No 'Yakir Yerushalayim' for Reform rabbi

Lupolianski spokesman: List of candidates for the award has still not been crystallized.

safra city hall 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
safra city hall 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The Jerusalem Municipality has stalled attempts to include the name of a prominent Reform rabbi on a list of candidates for a prestigious city award, a Jerusalem city councilwoman said Sunday. Jerusalem city councillor Dahlia Sommer from the opposition Shinui party said that her attempts to nominate Rabbi Asher Hirsch for the city's august "Yakir Yerushalayim" or "Treasured Jerusalemite Award" has fallen on deaf ears in the haredi-run city hall. "It appears that they have decided that he is not a worthy candidate, and that they do not want him," Sommer told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview. Sommer noted that she had met with Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski last month on the issue, and had written him three letters, including one just last week, but has not received any response on the matter. Lupolianski's spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Sunday that the list of candidates for the award has still not been crystallized, so that any claims regarding the inclusion of a specific name are not correct. Last month, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Shlomo Atias of the Shas Party was quoted in the Jerusalem weekly Yerushalayim as saying that a member of the Reform movement will not get the award. However, non-Orthodox officials voiced the hope that the nomination would go through this year. "I believe that the mayor of Jerusalem will not oppose a very worthy candidate just because of the synagogue where he goes to pray," said Anat Hoffman, a former Jerusalem city councilwoman who serves as the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and political arm of the Reform Movement in Israel. In the meantime, City Comptroller Shulamit Rubin is investigating the matter, officials said. Two city council members can put forward a recommendation for a candidate for the award. The final selection of the award winners among the nominees takes place in the spring. The annual city award is allotted to city residents for contribution to the cultural and educational life of Jerusalem and the Diaspora. Hirsch, 80, served as the president of The World Union for Progressive Judaism, and moved the headquarters of the organization to Jerusalem. The World Union For Progressive Judaism is the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements around the world.