Grapevine: Civic city‏

“Teddy’s concept is more important today than ever,” Snyder said, as spoke of plans for the cultural, social and economic integration of the various components of the city’s demographic mosaic.

James Snyder 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
James Snyder 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The many friends that James Snyder made during his 20 plus years as director and later international president of the Israel Museum will not have to travel to New York to meet up with him again. As of July 1, Snyder has been executive chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation Inc., which is headquartered in New York, from where he works closely with the foundation’s international leadership and with the foundation’s Jerusalem headquartered president Shai Doron.
Curiously, both Snyder and Doron came to the Jerusalem Foundation after long periods of helming other important institutions in Jerusalem. Doron, a fourth generation Jerusalemite, was for 25 years the director of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, and was previously chief of staff to legendary long-term mayor Teddy Kollek from 1988 to 1993. As such, he was well aware of Kollek’s desire to make Jerusalem not only the political capital of Israel but also the cultural capital.
Kollek was the founder of both the Israel Museum and the Jerusalem Foundation.
Though no longer in office when Snyder took up his position at the museum in 1997, Kollek was still head of the Jerusalem Foundation and deeply involved with the museum, so Snyder had ample opportunity to learn about Kollek’s vision.
Snyder came to the museum as an outsider who knew no Hebrew and had not previously spent time in Israel. But he fell in love with Jerusalem, oversaw the expansion and renovation of the museum and can be credited with making it one of the leading museums in the world.
In addition to his extensive knowledge of culture and the arts, Snyder is also a talented fund-raiser, which is perhaps one of the reasons that the position of international president of the Israel Museum was created when he decided to step down from the position of director.
His current position was also created for him.
Although he still has strong feelings for the Israel Museum and continues to maintain contact with some of its personnel, he was looking for new challenges in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Foundation – which is dedicated to strengthening the civic, social and cultural fabric of the city, and which in many respects is the backbone of support for many of the capital’s social, cultural and educational facilities – is the kind of organization to which he believes he can make a meaningful contribution, and it’s not all long-distance.
Snyder’s position entails coming to Israel once a month to confer with Doron and various other people associated in one way or another with the Jerusalem Foundation.
During a visit last week, Snyder explained that the New York division handles funding, strategy and constituency building, whereas Jerusalem takes care of implementation.
Speaking of the Jerusalem Foundation in its entirety, Snyder described it as an antidote to divisiveness. “We are the synergy.”
He is very excited to be working with the Jerusalem Foundation, he said, because it is continuing to turn Kollek’s vision into reality.
“Teddy’s concept is more important today than ever,” he said, as spoke of plans for the cultural, social and economic integration of the various components of the city’s demographic mosaic.
This is already taking place on some levels, but in an era of incitement and hatred for the other, it is doubly important to bring school children from the different communities together so that they will get to know and respect each other.
■ EYE SURGERY can be a complicated and risky business regardless of the age of the patient, and anyone who suffered vision impairment and is able to see after surgery regards the result as nothing short of a miracle. But when the patient is 101 years old, it’s a double miracle. There are not too many eye surgeons who can boast of helping patients in a triple digit age group. Yediot Yerushalayim reported last week, that after one of the eye implants of Jerusalemite Hannah Orbach had fallen into her inner eye, she began to lose her sight. Initially her vision became blurred, until it failed to the extent that she was almost blind. She could no longer read, which was her favorite pass-time, and she could not distinguish the faces of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She underwent surgery at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where Dr. Itai Magal restored not only her sight but her quality of life.