This week in Jerusalem 467906

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Jerusalem municipality (photo credit: WWW.PIKIWIKI.ORG.IL)
Jerusalem municipality
(photo credit: WWW.PIKIWIKI.ORG.IL)
Whose honor is it?
Once a year, the employees of Jerusalem’s municipality hold a gala evening to mark Rosh Hashana. The event is organized by the employees’ committee but the mayor and the city council members are also among the guests.
The event includes a performance, generally by some of the most celebrated Israeli singers; this year the chosen artist is singer Eyal Golan. Golan is certainly a highly acclaimed musician, but he has acquired, during the past two years, a bad reputation, following a statutory rape charge. His case was brought to the court, which decided to close the suit due to lack of evidence for his part in the affair.
While it was proof for the singer that he was not guilty of anything, for many, including feminist associations, Golan has remained unwanted.
Upon hearing about the decision to invite him to the gala, city council member Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz sent a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat to cancel the invitation of the singer “who does not honor us by his presence.”
The problem is that Leibowitz, as a city council member, can only ask the mayor to reconsider the invitation, but the fact is that Barkat has no power to change anything, with the organization of the evening being in the hands of the employees’ committee. The event is scheduled for next Tuesday. For now, it is not clear whether Golan will perform.
Fashion battling cancer
Zichron Menachem, an organization dedicated to supplying immediate, practical and long-term aid and solutions to young cancer patients as well as physical and emotional support to their parents and families, had a fund-raising fashion show last week.
After refreshments and mingling, a large crowd of women attending the evening sat down to watch a fun and feel-good fashion show, recalls the organizer, Daniella Avihod. There were models of all ages and sizes. Some of the models were young women and girls from Zichron Menachem, battling cancer, who wore beautiful wigs made by designer Dvori Halperin.
The range of dresses, skirts and tops looked flattering, comfortable and absolutely stunning, while some accessories added the perfect touch.
Being a religious organization, all dresses at the show were modest, yet it was still fashionable and elegant. The show ended with a musical performance by the Fabian Girls.
Trading horses
Has special treatment – far beyond the rules – been given to a project to build a haredi (ultra- Orthodox) synagogue on a public plot of land? According to the rules, such projects (as well as kindergartens and community centers) can obtain a plot for free, but the associations (not available for private persons; only through non-profits) have to prove that they have the funds – or the capacity to get the sum – necessary to build on that plot.
In this particular case, an attorney representing Radin, a non-profit haredi association, presented the case as having assets (a few shops in Netanya) in his possession, that could serve as warranty for the right to obtain the plot. At the meeting of the committee for land and properties for public use at the municipality, it turned out that these shops were not in that lawyer’s possession and therefore could not be considered relevant.
The decision of the committee, headed by city council member Hanan Rubin (Hitorerut) was to give the association and its lawyer time to hold the attribution of land until the requested warranties would be presented. However, at the city council on the following day, Mayor Nir Barkat decided to bring the issue to a vote – which, thanks to his large coalition, was approved – and the plot was given to the association before it brought any new warranty, arguing that the city’s legal adviser had meanwhile (in less than 24 hours!) obtained proof that the requested warranties were presented.
Proud of big
Ever thought that your large frame is an asset and not an obstacle to you and your beauty? If so, there is an event for you: “Mesidabba” (a play on the Hebrew words for “party + portly”) will take place on Wednesday September 21 at the Masorti Movement offices in the city.
This is the fourth such party in which women of all ages who have been blessed by generous curves enjoy and share beautiful clothing, such that cannot be found among the current, “stylish” collections.
“We are fat women,” says Ariella Matar, the leading organizer of the event. “That’s a fact, not an insult. But we are fed up with those in fashion and style who do not see us or acknowledge our quest for beautiful clothing that fits our sizes.”
Matar adds that for too many large women, shopping is far from a pleasure – in fact, it is more likely to be a very unpleasant experience.
Therefore, she adds, there is a high demand for Internet shopping among them.
“That’s how the idea of a party for women like us was born,” she says. It is a party in which women can try, exchange and buy beautiful clothing suitable for sizes 46 and above. So if you have beautiful outfits in these sizes that you don’t wear anymore, put a price on them and bring them with you on Wednesday, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Masorti Movement offices, at 98 Hebron Road, Talpiot. (052-587-7724.)
Education Ministry prize
Tamara Mielnik, the founder of the Jerusalem Dance Theater and a performer herself, won the Education Ministry prize for 2016 this week.
Mielnik, born in Belgium to Holocaust survivors, founded one of the city’s first dancing schools, introducing modern dance through traditional teaching forms. In this way, she helped young girls meet the challenges of demanding exercises and rehearsals of a professional level.
Mielnik was also a dancer herself for many years.
She brought her own choreographies to the scene; one of her best creations being the well-acclaimed Sarah’s Tent.
The prize was given by the ministry with the aim of celebrating aspects of Jewish culture. Mielnik obtained it for her own achievements as well as for her relentless efforts to expose young girls to the arts.
Face-lift for Zion Square
The new design for Zion Square has been selected, following the municipality’s open call for architecture proposals. The square, sadly famous for repeated acts of violence and for being a place where rioters and hatred have too often arrived, hopes to change gears. Mayor Nir Barkat has asked the mother of Shira Banki, the girl stabbed to death last year at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade, to join the team which worked on choosing the best proposal for the square. Earlier this week, Barkat announced the winning proposal, out of quite a few that were submitted. Architects Maya Atidia, Tamir Manzur Carmel and Mayan Toki presented a project aiming to transform the place into an open, friendly and tolerant environment for years to come. Barkat’s call to the architects and planners was to “think about this place as one promoting understanding and tolerance towards each one,” something that the jury found in the three architects’ proposal. The three winners are Jerusalemites, all graduates from the Technion, who explain that they live and know each corner in the city center and Zion Square, at all times of the days and the year, and therefore could submit such a proposal.
Slihot, the special way
Reciting slihot, the special atonement prayers said in the days preceding Yom Kippur, has for a long time now become a “must” for every visitor and resident in Jerusalem – whether religious or not. Guided tours in the narrow and winding streets of the city center or in the Old City show that Jerusalem’s nights during this period are as alive as daytime. This year, even wheelchair users, will, thanks to Yad Sarah, be able to attend. The tours organized by the non-profit association are adapted to the special needs and limits of the participants, and will run through the Nahlaot neighborhood. Those with special transportation needs will be brought in the Yad Sarah shuttle vans, equipped with lifts and technical devices to ensure a safe journey. Professional guides will take the participants to many synagogues, to hear and participate in the prayers. The tours are intended for adults over 18. More details can be obtained at *6444.
Holy and healthy
We already know that Jerusalem is a holy city, but as of now, it is also going to be a healthy city with health-conscious residents.
An innovative project, the first of its kind in the country – and still a very rare in the world – is kicking off here soon. In the framework of a joint initiative, involving the Health Ministry (via the city’s public health administration) and the support of the city’s Renewal Team, the project aims to raise awareness of health issues among residents.
It does so by focusing on schools, kindergartens, community centers and even mobile health shuttles in the neighborhoods. It targets all ages to interest them in a more healthy lifestyle – through smart food choices, exercise and awareness of the benefits that a healthy way of life can bring.
Be ready to meet the emissaries of the project soon. They will be in community centers, parks, schools or even in well-being clinics for babies and toddlers. They will also be in all the neighborhoods of the city, including the haredi and Arab sectors.
They have been taught by experienced trainers, some of whom have graduated from the Wingate Institute.