Grapevine: A foot on the property ladder

At the General Assembly in Jerusalem this week, one of the many issues discussed was how to attract unaffiliated Jews and make them part of the community.

Rishon Lezion (photo credit: Courtesy Rishon Lezion Municipality)
Rishon Lezion
(photo credit: Courtesy Rishon Lezion Municipality)
THE MEDIA frequently run stories about the high cost of housing and how difficult it is for young couples to bear a mortgage. Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur and council member Doron Ozen have come up with a partial solution. They approached a local contractor who had applied for a permit to build a residential complex of 64 apartments, and told him that he could have a permit for 120 apartments – providing that 60 of them were to be sold at a little over a third of the price he was asking for the remaining apartments. The condition for the sale at a lower price was that applicants would have to be residents of Rishon Lezion for at least 10 years, with available capital of NIS 350,000 and without a home of their own. A lottery would be conducted to determine the 60 winners.
The contractor agreed and on Monday of this week, more than 600 young couples lined up to register.
The mayor is confident that other contractors will also adopt a policy of putting aside a certain number of apartments to be sold at a lower price to young couples, and the idea may then spread to the whole country. In the pilot project, the regular price for the three-room apartments will be NIS 950,000, and the couples selected by lottery and meeting all criteria will be asked to pay NIS 350,000.
 WHILE IT is widely known that Evangelicals are great supporters of Israel, there are many other streams of Christianity in which there is not necessarily the same kind of fervor. One of Israel’s leading experts on Jewish and Israeli relations with the Christian world is Rabbi David Rosen, whose key area of expertise is the Vatican, but who is certainly familiar with other streams of Christianity. Rosen, who lives in Jerusalem, will travel to Ra’anana on December 18 for an English-Speaking Residents Associationorganized lecture. He will attempt to answer the question: How much has the Christian world really changed in its attitude toward Jews and Israel? The venue is Yad Lebanim.
AT THE General Assembly in Jerusalem this week, one of the many issues discussed was how to attract unaffiliated Jews and make them part of the active Jewish community. It was agreed that many unaffiliated Jews are frightened they won’t fit in, because they simply don’t know enough about being Jewish. There are also native Israelis who grew up in non-practicing Jewish homes and are no less ignorant of things Jewish.
In an attempt to remedy this situation, the White City Shabbat Lovers have organized a TLV Beginners Minyan at the Goren Synagogue at 20 Modigliani Street on Saturday, November 23. Under the direction of American-Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Chayen, participants will learn what prayers are recited on Shabbat and why; when to sit and when to stand during the service; the importance of the weekly Torah portion; how to lift the Torah without dropping it; and many other aspects of what goes on in a minyan, whether inside a synagogue or elsewhere. Visitors to the synagogue, which is adjacent to Rabin Square, can also network at the kiddush after the service, which begins at 8:30 a.m.
ONE OF Israel’s leading therapeutic centers for children with disabilities, Beit Issie Shapiro, recently presented the 12th annual Willie and Celia Trump Chesed and Equality Award, which honors exceptional contributions to people with developmental disabilities in Israel. Ra’anana-based Beit Issie Shapiro develops and provides innovative therapies and services for children with disabilities and their families, and plays a leading role in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
This year’s award ceremony took place at the Knesset, where awards were presented by Education Minister Shai Piron, whose son has received services from Beit Issie Shapiro, and MK Karin Elharar, who herself uses a wheelchair and has been at the forefront of legislation on behalf of children with disabilities in Israel.
The prize is named in memory of well-known philanthropists Willie and Celia Trump, who founded the American Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro.
Award recipients were Miriam Priar, founder of the Shalhevet home for people with disabilities, and Guy Finkelstein, executive director of Leshem, which plays a leading role in making institutes of higher education accessible for students with learning disabilities.