Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs.

The Jerusalem aquarium (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Jerusalem aquarium
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Which street?
The city’s committee for street and square names recently decided upon women to be added to the city’s sites – two writers and a judge are among those who lived here and whose deeds justified their remembrance. Supreme Court justice and state comptroller Miriam Ben-Porat, poet and Israel Prize laureate Miriam Yalan-Shteklis and writer Dvora Omer will have streets or a square in their name. In addition, a request to right a wrong was rejected, and the mistaken name will remain. Ein Yael, a popular site for outdoor activities, will not be revised to “Ein Eyal,” its proper name, due to concern expressed by committee members that this could confuse the public.
Remembering Hadas and Hadar
For those who might have noticed the gathering of a few hundred Border Police officers close to the Old City walls last week, here is the explanation. Well over 400 members of the force, men and women, marched on the walls as a gesture of honor to remember two of their own – Hadas Malka and Hadar Cohen, who were killed on duty in the recent months. The fathers of Malka and Cohen were present and ended the homage by participating in a large slihot service – the special prayers said before Rosh Hashana – which took place in Zedekiah’s Cave near the Damascus Gate, where the two were attacked and killed by Palestinians.
Slihot, no fun
Over the past few years, participation in “slihot walks,” whether as part of a guided tour or for prayers, has become a must. Yet not everyone is happy about this very-early-morning trend. After residents of Nahlaot – which, with its many small Sephardi synagogues, has always attracted tourists and visitors searching for tradition and nostalgia – protested against the noise disrupting their sleeping hours, now it’s the turn of residents of the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. During the month of Elul, and even more in the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the growing number of visitors following guides explaining things with a microphone have become a nightmare for the residents, who do not all participate in these events. While in Nahlaot the protests centered on residents’ requests to avoid the use of microphones, residents of the Jewish Quarter showed a bit of creativity. Last week, a large group of them appeared in the narrow streets of the neighborhood while dressed in their pajamas, and in the square at the Hurva Synagogue, where all the slihot tourists gather, they stood with signs saying that even in a zoo the animals are entitled to peace and quiet at night. For the moment, there are no signs that anything will change and it seems that residents will have to choose between joining the visitors or simply giving up some of their sleeping hours. Last year according to police estimates, there were close to half a million visitors in the last week of the Slihot; the same – if not more – are expected this year.
Police: The next generation
MILA, the Hebrew acronym for Israel Police for Youth, is a project run by the police in various cities – and now in Jerusalem. It aims to give youth a different perspective on police activities and through this to prevent illegal or dangerous activities. The boys and girls are given a closer look at police work, meet members of various units, participate in workshops on the bad influence of drugs and alcohol, and more. They are also given tips on how to react in emergency situations and in cases where they are exposed to drugs and alcohol through either their use or sale. The most recent program ran in Pisgat Ze’ev for several weeks, ending last week with a special evening that included a talk about that had been seen and discussed, open talk between police and the youths, and a giant barbecue.
The guest of honor was Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman.
All the participants emphasized that the program had helped change their attitudes toward the police, who were now viewed less as a threat and much more as allies in fighting bad influences.
Mystery at the market
“After Shuk,” a new cultural event conceived for and presented in the Mahaneh Yehuda area, combines mysticism, dance and street theater, looking at current realities through the lenses of ancient languages and ways of expression. The “Mystery” theater is a Jerusalem troupe that draws most of its inspiration from the legends of Jerusalem in ancient times. It uses movement as way of expression more than it does words, albeit in the theater traditions. Members perform mostly in unusual locations rather than in regular theaters and halls. In the performance that took place last week in the shuk, the public was given special lenses that added a “virtual” dimension to the show. The company has in the past performed in Tel Aviv, but it prefers to remain in Jerusalem in order to include various aspects and locations of the city in its future productions.
Jerusalem in the sea
It took two months and a few dead fish, but it is finally here. The giant aquarium near the Biblical Zoo is open to the general public as of this week, albeit as part of a breaking-in period. During this time, there will only be guided tours for a restricted number of persons.
At 7,000 square meters, thousands of fish native to 20 different countries in Africa and Asia, including sharks and much more, await the visitors. Entry fees are not included in the fees for the zoo; for now, they are NIS 40 for adults and children aged three and up, and NIS 30 for seniors and soldiers. It is recommended to reserve tickets in advance.