GRAPEVINE: Sabra Starbucks

When Cofix opened in 2013, it created a coffee revolution because it was charging a third of what regular coffee shops were charging for a cup of coffee.

Rami Levy
NOW THAT he has a controlling interest in Cofix, Jerusalem businessman and former city council member Rami Levy intends to upgrade the chain and make it the Starbucks of Israel. That’s what he told Mamon , one of the financial supplements of Yediot Aharonot . The price of a cup of coffee will remain at NIS 5 because that’s integral to the Cofix trademark, he said, but members of the Rami Levy custom- ers club will be able to get coffee gratis. Changes that he intends making are a NIS 15 lunch; products for vegans and vegetarians; gluten-free products, sugar-free products; more attractive tables and chairs directly outside Cofix cafés; synergy with the Rami Levy chain of supermarkets; improved profits and salaries; and a campaign to promote the value of buying at Cofix.
In recent weeks, Levy has been working with new Cofix CEO Iram Graiver to restore the chain’s initial profitability. When Cofix opened in 2013, it created a coffee revolution because it was charging a third of what regular coffee shops were charging for a cup of coffee. At that time, it had no competition. Since then, several similar enterprises have opened up, so Levy and Graiver will have to start thinking out of the box.
AFTER FAREWELLING reptiles, four-footed and feathered friends which had been part of his life for 25 years, Shai Doron , the former director of the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens, better known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, is enjoying his new role as president of the Jerusalem Foundation. During his first few weeks on the job, Doron visited Jerusalem Foundation projects through- out the city in order to familiarize himself with them, and he also met new friends from around the world at the Jerusalem Foundation Conference, during which there was a cornerstone-laying ceremony for the establishment of a high-school building at the Max Rand Hand in Hand School for Bilingual Education; and a dedication ceremony at the Ma’ayan School in Ein Kerem for children with severe disabilities. There were of course many other events on the program schedule.
Doron has not entirely severed relations with his past. He took conference participants on a tour of the Gottesman Family Aquarium adjacent to the Biblical Zoo. A great admirer of the late mayor Teddy Kollek, who was the brains behind the Biblical Zoo and the Jerusalem Foundation, Doron is pleased to have twice worked in institutions where Kollek’s memory is revered. Among the places where conference participants dined was the restaurant at Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The restoration and expansion of the neighborhood as a place of culture and the arts was also Kollek’s idea.
PERHAPS ONE day Jerusalem opera buffs will not have to go to Tel Aviv to attend an opera season. The truth is that there have been a number of operatic recitals and full operatic performances in the capital, but unfortunately not on a regular basis. Jerusalem is one of the few capitals in the world that does not have its own opera house, although it does have an opera society which has long been battling for the construction of an opera house. Maybe crowdfunding would do the trick, or it could be a future project of the Jerusalem Foundation. Meanwhile, operatic productions in the capital are confined to the Jerusalem Theater, the Jerusalem International Convention Center and the Jerusalem Payis Arena.
The Jerusalem Theater will be the venue on December 15 and 16 for performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte directed by Ari Tepperberg , with Omer Arieli conducting the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra and soloists Elinor Zon, Alexandra Kovlevitz, Oshri Segev, Gabriele Ribis, Dennis Sadov and Mima Milo .
AMONG THE speakers at the Third Jerusalem Leaders Summit at the Inbal Hotel this week, there were prominent figures from the US, Britain, New Zealand and Israel. Among the latter were several Jerusalemites who are intent on changing the image of the capital, such as Hanan Brand, the founder of Made in Jerusalem, which encourages ultra-Orthodox and Arab start-ups; and Lior Shabo , who six years ago founded the Jerusalem Parliament, whose members represent the city’s demographic mosaic, proving that people of vastly different backgrounds and lifestyles can find a common denominator and work together. Nir Barkat, who was to appear, presumably to make a mayoral swan song, never showed, and no public explanation was given for his absence.