This week in Jerusalem 451852

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Misgav Ladach Street in the Jewish Quarter. (photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Misgav Ladach Street in the Jewish Quarter.
(photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)
Passover in the Jewish Quarter
A wide range of events for the whole family will be available during Hol Hamoed, including an exhibition of archeological findings from the period of King Hezekiah, a guided audiovisual tour of the locations central to the history of the Jewish people, an evening of liturgical songs (piyutim) at the renovated Hurva Synagogue and a series of educative and varied activities for children, too. These activities will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the guided tour will run each hour from 9 to 6, including two tours for English-speakers (at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). The guided tours of the Hurva Synagogue will take place on Sunday and Monday only, at 1 p.m. in English and at 2 p.m. in Hebrew. If you prefer wandering around in the Jewish Quarter without a guide, you may do so with an individual audio guide in several languages, including English, Russian, French, Spanish and of course Hebrew. Additional activities for the whole family will take place also in the Archeological Garden at the Davidson Center, where children – and adults, too – may reconstruct the Western Wall with special game stones.
A family ticket costs NIS 160 and gives you access to all these activities. More details can be obtained at *4987 or A kosher-for-Passover coffee shop will be open at the Davidson Center throughout the holiday.
Night lines
The special night-line buses are back for the holiday season. The lines will run throughout the Passover holiday, in the city and across the country, from midnight to 4 a.m. These lines will serve an expected 100,000 young passengers, and their cost will remain the same as on public buses. And this year, there is something new: Employees of the Night Lines will offer cups of coffee to the young adults around the entertainment locations in the city center, and will see that they refrain from driving if they have been drinking alcohol. This summer, according to the Night Lines management, they will transport about 700,000 youth to and from the city center entertainment sites. More details are available at or at *8787.
Rappelling from the Old City walls
From the Jaffa Gate to the Zion Gate, an added wall will enable those who dare to test their rappelling ability, while actors, featuring some of the characters of the history of the city, will meet the rappelers on the top of the walls. And for those who would rather not try this extreme sport, Zedekiah’s Cave, near the Damascus Gate, will host a group of klezmer musicians. Entry to the cave costs NIS 5 for children and NIS 10 for adults. Tickets are available at Jaffa Gate. The rappelling is for adults and children from the age of nine.
Valley of the Kings
A new attraction for visitors, with activities for families, is a special circuit in what is known as the Valley of the Kings, below the walls of the Old City inside the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. Ir David offers short tours on camelback, workshops on archeological findings, music and theater shows and guided tours. Shuttles transport visitors to and from Ammunition Hill (near the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood) along the light rail line every half hour. All the activities in the Valley of the Kings site during the holiday will take place from Sunday, April 24, to Wednesday, April 27, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and they are all free.
Pilgrims, then and today
Despite the shaky security situation, thousands of pilgrims are still expected to converge on Jerusalem for Passover, one of the three traditional festivals for Jewish pilgrims to come to the Holy City in addition to Shavuot and Succot. Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin has financed a project in which, as required by the Mishna, the roads and venues will be prepared for the pilgrims, to make them feel comfortable. Renewing this beautiful tradition, and adapting it to our times, the roads leading to the Old City have been cleaned and repaired, and smartphone applications in four languages have been prepared. Public toilets along the roads have been made accessible for disabled persons and signs near historical points have been added.
A street museum
Not exactly a part of the planned attractions for the tourists and pilgrims of this holiday, but still deserving a visit, is the street museum-exhibition initiated by Knesset director-general Ronen Plaut. Surrounding the extensive renovation of the historical site of the Knesset until 1964, an exhibition of large-scale photos are on display around the building. On the corner of King George and Be’eri streets, in city center, at Beit Frumin, which hosted the Knesset until the permanent building was ready, large panels portray the life of the young parliament. Photos – all in black and white – of former prime ministers, presidents, ministers and Knesset members tell the story of the first years of the newly born State of Israel, and depict some of the most important and interesting events of those days. The renovation of the building includes the restoration of some of the principal venues inside, including the assembly hall, the first buffet and the Prime Minister’s Office.
‘Oleh, oleh’ in excellency
Five olim – new-immigrant students from the US – were honored by the Education Ministry’s Jerusalem District for their outstanding achievements last week.
The five students, who received certificates of excellence for their academic, moral and social achievements, made aliya from the United States recently with the assistance of the Nefesh B’Nefesh association and in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund and JNF-USA.
Love and hope
For those who are not too tired on the morning following the Seder night, a concert of music of hope and love will be held on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Beit Jamal Monastery, near Beit Shemesh. Soloists from the Israeli Opera, Larissa Tatayev and Konstantin Kotlenikov, will present a program of arias and duets, accompanied by pianist Ella Passik. After the concert, attendees can enjoy a guided tour of the monastery, the winery and the olive oil produced there, or a visit to the ceramic workshop.
Tickets are NIS 60 and free for children up to age 10. More details: Elinor, 054-627-6690.
Birds and gazelles
Other than music and touring in the Old City, Jerusalem offers many other activities on the holiday. The Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the nearby Gazelle Valley offer the following activities: • Sculpture workshop in the midst of nature. Make a statue from clay at the Gazelle Valley Park, with staff of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.
• Night safari at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.
Explore and search for owls, bats, porcupines and more at 7 p.m. Search for signs of wildlife, insects and birds and learn how to be a nature detective, also at 7 p.m.
• Flower walk in the Gazelle Valley Park. Search for wild flowers and learn how to identify them with staff of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.
• Early-morning bird walk in the Rose Garden, to enjoy the migrating birds and flowering roses with the Jerusalem Bird Observatory staff, at 7:30 a.m.
All activities cost NIS 25 for adults; NIS 20 for children.
For more details and registration, call: (02) 653-7374.