Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

Jerusalem Pride Parade (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem Pride Parade
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Tuning in
True to its name, the new Israel Broadcasting Corporation – popularly known as Kan, which is the Hebrew word for “here” – is making its presence felt.
On Sunday, a huge radio receiver was set up in the middle of the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall. Passersby can tune into one of five radio channels – all of them, of course, operated by Kan. The Eden Company (a subsidiary of the Jerusalem Development Authority responsible for the development and revival of the downtown area) is behind the project.
Operating on solar energy, the receiver will broadcast throughout the summer from 10 a.m to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and on Fridays from 10 a.m.
until one hour before Shabbat. The initiative is part of a larger project to renovate the city center and make it more attractive, particularly during high-tourist season.
More for SHALVA
MK David Amsalem (Likud), who heads the Knesset’s Interior Committee, has a history of trying to help local nonprofit organizations.
This time, Amsalem’s concern is directed toward SHALVA, the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel. The government funds 30% of SHALVAs budget; the rest comes from fund-raising. The nonprofit has recently moved into a new, modern location in town, and is having difficulty raising the necessary funds.
To this end, Amsalem recently presented a proposal to his committee requesting that the Local Government Center significantly raise the level of participation of the state in the financing of accessibility devices in public spaces – the cost of which comprises a significant portion of SHALVA’s budget.
Ethnic music lovers
If ethnic music from the East or Middle East is what you love, then the L.A.Mayer Institute for Islamic Art has something to offer.
Classical Arab and Persian music will be featured in a series of concerts on Thursday evenings starting in August.
Headlining the series are Amir Shahsar, Ziv Yehezkel, George Saman and Yair Dalal. A ticket for the entire series can be purchased for NIS 120, or NIS 60 per concert. For more information:
Going green
Five plans for new construction projects in the city have recently been approved by the Local Planning and Construction Committee and have been submitted to the District Planning and Construction Committee.
All five projects, which were submitted July 4, are located in Pisgat Ze’ev. One of the projects is for the construction of a nursing home in Pisgat Ze’ev West, close to the Beit Hanina neighborhood. Another is for the construction of a six-story commercial building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
In addition to the Pisgat Ze’ev projects, which comprise 948 units, the committee approved projects for the construction of 200 units in Ramot and 270 in Gilo. Sources at Safra Square say that these projects, along with the Glassman campus project (a yeshiva and dormitory) slated for construction at the entrance of Sheikh Jarrah, have been awaiting approval by the local committee for almost two years. All of these projects are over the Green Line and were frozen by the Prime Minister’s Office until recently, following the election of US President Donald Trump.
Meir Turgeman, deputy mayor and chairman of the Local Planning and Construction Committee, has declared more than once recently that he was ready to promote construction plans for Arab residents as well, but thus far, most of these plans have been submitted by private individuals for small construction projects. That said, one of the new projects is for a new building for the National Insurance Institute in Sheikh Jarrah, which will serve both populations in the area.
A matter of quality
The Jerusalem House of Quality, which faces the Old City walls at the junction of Abu Tor and Baka, is home to craft and artists’ workshops, but has recently added a series of exhibitions and musical events to its lineup.
An exhibition that opened this week features artist Yehonatan Roznak. A resident of Gush Etzion, Roznak’s Impressionist style highlights the landscapes of his native region, which, he explains, he learned as a student of the famous painter Leonid Balkalav. Roznak also teaches Torah and makes use of his art to express his teachings. “Painting is another way to express ties between the artist and the divine.”
The exhibit is open every day between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. (except Saturdays) until July 12.
Fighting words
Although the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, the city’s center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, has been in operation for 20 years, it seems that the matter of its financial backing by the municipality is still in question and perhaps in jeopardy.
At the recent municipal meeting to discuss financial support of local organizations and nonprofits, city councilors Arieh King (United Jerusalem) and Dov Kalmanovich (Bayit Yehudi), strongly backed by haredi city council representatives, blocked the committee’s approval to provide financial support for the Open House.
Officially, the reason is terminology.
For the past two years, in order not to offend haredim on the city council, the name of this particular budget section has been listed as “Support for social and cultural activities for communities that do not have other options to obtain such support” rather than the original “Support for the Open House.”
That rather strange solution worked until last week, when a request to allocate financial support to an organization representing the United Orthodox Synagogues was rejected by the committee on the grounds that the organization was able to secure financial support from other areas in the general budget.
Using that decision as a precedent, King and Kalmanovich were able to block the approval of the Open House budget.
The decision has been sent back for reconsideration to the municipal committee for budgetary matters.
With the Jerusalem Pride Parade just a month away, the Open House’s major financial backer is in limbo. It remains to be seen what the budgetary committee will decide at its next meeting, scheduled for the end of July.
One for all
Thirty thousand dollars: That’s the sum that 13-year-old Mendel Scheiner of Palm Beach raised within a few days to finance the bar mitzvas of 13 Israeli boys whose families cannot afford to finance celebrations. When it came time for his bar mitzva, Mendel decided that he would celebrate the special day in his young life in a different manner: He took on a project that would impact the futures of 13 underprivileged youths in Israel, teens he has never met.
It was done with the help of the Afikim Family Enrichment Association, a nonprofit established by Moshe Lefkowitz that provides educational opportunities for needy children in all societal sectors.
Mendel’s father, Rabbi Moshe Scheiner of the Palm Beach Synagogue, will lead the service at the Western Wall next week, together with Mendel’s siblings, many Florida residents and the families of the 13 bar-mitzva boys. Each of the boys will receive a pair of tefillin, a tallit, a siddur and a kippa.
Lefkowitz says this is a significant act for these boys, who otherwise might not have the opportunity to take part in the traditions. Following the festive affair, the group will be welcomed by President Reuven Rivlin at his residence. Lefkowitz, a haredi dedicated to working with non-haredi families and children, mostly families of olim from the former Soviet Union or Ethiopia, says this is exactly the type of act of kindness he’s been looking for, in that it entails “a bar mitzva boy choosing to do something about the future of kids less fortunate than himself; his father, the rabbi, leading the service; and Afikim helping by uplifting those in need.”
Too hot to handle
Considering the heatwave that has hit the region in the past few days, it was just a matter of time until a fire broke out in one of the forests around the city. On Tuesday morning, a fire erupted near the Sataf forest and threated to spread rapidly.
Residents of Ein Kerem said it took time for the firefighters to arrive and start extinguishing it, but almost three hours later the fire was already so fierce that it required 17 firefighters in four separate teams and four firefighting planes.
Visitors and tourists in Jerusalem have an impressive new attraction to enjoy – one that mixes ancient history with the latest advanced technology.
After all, aren’t we the start-up nation? The City of David’s Hallelujah Nighttime Presentation tells the story of the rebuilding of ancient Jerusalem. Projected onto the ancient ruins in the actual site where the history unfolded, this outdoor cinematic experience utilizes advanced projection mapping technology to trace the story of the city from the destruction of the Second Temple to the restoration of Israeli sovereignty.
The experience, approximately 75 minutes long, is comprised of two presentations: one show is projected against the backdrop of the Old City walls (from the Givati Parking Lot excavation) and a second show is projected on the ancient ruins of the City of David.
There is one English showing every evening, and two in Hebrew with simultaneous translation to English. It is not accessible to wheelchair users due to the limitations of the archeological site. More information: *6033.
Take the Blue Line
The past two meetings of the local planning and construction committee have been rather stormy. The latest one, which took place on June 28, ended with about 100 residents who oppose the route of the light rail’s Blue Line (through the German Colony’s Emek Refaim Street) leaving the committee room, protesting loudly. What preceded the outburst was the realization that the committee and its head had no real interest in hearing the residents’ complaints.
“It was really more a masquerade, to check it off, rather than really listening to us,” said Mordechai Avraham, a resident of Hananya Street (off Emek Refaim) and leader of the disgruntled group of residents.
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, head of the controller committee on city council and former holder of the Transportation portfolio, says it is clear that the planning and construction committee is not listening to nor representing the interests of the residents as it should.
“The whole plan, to run the Blue Line through Emek Refaim, was devised in a very amateur way,” she says, adding that the duty of the committee – to hear the objections presented before the project was submitted to the district committee – “was just a mockery of what should be the legitimate participation of the residents.”
Hassan-Nahoum managed to convince the committee’s haredi representatives to support residents’ objections to the Blue Line segment, hence the result was the closest thing to a victory of the residents over the establishment – with the decision of the committee to send the whole project back for reexamination.