Grapevine: A matter of survival

A round up of the news from around Jerusalem.

Reuven Rivlin  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Reuven Rivlin
SPEAKING LAST week at Jerusalem’s Crowne Plaza Hotel at the opening of the conference of the Haredi Institute for Policy Research, President Reuven Rivlin urged the haredi population to follow the example of entrepreneurship of their forebears, who came out from behind the walls of the Old City and built numerous neighborhoods that are integral to the Jerusalem of today.
Rivlin cited one of his distant relatives, Yosef Rivlin, one of the leading figures of this entrepreneurship, who was born in the Old City in 1838, a century before the birth of the president. A member of the huge Rivlin tribe, Yosef Rivlin, who was well known for his scholarship, founded a company called Bonei Yerushalayim (Builders of Jerusalem), which constructed 13 neighborhoods, including Nahalat Shiva, which has a Yosef Rivlin Street, Mea She’arim, Mazkeret Moshe, Even Yisrael and Yemin Moshe.
The president’s father, Prof. Yosef Yoel Rivlin, would argue with founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion (who called the haredim “parasites”) and hold up, as an example of the opposite, Yosef Rivlin, who spent half a day studying at Etz Haim Yeshiva and half a day working. In addition to building neighborhoods, he was a prolific writer.
While he voiced great respect for those scholars who study Torah values, coupled with his belief that the State of Israel should allow leading scholars to continue their studies and help strengthen Torah study and knowledge, “because that is part of the strength of the State of Israel,” Rivlin declared that it is equally important to strengthen the economy.
“In Israel the economy is not just a matter of growth, but the ability to survive,” he said. “Whoever turns a blind eye to reality and refuses to recognize the need for the haredi community to interact with mainstream Israel will simply contribute to increased poverty.”
POPULAR MANICURIST, pedicurist and healer Aviva Belfer, who is particularly sought after by native English-speakers for whom Hebrew is an insurmountable challenge, has sent out a message that she will not be receiving clients on March 17, because she will be participating in the Jerusalem Marathon, walking 10 km. on behalf of Crossroads, a group that supports teenagers who have lost their way.
Belfer hopes to break her record of 1 hour and 45 minutes, and in the process to make $500 for Crossroads. So far, she has raised in excess of $100.
JERUSALEM HAS haredi basketball teams. The initiative came from two young haredi enthusiasts for the game, Avigdor Rabinovich and David Ben-Naim. They approached city councilman Hanan Rubin with the idea, and he was instantly supportive.
There was enough interest to create competition, and a game was held between teams from Ramot and Har Nof.
Competitive sport is still in its infancy in haredi circles, said Rubin, but it should be encouraged so that it will be taken up in other neighborhoods in which the population is predominantly haredi. It should not be limited to basketball, he added. There’s no reason haredim can’t run in the marathon and participate in other sporting activities.
Rubin also credited Allon Hassid of the municipality’s leisure, culture and sports department, for helping to create a haredi basketball league.
AFTER HE was unceremoniously dropped last year from his role of quizmaster at the annual International Bible Quiz that is held on Independence Day and broadcast live on Channel 1, Dr. Avshalom Kor, who has been quizmaster since 1988, has been reinstated and will ask questions of Israeli and Diaspora contestants at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on Independence Day.
The manner of Kor’s dismissal last year via SMS caused many ructions, and in the final analysis Education Minister Naftali Bennett apologized to him personally for the humiliation.
This year’s quiz is based on a verse from Psalms, “And you will see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”
The National Bible Quiz, which will be held at the Kiryat Gat Cultural Center on March 28, will also be broadcast on Channel 1 and will likewise focus on Jerusalem, in solidarity with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city. The top four contestants will subsequently represent Israel at the International Bible Quiz.