City Notes: Haifa closes Polish Culinary Week, looks toward holiday celebrations

A roundup of local stories that made headlines this week.

Issey Miyake designer to visit as guest of Israeli Origami Center (photo credit: Courtesy)
Issey Miyake designer to visit as guest of Israeli Origami Center
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The second Polish Culinary Week took place last week in downtown Haifa, as well as in several other locations across Israel. The festival included events such as Bread and Memory, organized by chef-baker Erez Komarovsky and aided by other top bakers, with dough prepared by a Polish-Tartar-Muslim woman chef; herring and vodka parties; demonstrations by guest chefs from Poland; and pop-up restaurants dedicated to gefilte fish.
With this at a close, Haifa is set to launch its 21st annual Holiday of Holidays festival this weekend, which includes dozens of arts events for the public: exhibitions, cinema screenings, dance and musical performances, liturgical concerts, a circus and acrobatics, a nostalgia and antiques fair, conferences and local Mediterranean cuisine stalls. On Saturdays in Wadi Nisnas, visitors can enjoy outdoor musical and theater performances, an artists’ fair, children’s activities, bands, processions and the Christmas parade, to name but a few attractions.
Beit Hagefen, the Arab-Jewish culture center, and the Haifa Municipality initiated the festival with the aim of cultivating mutual respect and tolerance through culture and art events. Every winter, Haifa is decorated with lights and seeks to display what it describes as its unique beauty, “the good neighborliness between all religions and ethnic groups in the city.”
The festival will take place over three consecutive December weekends at Beit Hagefen, Wadi Nisnas, the German Colony and the Lower City.
Bus pelted with stones in Nazareth
A bus was hit with stones in Nazareth on Sunday, with damage caused to the windshield. The Israel Police was searching the area for suspects.
Issey Miyake designer to visit as guest of Israeli Origami Center
One of Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake’s architects and designers, Prof. John Litani, along with leaders in the world of design, are set to visit next week as guests of the Israeli Origami Center.
Throughout their stay from December 18 to 24, Litani and co. will participate in a series of conferences for designers, origami enthusiasts and math teachers, including one at Herzliya’s Pisga Center.
There will also be a joint meeting with Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, courtesy of the Japanese Embassy.
Beit Issie Shapiro launches tech consulting center on Int’l Disabilities Day
Ra’anana-based NGO Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel’s leading organization in providing services for children with disabilities, launched a technology consulting center on International Disabilities Day – which took place last Wednesday, December 3. The goal in establishing the center was to share BIS’s expertise in disabilities and technology.
The theme of the day was “Promise of Technology” and to mark the occasion, the organization launched “Tech It Issie,” a new blog to share knowledge with parents and professionals in the disabilities field. The blog will cover issues such as the use of iPads and computers, tips and insights, app reviews and recommendations, implementation issues, and news on accessibility and assistive devices.
“Over the past several years, we have witnessed the rapid development of technology and its ability to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Yael Etein, head of the technology consulting center. “We have found that touchscreen devices are truly able to open up a whole new world to people with disabilities, empowering them, giving them a voice, improving their motor and cognitive skills, and providing them with a sense of capability and control with a greater level of independence than ever before.
“We hope our new center and blog will be valued resources for professionals working with and parents dealing with children with disabilities.”
According to BIS, the center is staffed by professionals from different disciplines, who are all experts at integrating technology into their fields. It will also provide consultation to technology companies and app developers looking to make their products accessible to the 20 percent of the global population that has some form of disability.
“Based on the knowledge and experience we have gained at BIS in the use of technology as tools for people with disabilities, we decided to establish the technology consulting center and Tech It Issie,” said Lili Levinton, deputy director in charge of professional services. “We feel these are important steps in distributing and sharing our knowledge in the field, extending our reach and impact for the benefit of people with disabilities, as well as increasing awareness of the need to develop accessible apps and bringing more products to the market.”
Rishon Lezion gas station robbed; brother returns money
A gas station in Rishon Lezion was robbed on Sunday shortly after midnight by two minors, brothers from Ramle. After arriving at the gas station, one of the suspects proceeded to steal a drink from the gas station’s store. Shortly thereafter, the second suspect went back and paid for it.
The first suspect then went back inside and said, “This is a robbery; give me the money!” The cashier handed it over and called police. The second suspect went back inside the store and returned the money, though police were already on their way.
When officers arrived on the scene, the brothers were in the middle of a fistfight, among themselves and with the cashier. The two were arrested and released following an investigation into the incident; it was not clear what crime they were charged with.
First Negev olive-oil festival held
The first olive-oil festival in the Negev was held last weekend by the olive division of the Plants Council and the Tourism Association, in celebration of the first harvest. The festival included musical performances and agricultural tours around area farms; in a selection of restaurants, special dishes were made with regional olive oils.
In recent years, the Negev has become a significant manufacturer of quality Israeli olive oil, following the innovative work of olive-oil researcher Prof. Shimon Lavie and his team – which allowed the cultivation of olives in dry areas in Israel and around the world through drip irrigation.
Olive division director Dr. Adi Naali said they had decided to hold the festival in the Negev for the first time in appreciation of the area’s farmers, who had succeed in growing crops despite difficult climatic conditions; and in solidarity with them, after the challenging security conditions of last summer.
Eilat selected to participate in global ‘smart city’ program
Eilat announced last week that in the process of building a program to become a “smart city,” it had been selected as one of four world cities to participate in the EU’s flagship technological program FIWARE. The other three cities taking part are Santander and Coruña in Spain, and Porto in Portugal.
This was finalized at the Smart Cities conference held last month in Barcelona, Spain, attended by mayors, CEOs and business leaders from Israel and around the world. Eilat’s Acting Mayor Eli Lankri represented his city at the conference; there, he attended a meeting for cooperation with the EU, which is working to establish a common data platform.
FIWARE seeks to provide “a truly open, public and royalty- free architecture and a set of open specifications that will allow developers, service providers, enterprises and other organizations to develop products that satisfy their needs while still being open and innovative.” In its research and development of this platform, FIWARE has invested €80 million thus far; 16 greenhouses are developing applications on this platform.