Holy babies

'Generations of Jerusalem' records names of births in Holy City.

baby 224.88 (photo credit: Etgar Lefkovits )
baby 224.88
(photo credit: Etgar Lefkovits )
The US Consulate in Jerusalem may not list "Israel" after the city's name on its passports and birth certificates due to the capital's unresolved status, but the Jerusalem Municipality has initiated a project to safeguard the names of all babies - both Jewish and Arab - born in the Holy City. The project, dubbed "The Generations of Jerusalem" - initiated last year by Mayor Uri Lupolianski - is not connected to politics; rather, it is meant simply to record the name of each baby born in the city, in an effort to instill a sense of belonging in the future generation, a city spokesman said Tuesday. Over the last year, the city has sent 13,000 certificates in Hebrew and Arabic to the homes of Jerusalem couples who have been blessed with a birth, said Polina Bronfman-Palti, projects manager of the Center for Quality Service at the municipality. The certifications, which typically arrive a month after the baby's birth, are compiled from birth certificates at the Interior Ministry, she said. The ornate certificates, which list the baby's name and date of birth according to both the Gregorian and Hebrew calendar, are signed by the mayor. The Hebrew version of the certificates includes a passage from the prophet Zecharia: "There shall yet old men and old women sit in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof." Last year, over 19,000 babies were born in Jerusalem, more than in any other city in Israel. The discrepancy in the number of certificates issued and the number of births in Jerusalem stems from incorrect addresses listed at the Interior Ministry, Bronfman-Palti said. The names of all the children and their parents are also being inscribed in an artistically designed book on display in the municipality lobby. The public will be able to peruse the pages of the book four times a year: on Jerusalem Day, Pessah, Shavuot and Succot. The city, which has a population of 750,000 residents, has one of the largest birth rates in the western world, the municipality said.