This Week in Jerusalem

Peggy Cidor’s roundup of city affairs.

A call for fairness in Kiryat Hayovel
Last week, the tensions between the secular and haredi residents of Kiryat Hayovel reached a new high, but this time the anger was directed at the mayor. Tal Halevy, a young student and member of the secular residents task force in the neighborhood,  wrote a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat saying that “the municipality and the police are suppressing any opposition to the establishment’s activities,” citing among other examples the arrest of a student in a recent demonstration in the neighborhood.
Halevy added that “nice campaigns inviting the young generation to study and settle in Jerusalem won’t  succeed as long as this municipality and the police” continue to silence those who are crusading for a tolerant, liberal Jerusalem. Halevy’s latter remark pointed at what many secular activists in Kiryat Hayovel see as the caving in of the mayor, elected mostly on the secular ticket, to his haredi coalition.
The secular residents are angry at Barkat because they expected him to take down the eruv (symbolic fence that allows Orthodox Jews to carry objects on Shabbat) posts installed by the new haredi residents, while he instead appointed a committee that set up new posts. As a result, secular activists claim that Barkat’s actions will inevitably “bring an end to the mayor’s term – or officially shut off the city to the young, secular  generation, to this mayor’s chagrin.”
English spoken here
The Hadassah Academic College has launched a special course to train the city’s merchants in the basics of the queen’s English. After it held a very successful computer course, the college is now offering a short but intensive course in English to enable merchants to establish better relations with tourists (and perhaps some of the new olim from English-speaking countries).
The initiative is promoted by the Lev Ha’ir community center and its director, Uri Amedi, who created the City Center Merchants Committee and continues to improve the interaction between the economic and community aspects of downtown life. The first 10 merchants will begin the class in a few days, followed shortly thereafter by a second term.
‘The Prophet’ in our midst
The Confederation House continues with its season of world music with a program on Saturday evening dedicated to Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), the Lebanese-American poet and painter, and his most famous 1923 book, The Prophet.
Rony Holen, on drums and reading texts, will be accompanied by Hagay Amir on saxophone, Gilead Dobretzki on percussion, Gilead Avro on bass and Arik Naissberg at the piano. Highly recommended, especially for those who experienced the cult atmosphere around that work in the 1960s.
For more details about the Confederation House, call 624-5206.
Walls of HopeA mural depicting sheep, butterflies and typical local stone structures was recently unveiled in the Sa’adia neighborhood close to the Flower Gate. The work features various shades of green, considered by the 12- to 14-year-olds who were involved in its creation as a promise of hope, as well as an environmental message.
The mural is the result of a joint effort by Jewish artist YehuditEizenberg and the female students of the El-Ma’awiha school nearby.Eizenberg, a resident of Kiryat Arba and a veteran olah from Russia,has been teaching art, mainly painting, at various schools in the city,including east Jerusalem. Another of Eizenberg’s murals is located onthe right side of Hamashbir on King George Avenue.  The Sa’adia mural(15 meters long and 4 meters high), is the 11th of its kind in thecity  and required four months of work. It is the first mural createdin east Jerusalem. It is a joint project of the municipality’s SocialWelfare and Arts and Culture departments.