Grapevine: Uncertain future

Presumably the new limit of 10 is in line with Jewish tradition which requires 10 men for a prayer quorum.

A man wears a face mask for fear of the coronavirus as he takes the train to Haifa, on March 17, 2020 (photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
A man wears a face mask for fear of the coronavirus as he takes the train to Haifa, on March 17, 2020
(photo credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)
As if the present lockdown situation is not sufficiently depressing, Irene Grossman and Avi Moshel – the representatives of the Citizens Property Rights Group that is seeking clarification as to whether the conditions under which they acquired their apartments remain in force under the new ownership of the land – updated apartment owners affected by the sale.
According to their information, Nayot Komemiyut, the group of private investors led by Noam Ben David, has received permission to register ownership of the land, which the group purchased from the Greek Orthodox Church.
Even though many of the apartment owners have already received offers from the investment group, which is interested in buying their leases, those who refuse the offer are now nervous about the future. Once Nayot Komemiyut registers its ownership in the Land Registry, it has the legal right to sell the land on which the apartments are built, and this could lead to yet another legal struggle.
Meanwhile, the CPRG is continuing with its efforts to find a solution to this particular crisis.
The fact that the CPRG is so determined may have spurred the investors to advance their side of the case, for fear that future legislation might limit their ability to increase the fees for the leases by an exorbitant amount.
A considerable number of the leaseholders are people who gave up comfortable lives abroad to live in Israel. They paid good money for the leaseholds of their apartments. It would not be beneficial to Israel’s reputation if it allowed people who had immigrated to the capital to be expelled from their homes.
If an incoming government does nothing to change the status quo, it could be detrimental to future aliya efforts.

FOR THE first time that any of its regular congregants could remember, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue closed its doors last Shabbat and canceled services.
In a note addressed to congregants, acting synagogue president Zalli Jaffe wrote:
“With a heavy heart, the Board of directors are closing the synagogue for services this Shabbat due to lack of means to guard your health and to prevent the danger of contamination by the coronavirus.”
He urged congregants wherever they were to follow the rules of the Health Ministry for whose website he provided a link, adding “Our lives depend on it.”

■ THE HAZVI Yisrael Synagogue did have services, but attendance was greatly reduced and it was sad to see so many empty seats in both the men’s and the women’s sections. Last Saturday morning, there had not yet been an announcement about the new regulations limiting groups of people to 10. The figure was still 100, and there was nowhere near that number among the Hazvi Yisrael congregants, which may be the reason that there were notices by the doorways inviting the public to join the service because there were fewer than 100 people present.
Presumably the new limit of 10 is in line with Jewish tradition which requires 10 men for a prayer quorum.
Rabbi Yosef Ote issued instructions that anyone in quarantine or having any symptoms should not attend services anywhere, but should pray at home alone, at the same time as services taking place in the synagogue.
Congregants were also advised that there would be no kiddush until further notice, and were reminded to desist from unnecessary physical contact such as shaking hands, kissing mezuzot or kissing Torah scrolls.In addition, they were asked to use disinfectant dispensers posted in the synagogue’s doorways.

■ THERE’S A lot of history between Jerusalem and Rome. Italy has suffered more from coronavirus than most other European countries, which prompted Mayor Moshe Lion to post a message of solidarity on the walls of the old city featuring the Lion of Judah, the Italian flag and the words “Italy, Jerusalem Stands with You.” Lion also wished Italians, Israelis and anyone else suffering from coronavirus a swift and full recovery.

■ WHILE IT is not known at this stage whether the Yakir Yerushalayim ceremony will go ahead at the Tower of David Museum on Jerusalem Day in May, the souvenir brochure with the biographies of all the recipients of the honor is definitely going to press. A lot can happen in a little over two months – especially in Israel. So by the third week in May, it’s possible that coronavirus will be little more than a memory. Although portraits of the honorees have already been published in the Hebrew media, organizers of the event wanted to get the most up-to-date photos possible. Yehoram Gaon, the most widely known of the honorees, opted to have his photo taken at the Dan Panorama hotel, where he met in the business lounge with the organizers of the projected event, and afterward accepted the invitation of Ben Yanover, the hotel’s general manager, to join him for lunch. It wasn’t quite for free. Gaon left a generous tip of NIS 100.

■ LONG AFTER people have forgotten how to spell coronavirus, they will remember the lock-down of their cities. When one thinks of all the mid-March to April events that were advertised in several publications only a month ago, and which have now been canceled, it is truly heartbreaking to realize the volume of disappointment to the people involved, as well as to those who planned to attend those events. The advertisements cost a great deal of money that is unlikely to be refunded. Worst hit are speakers, performers and audiences in places that have various functions almost every day of the week. Among them is Beit Avi Chai, which has canceled or postponed all projects and activities until further notice. In the meantime, its activities team suggests that the Avi Chai website and You Tube channel have much of interest to offer to people who are stuck at home.
Also cancelled due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation is the event at which internationally renowned Chabad orator Rabbi Manis Friedman was scheduled to speak on March 23. Given the quarantine regulations in Israel, coupled with the difficulty of getting a flight, Rabbi Freidman decided to cancel his visit.