This week in Jerusalem 440740

Peggy Cidor's round-up of city affairs.

Haboydem has opened a second branch (photo credit: Courtesy)
Haboydem has opened a second branch
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Short films, long memory
Are we in for another debacle? The Cinematheque is scheduled to screen short films on the Nakba – documentaries and short features about the stories of Palestinians who had to leave their villages in 1948. The event is organized by Zochrot, an Israeli organization aimed at keeping the memory of the Nakba alive. One of its major projects is to put up signs on the ruins of Arab villages on which kibbutzim or moshavim have been constructed after 1948.
Zochrot’s film festival “48 mm: The International Festival on Nakba and Return” is scheduled to take place on January 19, where 10 short films on the topic will be screened in the presence of the filmmakers. Shay Glick, a rightwing activist, has asked, through city council members, to cancel the event or to cancel the support given to the Cinematheque through the city’s cultural budgets. The festival is not part of the Cinematheque’s programs; Zochrot has rented the hall for the purpose.
Art Cube artists
The artistic committee of the Jerusalem Art Cube Artists’ Studios has chosen the resident artists for 2016. Shir Cohen, Hadas Duchan and Hadas Amster are the three laureates of the program for the new year. The Art Cube Studios offer artists, selected by a local jury and one foreign guest artist, the opportunity to use the city’s studios to work and create and exhibit their artwork at the end of the year.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., the new exhibition “Still/Life” will be on display in the gallery of Art Cube. It features works by David Adika, Einat Amir, Tal Amitai-Lavi, Einat Arif-Galanti, Orit Hemmo, Dana Levy and Eliezer Sonnenschein.
It is curated by Tamar Gispan- Greenberg, the recipient of the 2015 Art Cube Artists’ Studios Prize for a Jerusalem-Based Curator The group exhibition focuses on images of mostly cultivated vegetation, adapted by human beings for their own use and personal needs. The vegetation imagery underwent various processes, using artistic tools such as video, printing, photography and mixed media.
The art processes appear to freeze, replicate and produce an “improved” aesthetic of this vegetation as a continuation of mankind’s lording it over Nature. The result: an artificial image, plentiful and very sweet yet frozen and lifeless, crystallized by the oxymoron of the title “Still/Life.”
MASA at the Tower of David
The Tower of David Museum’s annual review of Jerusalem through the ages – in terms of history, culture, food and tourism – is here. MASA (a Hebrew acronym for encountering, touring and lectures) will accompany the museum’s series of encounters and programs of the same name throughout 2016. The first program is dedicated to food – to learn about the history of the eating habits and cuisine that have developed in Jerusalem over the centuries. Among other stories, participants will learn about the arrival of the pineapple in the city and about the link between the Jerusalem kugel and the famous Arab salad.
For registration and more details, call *2884.
Social outfit
A shop for secondhand clothing opened Sunday on 4 Herbert Samuel Street, next to Zion Square. Not just any store, it is the second branch of Haboydem – which employs only special- needs persons capable of working within a protected environment; the first branch is located in Talpiot.
Against the backdrop of the economic crisis, and the security situation notwithstanding, the aim is to carry on with normal life as much as possible in the downtown area.
Businessman Guy Lederman and social activist Guy Avihood joined forces to create the Haboydem model, and they stress the project’s advantages: employing people with special needs; developing and encouraging the recycling of used clothing; and encouraging people to buy good-quality garments at affordable prices.
The public is invited to visit the store and to contribute used clothing in very good condition.
Money time
The funding to aid city center businesses experiencing economic issues due to the security situation has arrived. NIS 70 million (out of a total of NIS 100m., of which NIS 30m. is earmarked for loans with easy conditions) are, as of this week, available for any such business – in amounts ranging from NIS 7,000 to NIS 50,000, according to the gravity of the needs. Owners of such businesses will have to prove they experienced at least a 25-percent drop in income during the last four months.
The rules for applying were released on Tuesday on the official municipality website, but the whole procedure is being done in interface with the Jerusalem Development Authority, which works in full coordination with Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin.
Most of the business owners have been waiting for weeks for this moment, while a few agents have been involved in obtaining these special budgets from the Treasury. Yet the way to the money is not a short one, and requires filling out lots of forms, which might – so say some of the business owners – cause some to drop the whole idea.
In addition, the money is not distributed directly to the owners, but goes toward a series of services and supplies that have been impossible to acquire due to the considerable loss of income caused by this recent terrorist wave.
Closing down
Four months of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem with no let-up in sight have had a heavy impact on its business life.
Besides the natural drop caused by the winter season – fewer people tend to go out when it’s raining hard or there’s even a risk of snow – there is no doubt that the deterioration in security has kept visitors and locals away from restaurants, bars and coffee shops. The result is quite sad; according to Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkowitz, holder of the Economic and Business Affairs portfolios, dozens of businesses, most of them restaurants, have shut down.
One of the first to do so was the Japanese restaurant Sakura, after 21 years of activity in Jerusalem. A well-known hummus eatery close to Sakura (on Yoel Moshe Salomon Street), Hummus Abu-Yoyo, has also closed down; the owners just left a note on the door, reading “Sorry guys, too much debt, we can’t go on.”
Other popular bars – Uganda Bar Jerusalem in the city center, Sirtaki in Mahaneh Yehuda and Radio-Bar on Heleni Hamalka Street have also been shuttered for the same reasons.
And now, even veteran and wellloved restaurant Eldad Vezehu has announced its closure. Eldad, which some 30 years ago brought a new concept to the city – a non-kosher meat restaurant (though it became kosher a few years ago).
And last but not least, Cavalier, which offered high-quality French cuisine on Ben-Sira Street, has shut its doors for much the same reason.
Restaurants and bars open and close for several reasons, economic considerations being important but not always the only issue.
Yet as Berkowitz put it, “There is no question that the city is experiencing a very serious crisis.”