THREE MORE post offices bit the dust. Over the past two weeks, people with postal boxes in the Jaffa Road branch in the vicinity of the Central Bus Station, on Agrippas Street near Mahaneh Yehuda Market and in the pre-state post office on Keren Kayemeth Street were notified that the post office was closing down. In the case of the latter, they could still receive postal services at the post office at 23 Jaffa Road or the one at 42 Tchernikovsky Street.
These are not necessarily the two nearest post offices to Rehavia, Talbiyeh, Nayot and surrounds. There is also a post office on Emek Refaim, but perhaps that is also destined for closure, which may be the reason that it was not mentioned. It would certainly be more convenient for senior citizens living close to a bus route, as there is a bus stop directly outside the post office.
The post office on Chopin Street closed down a few years ago. Aside from being convenient for the people living on Chopin Street and nearby Palmach and Jabotinsky streets, it was directly across the road from the Jerusalem Bar Association and a real boon for its members.
The post office on Keren Kayemeth Street was opposite the side entrance to the national institutions: the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund and the United Israel Appeal. Moreover, it was a few doors away from the Gymnasia Rehavia school, whose students could post mail and pay utility bills on the way to or from school.
Among the students who were directly or indirectly connected to the post office were former president Reuven Rivlin; former ministers Nachman Shai and Dan Meridor; late Supreme Court president Miriam Naor; Yoni Netanyahu, who led the Entebbe rescue operation; late chief of staff of the IDF, archaeologist and politician Yigal Yadin; best-selling novelists A.B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz; high-ranking military man, politician and diplomat Matan Vilnai; and many others who are household names.
For many years, most of the who’s who of Jerusalem lived in Rehavia, and many of the country’s legendary figures would meet at the post office, whether by accident or design. This particular post office was also less than a five-minute walk away from the official residence of president Yitzhak Ben Zvi, who used to freely wander the area when there was far less need for security precautions. Likewise, the rear entrance to the current President’s Residence was diagonally opposite the Chopin Street post office.
In the first months of his tenure, President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal, took walks around the area to familiarize themselves with the environment, which is somewhat different to that of their private home in Tzahala.
NOT ONLY are post offices disappearing from the terrain – so are banks. Three banks on Ben-Yehuda Street and Jaffa Road have been converted into sort of commercial premises. In some cases, customers’ accounts were transferred to other branches without consulting the customer as to which other branch might be convenient.
Fixed deposit accounts were opened in other branches as new accounts, thus losing out on interest because customers were not notified in advance. There was also a very difficult bureaucratic process in transferring accounts to the branch requested by the customer.
Although the digital age is overtaking everything, many people prefer to pay for their utilities by cash or credit card. Up until mid-January of this year, the post office was preferable to the bank because its services were free of charge, whereas the bank charges for every service.
But in mid-January, the post office introduced a NIS 2 charge for processing bills for water, electricity and arnona, and a NIS 50 charge for seven months for delivering mail that had previously been sent to post office boxes. The only good thing was that surplus money for pre-paid use of post office boxes was automatically refunded.
What will happen in seven months’ time is anyone’s guess.
Meanwhile, some of the employees on Keren Kayermeth have been transferred to other post offices, very far from home. Some have taken early retirement; some have been dismissed; and some have not yet been informed of whether they will be employed or unemployed in the month ahead.
A FEW years ago there were large metal cages on many street corners where residents were asked to deposit plastic bottles. There was also a special dumpster for paper and a regular dumpster for everything else. And then, without warning, these special repositories disappeared. Now they have reappeared in a different format.
Similar to dumpsters in shape and size, there’s an orange one for plastic and metal, and a gray one for glass. Mayor Moshe Lion is determined to keep the city clean, and the fact that many people left plastic and glass jars and bottles on the pavement may have contributed to the new facilities for disposing of them. However, the gray and orange dumpsters are few and far between, which means that a lot of residents will continue to leave bottles on the pavement or throw them into the green dumpster.
THE GINOT Ha’Ir and Gananim community centers invite elderly Talbiyeh and south Rehavia residents to a weekly coffee meeting that will take place every Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Talbiyeh Patisserie in the Jerusalem Theater, 20 Marcus Street. These meetings will enable participants to make new friends and renew acquaintanceships with existing friends who somehow dropped by the wayside – and, of course, to discuss the issues of the day.
SENIOR CITIZENS are also targeted by Torat Reva Yerushalayim, which encourages the group study of Torah and other religious texts by residents living in nursing homes. Too many of these residents are either without family or are neglected by their relatives. To help brighten their lives, Torat Reva will distribute a minimum of 350 Purim packages that will contain Purim treats and healthy snacks to residents of seven of the capital’s nursing homes. A donation equivalent to $18 will cover the cost of each package. Torat Reva also sends more substantial Purim packages to soldiers. Each basket for a soldier costs the equivalent of $54.
Details of how to contribute are on the Torat Reva website.
THE DEDICATION of the Cross River Ambulance Bay at Shaare Zedek Medical Center took place last week. Made possible by the generosity of the Cross River Bank, the ambulance bay is designed to enhance ambulance crews’ direct access to the hospital, and thus expedite patient admission, which is particularly important in trauma cases.
“I have no doubt that Cross River’s contribution to Shaare Zedek will save many lives. We will continue to support ways to deliver quality healthcare to Jerusalem and Israel,” said Gilles Gade, Cross River founder and CEO.
The project’s design and construction was carried out in coordination with senior officials in the Magen David Adom rescue services, which is also heavily supported by Cross River Bank.
Shaare Zedek’s ongoing development includes an expanded Department of Emergency Medicine, which is due to open in the coming weeks.