City Notes: Rehovot gearing up for spring and Passover

A round up of news from around the nation.

Tzemah Railway station, 2006 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Tzemah Railway station, 2006
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
With Purim behind us, Rehovot is looking forward to ringing in the spring season and Passover holiday with celebrations that have become a tradition there.
The city will hold its fourth annual Song and Dance Festival, as well a Spring Walk during the Passover holiday week.
The festival this year will pay tribute to the best of Israeli song and dance, with the participation of local dance troupes and choirs. There are three separate dance venues planned for the event located in the Founders Park in the city.
The festival will take place April 25-26 in Founders Park at the corner of Herzl and Levkovitz streets. Admission is free.
Spring festivals were first held in Rehovot between 1908 and 1914 and attracted Jews from all the settlements in the land to participate in sporting events and festivities to herald the arrival of spring.
Rehovot Mayor Rahamim Malul said that the festival will feature “all that is beautiful in the culture of the Land of Israel over the generations. I am very proud of the tradition of this festival that we have created – a tradition that has revived the festival that once took place here at the town’s beginning.”
The annual Spring Walk will take place on April 27 and will set out from the historic Minkov citrus orchard between 8 and 9 a.m. The free walk, which is suitable for all ages, will take participants by some of the city’s historic sites. Along the route, walkers will enjoy refreshment and cooling stations, lectures, and performances by professional actors. At the end, a big band-style orchestra made up of players from the city’s conservatory will provide entertainment.
Ramle holds group bar mitzva for 34 underprivileged boys
An assembly of 34 underprivileged boys from Ramle recently celebrated a group bar mitzva at Ambiente Hall in the city, courtesy of the municipality and many sponsors. The bar mitzva project was started by Mayor Yoel Lavi, who has been mayor of the city since 1993. Since the project’s inception, more than 1,000 boys and girls have taken part.
City official Ayelet Cohen congratulated the boys in the name of Lavi and the entire city and noted that the occasion marked a milestone in the maturation process on their way to becoming responsible adults.
Among those present at the celebration were Rabbi Avraham Madveil, the head of the rabbinical authority in Ramle, Sami Israel, manager of Bank Hapoalim in the city, other donors, and of course, the boys’ families.
A few days before the party, the bar mitzva boys practiced putting on tefillin at an emotional ceremony in the presence of family members and volunteers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
All of the boys received a set of tefillin as well as formal clothes for the occasion.
Historic Tzemah Railway Station to open for visitors
The historic Tzemah Railway station, which has been undergoing extensive restoration work for the past few years, will open to visitors for the first time during the Passover holiday.
During Ottoman times, the station was part of the Hejaz Railway, which traveled from Medina in Saudi Arabia to Damascus in Syria, with a variety of stops between. The Jezreel Valley railway line was a side branch of the Hejaz line that ran through the valley from Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) in the east to Haifa in the west.
The station at Tzemah has been transformed into a historical site that tells the story of the railway.
The original buildings of the station have been restored and a visitor center has been built. The station is part of the campus of Kinneret College, and the complex includes new dormitories for college students and the college’s Center for Land of Israel Studies. The station was the first heritage site in Israel restored from the sites on the list of the government’s Council for the Preservation of Buildings and Historic Sites.
The restored station will be open to visitors April 24 to 29. For guided tours of the site, visitors are encouraged to call in advance (04) 665-3728 or 050-565-6291.
Beersheba photography showcases human tapestry
A photography exhibition showcasing faces of the people of Beersheba opened in the city hall gallery last week.
Organizers said that the photographs document the unique human tapestry that makes up the capital of the Negev.
Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich attended the opening of the exhibit along with its curator Goel Drori, the participating photographers, as well as some of their subjects.
The exhibition is part of a community photography project in the city called Humans of B7, in which dozens of local photographers document local residents and give expression to their stories. Humans of B7 was started by Ben Gurion University students Ya’ara Peretz and Roni Amiti, with the participation of the municipality and the Tzalamania organization, whose mission is to photograph and document the city.