Opening Lines: Jerusalem 2111

An international sci-fi film competition has challenged contestants to lay out their vision for Jerusalem 100 years from now.

dome over the dome 311 (photo credit: Tzivi Davis)
dome over the dome 311
(photo credit: Tzivi Davis)
On July 15 an international sci-fi competition for a “Vision of Jerusalem 100 Years from Now” was launched and organized by the Association of Planning and Conservation- Jerusalem (Beit Hamodel), in association with the History Channel, 3D World magazine, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Cinematheque.
The competition, aimed at animators and short-film makers, asks competitors to create their vision of Jerusalem 100 years from now. Following a public online vote on YouTube, an international jury will choose the top video clip, taking into account professional artistic considerations as well as subjective and immeasurable ones. The jury includes star producers such as Wim Wenders (Until the End of the World) and John Landau (Avatar, Titanic). The winners will be announced on December 31.
While similar competitions for other cities worldwide have focused on disasters, alien invasions and other staple sci-fi fare, my vision for Jerusalem 2111 assumes the IDF has contingency plans against alien invasions, and thus focuses on other issues.
BY 2111 the Old City of Jerusalem is encased by a dome, a massive, transparent enclosure covering the Holy Basin and adjacent neighborhoods. The Dome is two million square feet in area, making it the largest domed structure in the world after the Houston Dome, built to save that city from searing heat, devastating hurricanes and unsustainable levels of toxic emissions.
Each of the 200,000 panels making up the dome is 10 meters wide, and at just 1 percent the weight of glass is an incredibly strong yet lightweight material. The dome’s chemical composition was discovered by haredi scientists at the worldfamous Halachatronics Department in the city’s revered Applied Faith College.
The polymer, a mixture of glass, plastic and anti-matter, is a miracle of holy science and won its creators a combined Nobel Prize in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology and Peace. The dome, named Kippa, was designed by a team of ultra-unOrthodox scientist/preachers in their laboratory. They discovered the polymer quite by chance while searching for ways to create food particles from mathematical equations in the Kabbala.
The dome’s material does not shatter, cannot be burned, is bullet and laserproof and is impenetrable to rockets, including ones carrying nuclear warheads (this was tested in the last war). The dome never needs repair or maintenance; and it will never be removed until the Messiah comes (a political decision reached between the Elad Municipal Corporation and the construction company, Holyland Engineering) – an eternal dome for part of the eternal capital for some of the world’s Jews and Muslims.
THE TERM ‘HAREDI’ has come to represent an elite group of spiritual scientists who work exclusively on the practical applications of the tiniest particles known to man, called bosons, and who constantly seek these “God particles” inside the deepest recesses of inner space using religious scripture as a guide. In its explanation for bestowing such an unprecedented honor on the team of Jewish spiritual-scientists, the Nobel Prize committee wrote: “As the haredim get closer and closer to God, they find more practical applications for His wonders. They, more than any other scientific-spiritual group in the world, create miracles from God’s particles for the benefit of all humanity.”
The combination of deep religion and advanced science, and the early investment of government funding into the pursuit of faith-based astrophysics, proved a savior for humanity’s escalating struggles against environmental and political threats. Thus their Nobel Peace Prize.
The dome’s entrance is at the Mamilla Financial District GateTM. Ventilation, temperature, precipitation and ambience inside the dome are regulated according to the religious festivals and prayer times. The triple-layered surface of the dome lets in the sun’s rays, which are then filtered by the dome’s polymers, transforming the light that enters In-Dome Jerusalem into a soft, suffuse hue, like the light that a coated bulb shines into a small room. This gives In- Dome Jerusalem a sweet, spiritual ambience which may account for the calm, happy and self-effacing demeanor of its populace. At night, the dome’s polymers enhance the light of the stars, making them twinkle just a little brighter.
The only vent in the dome is at its apex, and is used by the municipal corporation for the occasional airborne arrival and departure of VIPs, including visiting heads of municipal corporations, religious figures, celebrated foreign rabbi-scientists and celebrities. Suspended directly in line above the Dome of the Rock is the magnificent Third Temple, held in the air by a feat of anti-gravitational engineering, another product of the wizards at the Halachatronics Department. Rabbis, Rabbinas, pilgrims and tourists are transported to the Temple by a light-tube reaching from the Mamilla Western Wall PlazaTM all the way up hundreds of meters to the Temple’s gates.
At the Mamilla Western Wall PlazaTM itself, gender separation has long been replaced by a more scientific and equitable solution that has allowed complete unity at the holy site. Visitors to the Mamilla Western Wall PlazaTM first have to pass through a “de-genderfier” (another engineering feat), a genderequalizing device that temporarily removes all intrinsic gender identification from a person’s brain, storing it at an on-site, secure database for later retrieval when he/she walks through the “re-genderfier” on his/her way out of the plaza. Thus, while outwardly maintaining the features of a man or woman, the pilgrim can devote all of his/her energy on focused prayer throughout the Plaza without offending anyone of the opposite sex.
The second terminal a visitor to the Wall Plaza has to enter through is the “de-denominizer,” a walk-through device that temporarily removes a person’s religious denomination, storing it at an on-site, secure database for later retrieval when he/she walks through the “re-denominizer” machine. That way pilgrims can communicate their thoughts to God in any words, physical actions or garb they choose without offending those praying next to them.
Rumor has it that the haredi wizards at the Applied Faith Department are working on a new device called the “un-affiliator,” which would remove and reinstall ethnic, denominational and gender affiliation, all in one machine. But this device is still undergoing trials as some test subjects have complained of residue effects (one Ashkenazi Reform man found himself one morning in a mikve strictly for Orthodox women and couldn’t explain what he was doing there).
Inside the Dome, life, like the weather, is regulated according to prayer. Time runs on a spiritual clock. The “lightrail,” which transports beings, or those parts of beings that need to be at certain places at certain times, moves along subjective routes of consciousness. The closer a person’s soul is to “the light,” the faster he or she gets to his or her destination. The purer the intention is, the less congested and crowded is the ride. While this science is hard to explain, it is largely taken on faith, and it works. The “lightrail” and “lightbuses” are always on time and never late, depending on who you are and where you want to go.
UNFORTUNATELY, NOT much is known about life in Off-Dome Jerusalem East and Off-Dome Jerusalem West as both of their municipal corporations were unable to emulate In-Dome Jerusalem’s good governance.
Every infrastructure project planned Off-Dome was derailed by corruption and neglect and was always over budget. No progress was ever made on integrating and fusing science and Halacha into their schools, and so their students were left light years behind, literally.
Religious, ethnic, socioeconomic and political conflicts within and between Off-Dome Jerusalem West and East eventually plunged those areas into perpetual darkness, where only occasional fires and police lights hint at the goings-on there. Not much news travels out of these areas, as ancient electronic communication signals could no longer be received or understood by intelligent new devices inside the Dome. Newspapers are long dead and the only news one can read in those areas are highly subjective diatribes plastered on walls or insensible recordings of loud harangues by Off- Domers with In-Dome Jerusalem Syndrome.