College campus on King David Street on October 28 at 8 p.m. The Noah Choir is hosted by the Bel Canto mixed choir, part of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir, in a special program of Jewish songs interpretation, mostly originating in hassidic songs and music. A klezmer duo will join the choir on clarinet and accordion, all under the baton of conductor Tamasz Novotny.
Tickets (NIS 60; NIS 50 for students) are available at 054-301-8938.
The best for the industry
The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry recently allocated NIS 4.5 million to integrate students into Jerusalem-based industries (primarily hi-tech and biosciences) as a national priority area. The program will grant up to NIS 10,000 for each student and up to NIS 20,000 to employers of students in the project framework. The aim is to support in-factory training and employment for students who have chosen to remain in the city (or live here, in any case) and develop a career, strengthening the connection between theoretical academia and industry and providing an opportunity for students and graduates with no industrial experience to find their place in Jerusalem and specialize.