THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: The next generation


RESIDENTS OF the Yemin Moshe neighborhood are not keen to remain on the tourist circuit. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
RESIDENTS OF the Yemin Moshe neighborhood are not keen to remain on the tourist circuit.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Jerusalem Municipality has installed free Wi-Fi in 20 schools in Arab neighborhoods on the eastern side of the city. Until now, explained a municipality spokesman, schools in the Arab sector lacked strong, steady connections to the Internet, and installing them was too much of a financial burden for the schools. The Wi-Fi is part of a larger project by the city to connect all of its educational institutions to a local wireless system. That will soon be followed by a network of cameras in the schools connected to a center within the municipality. This is part of Mayor Moshe Lion’s pledge to invest in improving the infrastructure in all parts of Jerusalem – with special emphasis on the east side, and more specifically on education. The project will enable all students in the city to study in a computerized environment, improving the quality of learning with access to modern technology.
Off limits – Part 1
Have you ever taken visitors for a stroll through Yemin Moshe to enjoy the beautiful environment and the view of Mount Zion? It seems those days are over, as a group of residents in the picturesque neighborhood have decided to remove their enclave from the tourist circuit, arguing that the visitors ruin their quality of life.
Yemin Moshe was once a small, modest neighborhood inhabited by Sephardi immigrants. They had a hard time of it until 1967, as the Jordanian Army would often open fire on the area from the slopes of Mt Zion. After the Six Day War, Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek decided to turn the old stone houses into an artists’ neighborhood. He invited artists to settle in and scattered the original residents to other parts of the city. The idea was that painters, sculptors and other artists would create a special atmosphere that would attract more tourists.
Over the years, most of the artists left to be replaced by wealthier residents, most of whom live there only part of the year, and they do not appreciate living in an area full of visitors. Recently, they formed a committee to represent them to municipal authorities, asking that they remove the neighborhood from tourist circuits and promotional materials. Meanwhile, residents have displayed signs requesting visitors not to stop by their houses, not to take photos and not to speak loudly.
Off limits – Part 2
A committee of rabbis, worried by what they perceive as a dangerous decrease in modesty among residents of ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, has organized to see that strict rules about clothing and behavior are implemented and followed. Over the years, new residents have arrived and settled in haredi enclaves, and it seems that many don’t abide by the rabbis’ norms of modesty.
According to one resident, the new committee will see that separation between the genders is more widely enforced, and that stores in the area that don’t abide by their behavioral guidelines don’t open in their neighborhoods. Generally speaking, the committee wants traditionally strict rules of modesty to be enforced. The committee is concerned about the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including Mattersdorf, Geula, Romema and part of Sanhedria. The changes are said to be planned for the ultra-Orthodox sector only, and have no impact on the rest of the city, other than insisting that visitors to these neighborhoods adhere to stringent codes of modesty.
The Jerusalem Municipality, the Education Administration and even Israel’s Education Ministry seem to be helpless in the face of a clear case of racial discrimination in an ultra-Orthodox school. According to their mothers, four children who are part of a small haredi community in the city have been refused from two ultra-Orthodox schools on grounds of their being from the Ethiopian community.
The mothers asked – and were given – legal support and assistance from the Justice Ministry, which sued the haredi Education Administration and the municipality. The problem is that these schools are only partially under the authority of the municipality, and though they receive financial support from various governmental bodies, they are not considered part of the public system.
Before passing over
CityPass, which operates the red line of the Jerusalem Light Rail, will soon leave the city and hand over the responsibility to another company. Among other complaints, CityPass has been widely accused of bullying passengers, with company inspectors giving tickets to passengers for questionable reasons. City council member Yossi Havilio has taken on the legal representation of residents who feel they were mistreated by CityPass when the case comes to court.
Unfortunately, the High Court of Justice ruled last week that there were no grounds for a class action suit. This gives CityPass CEO Yaron Ravid reason to boast that claimants had no grounds for accusing his inspectors. However, in the weeks leading up to the court’s decision, many passengers have noticed a significant improvement in inspectors’ attitudes. Not only has the manner in which they address passengers improved, but passengers who hold a Rav-Kav card who are caught not having validated their ride are asked to do so immediately instead of being fined.
Secular humanist believer
Prof. Yaakov Malkin, a writer and educator who focused on the humanistic aspects of Judaism, died this week at the age of 93. Born in 1926 in Warsaw, Poland, Malkin was also a noted intellectual, literary critic and professor emeritus of Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Arts.
Malkin said that secular Jews are not necessarily people who do not believe, they simply believe in humanistic values. In this vein, Malkin laid the foundations for a stream in Judaism without God. His daughter, Sivan Maas Malkin, is the director of Tmura –The Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, where she teaches secular rabbis according to her father’s vision.