A formula for change

Edna Friedman never expected to be a city councillor, but she takes her new role seriously nonetheless.

edna friedman (photo credit: Sarah Levin)
edna friedman
(photo credit: Sarah Levin)
Edna Friedman never planned to become a member of the city council. After many years of political activity - as a student of the Hebrew University and in Habayit Hayehudi - she just happened to be the next one on the list. Though her party has only three seats on the city council and she is No. 6, one of these seats is reserved for a woman. Not that she is not happy about it - she is. And she has plans and means business. A seventh-generation Jerusalemite, Friedman is single, in her 30s, teaches chemistry and is involved in various projects to promote access to sciences for high school girls. Friedman describes herself as a typical "Hapoel Hamizrachi" person, "raised in the Bnei Akiva movement, in a mixed community with a true dedication to becoming part of the wider Israeli society and not separated, someone who believes that religion should be incorporated into normal life in a sane way." Friedman teaches chemistry at the Horev girls' school and the Tehilla girls' high school (recently created by Dr. Beverly Gribetz). She also teaches chemistry teachers for the Education Ministry. She is very active in the Rothschild-Weizman program, aimed at developing and promoting science programs for youth. Although she didn't plan to join the city council, Friedman stresses that "Now that I am inside, I see it as a mission, and I mean to be very much involved." One of her priorities will be to do her utmost to improve the status of women not only at the municipality but in the city at large. "I am convinced that much can and should be done, such as upgrading the committee for the status of women." She will also do what she can to promote environmental issues. "I see in the deputy mayor Naomi Tsur a real master in these issues, someone I can learn a lot from." In addition to her participation in the committees for the status of children, youth and students, she plans to turn the Jewish heritage committee into a resource for anyone who wants to know more about the Jewish legacy. "We need to feed those who have no knowledge - but are interested in acquiring it - about our roots so that we all know why we are here. That was the main purpose of the creation of the Habayit Hayehudi party," she says. Friedman adds that for her, the city as it was in her youth, when Teddy Kollek was mayor, is a model she wants to recreate. "It was the city in which I grew up, open to all, when people felt they got something in return for their taxes and, above all, a city in which we didn't feel choked the way we do now."