THIS WEEK IN JERUSALEM: Peggy Cidor’s round-up of city affairs

From Haredi art galleries to why it's good to be a student in the capital.

Hebrew Union College is celebrating the ordination of 100 new rabbis. (photo credit: THE COLLEGE’S LIBRARY; AVI DEROR/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Hebrew Union College is celebrating the ordination of 100 new rabbis.
No model today
If you are planning a visit to the model of Jerusalem in its underground location at Safra Square anytime soon, plan again. The magnificent model of the city, in which one can distinguish every street and structure, is closed for renovations.
The display is constantly updated to reflect new construction projects as soon as they are approved by the different planning committees. Photos on display there chronicle the tremendous development of the city over the years: its growth, the changes in its character, the emergence of towering buildings – and the changes in its landscape and environment. In addition to being a popular attraction for tourists and visitors, the model is a tool for municipal planners.
The renovations, which will take several weeks, will include improved lighting for the model.
Help on wheels
Following the recent spate of violence targeting staff in hospitals and medical centers, Maccabi Health Services has decided to take action. As of this week, teams on motorcycles will show up immediately in each case of reported violence.
The first teams of fighters, who served in the army and have experience responding to violence and attacks, will be on call in the Kiryat Yovel, Strauss, Ramot and Gilo Maccabi medical centers. These teams will also scan the medical centers each morning before opening for suspicious activity. The initiative is part of a plan to restore a sense of security to the medical professionals.
Big heart
The First Station is inaugurating a new attraction – a prominently displayed heart-shaped installation made of iron, four meters high and wide. Visitors are invited to take photos, with or without themselves inside the structure, and to share the photos there as part of a growing interactive display. A product of visionary artist Jecca Vinograd, the oversized heart represents the love that residents and visitors have for the city and the First Station.
Balfour in Jerusalem
A hundred years after the famous declaration that had significant impact on the region, the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research is dedicating a study day to the topic.
How has the Balfour Declaration affected the situation and life here? A hundred years of accomplishments, missed opportunities and failures; what remains to be done and what is to be expected will be discussed by some of the leading scholars in the field.
Special focus will be placed on current developments plans for the future by Dr. Amnon Ramon, Prof. Itzhak Reitter, Dr. Adel Mana’a and others. The study day will take place on November 27, from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Institute, which is located at 20 Radak Street in Rehavia.
No fees, but registration is required: (02) 563-0175.
History is here
A historic agreement was signed between the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, the Russian State Library in Moscow, and the Moscow-based Peri Foundation regarding the future of the Günzburg Collection, which includes some of the most important Hebrew manuscripts and books in the world.
Through the generous support of the Peri Foundation, some 2,000 manuscripts and thousands of books in the collection will be digitized, making these significant works accessible online to institutions and the general public.
The addition of the digitized Günzburg Collection marks a significant milestone in the renewal process of the National Library of Israel, whose aim is to preserve the national memory of the Jewish people. High-quality images of the ancient Hebrew manuscripts will be integrated with the library’s new and comprehensive digital platform.
The Russian State Library is Russia’s largest library according to the number of items – about 47 million – preserved in its collections. Located in Moscow, it holds the most comprehensive collection of books published in the Russian Federation.
A hundred years of Reform
This year, as the Reform movement marks a century of existence, the Hebrew Union College, its major institution in the country, is celebrating the ordination of 100 new rabbis. These men and women concluding their studies at the HUC will serve in the various communities of the movement in the country.
Rabbi Na’ama Kellman, the first woman to be ordinated by the movement in Israel and presently the Dean of HUC, says that the graduates of the college are not only spiritual and religious leaders, but also messengers of tolerance, promoting interfaith understanding and partnership.
“Our goal is to give our part in the building of the State of Israel as a Jewish, Democratic and Zionist State,” said Kellman. Her daughter, Liora Ezrahi-Vered, is one of the rabbis ordained this year, following her mother’s footsteps in the spiritual and religious leadership of the next generation.
Two other honorees at the ceremony are Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who will receive a Honoris Causa Phd., and the president of the Beit Daniel community in Tel Aviv, Rabbi Meir Azari, a veteran of the movement.
Black humor
One of the most interesting exhibitions in the framework of the Jerusalem Biennale 2017 is the “Black Humor-Popthodox,” which explores “haredi” issues from an artistic and humorous angle.
Curators Noah Leah Cohn and Shay Azoulay have gathered remarkable artifacts – photos, paintings, videos and more – that shed light on a world that is nearby yet still different. “Black humor” generally refers to humor that serves to overcome fear of death, but here, it references the black outfits of haredim, leveraging them in a subversive yet beautiful way. Photos of haredim may at first sight look all the same, but through delicate and expressive details that one might overlook at first, one begins to see how different people can be even in such a uniform world and society.
The exhibition runs at Beit Achim Hassid, on 47 Emek Refaim St. until November 17. On Wednesday, November 15, a special event in the same framework of haredim and arts will take place there – a performance for women and by women, “Black on Black” – haredi, Sefardi and “black” humor, featuring Aniam Deri and Marcelle Tehila Bitton, graduates of the haredi branch of Bezalel Academy. The performance will be followed by a panel with the participation of Bezalel teachers on the issues raised.
The evening is presented in partnership with the Art Shelter Gallery, a gallery and workshop for haredi artists.
Don’t worry, be a student
If you’re a student in Jerusalem, whether local or from abroad, you now have an opportunity to live at a reduced price and be a part of a large social project. The new student village in Gilo inaugurated earlier this week by the municipality of Jerusalem enables students from all over Israel – religious and non-religious, single and married – to live together in an organic environment and establish a genuine and natural connection with the community surrounding them.
One of the goals of this project is to foster motivation among the students to become part of the community – a first step toward becoming permanent residents after graduation. A condition of inclusion in the housing project is participation in community work for several hours a week. Similar student housing projects are planned for Armon Hanatziv and other neighborhoods.