CENTER Central roads in Tel Aviv were closed this past week, but for a change it wasn’t due to work on the light rail. For the first time in 30 years, four Torah scrolls were newly brought to the city’s Great Synagogue.Two of the scrolls had survived the Holocaust and undergone a special restoration process. All of the scrolls were donated by a local businessman, who also took charge of production of the entire event, which included a parade from the Rothschild/Nahalat Binyamin area – where a large stage was placed for the ceremony – to the synagogue.The event also marked 90 years of the synagogue’s existence. Among the guests were Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau; Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein; Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai; city religious council chairman Eldad Mizrahi; and other ministers, MKs and rabbis.For the evening’s artistic program, well-established members of the cantorial world were recruited, including the chief cantor of the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Great Synagogues, Chaim Adler; singer David D’Or and musician Aharon Razel; and the Ra’anana Symphony Orchestra.“Tel Aviv’s Great Synagogue has served for decades as a magnetic beacon in the city. In the past year, it has undergone a revival and absorbed new communities from all classes and ethnic groups,” enthused synagogue president Shlomo Pivko.Eyal Golan honors new IDF recruits in Bat Yam Some 4,000 Bat Yam residents gathered at in the city’s amphitheater last week to watch a concert by singer Eyal Golan in honor of new IDF recruits. Tickets were distributed free of charge to soldiers and those about to join the army, with all other proceeds going toward the Strong Community initiative, run in cooperation with the Latet charitable organization. As part of the project, underprivileged families receive food parcels on a weekly or monthly basis, as well as guidance and assistance. NORTH Public transportation campaign launched in Haifa, North The Transportation Ministry launched a campaign this week to encourage use of public transportation over private vehicles in Haifa and the North. The campaign was officially launched in collaboration with the Yefe Nof engineering company at two flagship Haifa events: Youth City and the beer festival. There, booths were set up to raise awareness of the campaign. Visitors presenting a public transportation receipt could participate in a trivia game and compete for prizes, including a smartphone.Mayor Yona Yahav described Haifa as the “leading city in the country” for public transportation and noted that using it is worthwhile for residents. “Our public transportation system is easy, accessible and affordable, now more than ever. Moreover, using it has tremendous value in protecting the environment, reducing pollutant emissions and noise levels.”He noted that within the framework of the Environmental Protection Ministry’s national program to improve air quality, city buses will be replaced with those powered by natural gas.SOUTH Sderot residents bring back ‘X Factor’ contestant with ‘lifesaver’ vote Sderot welcomed news last week that fellow resident Dudu Ivgi had been officially returned to the musical reality TV show X Factor Israel. His comeback follows his ouster at an earlier stage of the contest, but devoted residents brought him back by voting for him in a “lifeboat” opportunity given to former contestants.Mayor Alon Davidi met with Ivgi and told him he brings a lot of pride to his city with his performances.He noted that although the singer had to miss out on performing at an August event in Sderot due to a ban on contestants appearing on stage outside the show, “we no doubt gained – the residents of Sderot and every house in Israel – a wonderful and talented singer who continues to amaze us with his fantastic performances on-screen. We wish Dudu great success and will continue to support him.” Police return thousands of stolen euros to vacationing French couple A day after being robbed of tens of thousands of euros, an elderly French couple visiting Israel were pleasantly surprised to learn a suspect had been arrested and their money found. A week ago, a thief hit the French woman over the head, bruising her and running away with the money in her bag.The incident was reported the same day, and with the help of security cameras Ashkelon police swiftly identified the suspect. The following day, the suspect was arrested, and the couple were invited to the station to reclaim their money.“We couldn’t believe we got the money back,” the thankful couple told police.