This week in Jerusalem: Halachic pastry

Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

Pastries from an introductory pastry confectionary course offered to young Haredi women by MATI – the Jerusalem Business Development Center and a local pastry shop (photo credit: MATI JERUSALEM)
Pastries from an introductory pastry confectionary course offered to young Haredi women by MATI – the Jerusalem Business Development Center and a local pastry shop
(photo credit: MATI JERUSALEM)
Halachic pastry 
Here is a sweet initiative, with an additional advantage at its side. A joint project of the municipality, MATI – the Jerusalem Business Development Center, and a local pastry shop has enabled an introductory course for haredi women in pastry confectionery. The aim is to give tools to haredi women between the ages of 17 and 21 who come from a low socioeconomic background to achieve some financial success.
The course teaches business initiative and the management of a business, along with a professional apprenticeship in pastry-making, under the tutelage of a local renowned pastry confectioner, Galia Agayev.
The project is promoted by the Keshet Haredim program of the youth-at-risk administration at Safra Square, which focuses on and helps young haredi men and women, to provide them with alternative frameworks after they finish school and do not plan to continue with higher education. All the programs are in accordance with the strict requirements of the Halacha, including kashrut.
Some of the women have already started to present their projects for marketing and hope to eventually develop their own pastry businesses.
Limits of age
In an epoch when the definition of old age is changing so quickly, it is perhaps of interest to hear some scholarly thoughts on the matter. The Israel Academy of Sciences presents, in the framework of its annual meeting, a thematic day dedicated to the various aspects of “time.”
Among the featured lectures, Prof. John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin will discuss a surprising, recently uncovered ancestor of Homo sapiens; Prof. Christos Papadimitriou of the University of Berkeley will talk about mathematical time; Prof. Nava Zisapel of Tel Aviv University will review the effect of jet lag and our bodily clocks; Prof. Nir Giladi, of Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University will speak about the time course of brain and cognitive deterioration in the elderly. Other lectures will offer reflections on time and art, archeological time, and whether time is active or passive, and why we do not understand history, from the perspective of time.
This is a rare gathering, in terms of both the variety of perspectives on time and the presentation of new findings in cutting-edge scientific and cultural disciplines, in language that is accessible to the general public. Participation in the meeting (in English) is free, but registration is required.
After 60 years
Teddy Kollek gave speeches there, as did Prof. Martin Buber. The special crown for the Torah scroll was a personal gift from Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, and the large library was a gift from the Rothschild family of Paris.
Kehilat Har-El, located between the Rehavia and Nahlaot neighborhoods, this year celebrates 60 years since its foundation. To this day, it is considered the cornerstone of all the Reform and liberal synagogues and communities that came after it in the country. The Reform movement counts by now 60 communities across the country, three of them in Jerusalem. The founders wanted to develop a place of worship that would be an alternative not only to the Haredi stream but also to the secular circles , and enable a prayer site open to all and egalitarian. The Har-El community also runs two kindergartens in its compound, located on Shmuel Hanagid Street.
Hair, another version
Libby Goldstein recovered, after three years of struggle, from cancer, and since then she has been deeply involved in helping other women to face one of the side effects of cancer treatment – loss of hair. Goldstein, who lives in Har Nof, collects hair from women who volunteer to cut their own hair for that purpose.
Last week, her activity reached a peak, with the special hair collecting she ran through her daughters’ school in the neighborhood. No fewer than 120 braids from the students were collected, of all colors and length, to make wigs for women undergoing treatments causing hair loss. The event was held in the framework of the Zichron Menachem association, which offers a large variety of activities and support for children with cancer and their families.
New dawn at ‘Yemenite Valley’
If all goes well at the Knesset, a bill submitted recently by MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) may finally bring some relief and hope to the residents of the “Yemenite Valley” – a small neighborhood in Ein Kerem – who for years have been threatened with eviction.
In the first years after the creation of the state, new olim were located there, for lack of housing solutions. The newcomers found there mostly stables and sheds, but built small houses over the years, and were recognized by the state as protected tenants. That was, in fact, the situation for most parts of Ein Kerem, but in the early ’80s most of the protected tenants of Ein Kerem were recognized as full owners of their houses, except – for an unknown reason – for the residents of the “Yemenite Valley.” Since, over the years, this location has become one of the most desired real estate locations, the residents have been requested to leave, without any rights.
Their struggle has won the support of Azaria, herself a resident of the city and former city council member, and now this bill should solve the problem and preserve the residents from any eviction notice. The bill states that they should be allowed to acquire full rights to the properties, at a maximum of 20% of the market price.
Back in business
It is hard to believe, but Pepe Alalu, former city council member and president of the Meretz list in the city for more than a decade, is making a comeback. Less than two years after retiring from politics and despite his age – approaching 75 – he says that, realizing that he had failed to promote any “serious personality” to run against Mayor Nir Barkat, he felt he had no choice other than to reenter the arena.
Alalu will have to deal not only with the probable difficulties on the ground but also with the very low enthusiasm of his own family toward his candidacy, but he says that he feels it is his duty. Alalu also pointed out that with him at the head of Meretz again, the list could get back to its golden past with at least four seats.
For the moment, Alalu is cautious not to announce his candidacy officially, and he is studying the various polls run by some of the other candidates before he goes public. At least one poll, which hasn’t been officially released, gives the keys to the city again to Barkat, if he should decide to run for a third time.
Emergency plus
One of the projects former deputy mayor Ofer Berkovitch has been promoting for the past two years is the renovation of Bikur Cholim Hospital. Located in the city center, the project is to include a modern and large emergency ward but also a large commercial and business center. At its completion, the project is to include 4,000 square meters of businesses, offices and shops, easily accessible in the city center, and is to provide job opportunities and boost the city’s economy. The project was approved earlier this week by the District Planning and Construction Committee, a decision that is likely to ensure its implementation in the near future.
A concept in art
A physician and an artist, Yaacobi is a painter who has found his own artistic language of expression in conceptual painting, where he has found ways to bring together on the canvass all the contrasts and inverses he could think of. Whether it is white versus black or up versus down, it all comes from his mathematical understanding that in order to present an idea, a concept, the diagonals are the best tools to use. The inverses are the two sides of something that have to be if not reunited then at least brought together on the canvas, perhaps as a metaphor for additional issues in life, too.
Born in Tunis, he moved with his parents to Paris when he was four years old. He completed his first painting when he was only 16, but painting and art in general have remained a sideline in his life, as he developed a career in medicine. Throughout the years, painting remained important but secondary to his path as a doctor.
Recently, however, there has been a change and, together with his wife, he now has a gallery, located in Talpiot, where his works are displayed. Medicine is still the center of his attention, but it seems that art and painting are gaining a more central place in his life. The gallery is located in a compound for artists and exhibitions on Horshei Habarzel Street in the industrial zone of Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood. For more information: 052-760-0975.
Expensive game
For Mayor Nir Barkat, the timing was embarrassing. The very high cost – no less than NIS 750,000 – of the trivia game included in the arnona (municipal tax) bill packet sent recently to all city residents was revealed. What juicy prey for the opposition at Safra Square! To think that while he was – and still is – struggling to obtain more funds for the city from the government, that was one of his priorities! True, the sum of NIS 750,000 is very far from meeting the needs of the city, which stand now at close to a billion shekels, but there is no question that this information provides ammunition to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who repeatedly accuses Barkat of mismanagement of the city’s budget. The peculiar decision to add this game to the packet about city taxes just now was probably one of the worst decisions made recently. The game itself is not such a bad idea to provide residents with some information on a series of projects in the city, in the framework of 50 years of the united city, but what poor timing!
Distinguished dozen
On Tuesday the municipality announced the names of this year’s 12 new Yakirei Ha’ir (distinguished citizens) who will be honored on Jerusalem Day. Men in the group slightly outnumber the women – seven to five. Among the illustrious individuals to be honored are renowned chef Shalom Kadosh, who has initiated and been involved in activities to promote understanding and peace between Arabs and Jews. Zippi Ron, a veteran of the Society for Protection of Nature in the city will be honored for her involvement in the field of green environment. Pnina Ein-Mor is included in the list for her achievements in empowering women in various aspects of the culinary arts and tourism in Ein Kerem, and Rabbi Daniel Tropper, founder of the Gesher Foundation, is to be awarded for working to bridge the gaps between the religious and secular sectors of society.