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Ain't no party like a Chavatzelet party

by michael November 24 2008
Things to doCity planningMunicipal news

Hadassah College

Good times and green rooms at Hadassah College today

Bit by bit, downtown Jerusalem has been getting treated to a low-key makeover, undergoing pedestrianization (and much-needed sandblasting) in preparation for the panacea for all municipal ills, the light rail. First HaHistradrut Street was turned into a pedestrian mall. There there was all that unpleasantness with the torn-up Jaffa Road. And now, it's HaChavatzelet Street getting some long overdue attention.

The short street connects Jaffa Road, the main artery of central Jerusalem, with HaNeviim Street, the main road of the Russian Compound and also the seam line between downtown Jerusalem and the ultra-Orthodox quadrant of the city. In recent years, Chavatzelet has, in the wake of the Russian Compound nightlife district's downfall, become a nexus for two distinct Jerusalem minority communities: Ethiopian-Israelis, whose pocket of the neighborhood revolves around tasty restaurant Ethio-Israel; and young secular Jerusalemites, an endangered breed who cluster together in Uganda, HaTaklit, Sideways, distinctly non-kosher restaurant Chavatzelet and an oh-so-countercultural tattoo parlor. But now that the street has been given the Municipal spitshine, all those cool indie kids may scurry away from the light to find a new, seedier part of town (Musrara is hot these days...).

But now is not the time to consider ramifications - now is the time to dance! With renovations to the street complete, Neviim Street institute of higher education Hadassah College threw a commemorative celebration on Friday. Live music and African dancers from the Machol Shalem Dance Festival entertained the masses, and the youth shimmied their way towards a shinier, cleaner Jerusalem.

But just because that the musicians and dancers have gone home, doesn't mean you have to - you can always walk a block and take in the many attractions of HaRav Kook and HaNeviim Streets nearby as well.

Image courtesy of Shay Shenkman.

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