This week in Jerusalem 484371

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Runners in the 2016 Jerusalem Marathon jog uphill ahead of some 25,000 others who took part in the event (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Runners in the 2016 Jerusalem Marathon jog uphill ahead of some 25,000 others who took part in the event
All ye runners
The seventh Jerusalem “Winner” Marathon kicks off this morning with the highest number of participants ever – more than 30,000 runners, locals and guests from more than 60 countries.
Marking 50 years since the reunification of the city of Jerusalem, the marathon is considered one of the hardest to run, with many climbing segments, but it also offers one of the most beautiful landscapes to enjoy. The marathon offers a choice of circuits for professional runners, seniors and families – including toddlers in strollers and grannies.
Mayor Nir Barkat is running this year on a 10-kilometer segment, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at Sacher Park at 10:45.
While the panting runners are busy scaling the many hills, the public is invited to visit the large Health and Sports exhibition that traditionally accompanies the Jerusalem marathon, on display at the Payis Arena. The exhibition will be on display for three days.
New job
As a result of its moving out of the coalition, the Yerushalmim faction is now leading the opposition at city council. Following their refusal to support Mayor Nir Barkat’s strike last month, the three members of the list left his coalition and joined city council’s sole opposition member until then, Laura Wharton (Meretz).
According to city council rules, the largest list in the opposition automatically becomes its head and assumes presidency of the controlling local committee. The job was therefore handed over by Wharton to city councilwoman Fleur Hassan-Nahum, who, as of this week, is serving in the prestigious position. This is, in fact, the most important position in city council, since i t i s the only tool that the opposition – representing the residents – has to control the mayor’s actions and policies and it confers power to check and act in any case of blatant rule-breaking.
Hassan-Nahum has declared that she pledges to work in her new position to benefit all residents, side-by-side and in full cooperation with Wharton.
Kosher escape
Moving to the opposition on city council has infused the Yerushalmim list with new energy. Last week the faction’s three members – Aaron Leibowitz, Fleur Hassan-Nahum and Itai Gutler – showed up to show solidarity with the owner of an escape room operating on Shabbat at the First Station, following intimidation from the haredi sector.
The escape room began to function recently from a bus located at the First Station. The compound is located on a public plot that belongs to Israel Railways and has been leased to the municipality. The tender for its operations as a leisure and culture venue was won by businessman Avi Murdoch.
Some of the restaurants inside – as well as other activities, such as the children’s site – are open on Shabbat, while kosher restaurants there are closed on that day.
Nobody knows who attempted to intimidate the owner of the escape room, but the result was that it was closed last Shabbat. The three Yerushalmim city counselors declared that they will continue to express full support for any restaurant or other venue that haredi activists pressure to close.
Buried in peace
At the annual meeting of the national council of cemeteries in Jerusalem last week, the city’s burial societies addressed the topic of funerals at the Mount of Olives cemetery.
Security has been significantly improved following installation of 173 cameras linked to a police observation center, and there are still more to come.
A private security company has been deployed there to help assure the safety of mourners and visitors. Accordingly, there was an increase of more than 100 burials during 2016 as compared to 2015. The security measures have also resulted in a dramatic reduction in vandalism to graves, and this has contributed to the renewed interest in burying loved ones in the ancient Jewish graveyard facing the Temple Mount.
Bad memories, beautiful pictures
Hana “Hanka” Batista, a Holocaust survivor who lives in Jerusalem, has found a touching way to cope with the terrible memories of her childhood in Poland during World War II: she paints beautiful things. This activity helps her to escape the painful recollections that haunt her of being raised in a foster family in Poland after her parents disappeared.
While Batista is still traumatized by her childhood suffering, her paintings depict the beauty that can be found in life all around us. She paints flamingos, mountains, trees, copies famous works of art – and even some self-portraits – all strengthening her quest for life and beauty as a refuge from painful musings.
An exhibition of her works is being held at the Beit Yehudit Community Center (12 Emek Refaim Street) and will continue until April 15. Batista has also written a book on her life and experiences, which is available for purchase there. Entry is free.
Jerusalem, we love you
Have you heard that Jerusalem is being left behind by thousands of young adults who don’t want to live here? That may not be true.
A recent survey of the younger generation – locals and students from outside the city – found that young educated adults wish to remain in Jerusalem and even urge their friends to move here.
Surveying 9,000 young adults (aged 21 to 40) living here, the municipality’s Youth Authority found that 75% of the participants in the survey are highly satisfied with their life in the city. Seventy-four percent said they would recommend living here to their friends. About three-quarters of the student respondents are highly confident they will find appropriate employment upon graduating – especially in bio-tech, engineering, computer sciences, education and medicine.
Eighty percent said they believe they will secure a position in the city itself; 85% intend to stay in Jerusalem after finishing their studies here.
The survey results will be among the topics examined at the first conference on perspectives for the future in the city for the young generation, which will take place at the Alliance Israelite Universelle building on Agrippas Street on March 21.
Young inventors
Seventy young students from across the country will spend three days at the Bloomfield Science Museum next week in the framework of a competition to identify the best invention these students develop.
The competition targets “young and developing scientists” aged 16 to 20 who are interested in developing innovative products: a device individually adapted to help stroke victims to walk again, a special device to track the functioning of mechanical heart valves and more.
This is the 20th time that this competition is taking place as an initiative of the Bloomfield Museum and this year it has a record number of girls participating – with 35 female students and 31 males selected from more than a thousand applicants. The three competition winners will be awarded prizes at a festive Knesset ceremony on March 21.
A city of light and ice
Imagine, in the heat of July, a refuge on an icy surface that can satisfy one’s yearning for a cool environment.
Thanks to the 20th Maccabiah Games, which will open in the Payis Arena next July, the icy dream is becoming reality.
The large ground surface of the arena will be covered by a thick coat of ice meeting strict European standards, heralding a new attraction in the city. The 1,800-sq.m.
rink where the Maccabiah hockey games will be held is designed to be easy to dismantle and install, facilitating relocation to other sites in the city upon request. Five international concerns with expertise in devices of this kind responded to the tender, which in the end was granted to the Austrian AST company. The professional ice rink will add to the status and appeal of the city as a leader in sports facilities and venues.
Manly art
Is there such a thing as masculine art? Itzik Harush, from the Musrara-Naggar School of Art, has launched an exhibition under the intriguing title of “For He Didn’t Make Me a Woman,” with more than a casual link to International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8.
The show is at the Morel Derfler Gallery in the Musrara School compound in the Musrara neighborhood. Only male artists are included (all graduates of that school) as exhibitors and their works reflect their interpretation of the situation of men.
Philosopher Gabriel Bokobza wrote recently that men are trapped in the image of what a man should be and how he should act. The exhibition asks whether an artist, as a man, sees, understands and works differently – and what it means to be a man and an artist in our generation.
The gallery is open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.