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Formula One race cars tear through Jerusalem streetsby ben • June 20 2013
Sports, Municipal news, Things to do
Jerusalem dwellers were treated to a taste of F1 auto racing when drivers and vehicles from the Ferrari and Marussia teams put on an invigorating motorsport showcase this past Thursday and Friday on a 2.8-kilometer route that traversed the Old Train Station fairgrounds, the Old City Walls and King David Street.
Team Ferrari's three-time Grand Prix champ Giancarlo Fisichella zoomed past rows of bleachers set up around the Mamilla neighborhood at 240 kilometers per hour, and the crowd, hailing from all walks of life, went wild. Some 160,000 people are said to have checked out the action in person over the course of these two days. In addition to Fisichella, Marussia driver Rodolfo Gonzalez and 2012 World Superbike victor Massimiliano "the Roman Emperor" Biaggi also participated. Massimiliano's freestyle motorcycle stunt routene provided major thrills.
"It’s great to have the chance to drive a Formula One car on the streets of a city that is as fascinating and full of history as Jerusalem,” said Fisichella at the Formula One Jerusalem Peace Road Show's press conference launch event.
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Formula One's governing body, has been aggressively expanding its reach to new territories in recent decades. While many locales are now enjoying new additions to the Grand Prix competitoon circuit, showcases like the one in Jerusalem are rare, as non-Grand Prix FIA events usually take the form of demonstration rallies in closed spaces.
Photo of a 2009 Ferarri Formula 1 automobile outside the Jaffa Gate courtesy of The Israel Project from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
Streetballin' in Jerusalemby michael • June 30 2011
Municipal news, Sports, Things to do
Safra Square: better for basketball than government
Basketball. Long ago in the game's early days, before everyone realized they were not on the whole a very tall people, Jews were major players, significantly overrepresented on the court. And while the era of Jewish sports mastery has since passed, the Jewish state honors the Jewish heritage of basketball by reserving the sport second place in Israeli athletic affections (after soccer, of course). Maccabi Tel Aviv may be populated by nearly as many NBA castoffs as born Israelis, but they're our NBA castoffs, and we love them even if they sometimes embarrass us by losing to the Europeans.
Heaven and hell in Malchaby josh • December 09 2008
Some former Beitar fan is going to have a cold winter without his scarf
Beitar Jerusalem likes to use the advertizing/intimidation tactic of calling their home at Malcha's Teddy Stadium hell. It has indeed been hell so far this year, but only for Jerusalem - not the visiting teams. Though the season is more than half through, Jerusalem's corps of insane, obnoxious and xenophobic fans - and, to be fair, completely normal and nice ones, too - have yet to see their team win a game at home. They sunk so low as to tie with lowly Bnei Sakhnin late last month, in what was expected to be a racially tinged blowout. Their season, in the dumps so far, seems to be a continuation of their horrible 5-0 loss to Wisla Krakow over the summer, which many hoped would just be an aberration. Right.
Picture of trashed Beitar scarf from Flickr user Odim under a Creative Commons license.
This week in Jerusalemby michael • September 11 2008
This week in Jerusalem, Art, For the kids, Sports, Things to do
Plumb the depths of the Kidron Valley this week in Jerusalem
Less than three weeks until the High Holidays begin, and the city is all aflutter with the activity of hundreds of thousands of people preparing for the most enjoyable holiday since... uh... Purim? But just because everyone's busy doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do this week:
Image courtesy of ChrisYunker from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
Holy city options for pigskin with your beerby josh • September 05 2008
Sports, Things to do
If I forget thee, o proper sports bars of North America....
It's been over seven months since the New England Patriots gave the rest of America a perfect season. Once again, Jerusalem gears up to enjoy that glorious time when "football" once again means oh so much more than the kicking game.
Living a continent away from the NFL, now that the formerly uber-popular NFL Europe (or NFL Europa, or the place where Kurt Warner played between bagging groceries and winning a Super Bowl, is defunct), doesn’t mean American expats have to miss out on the joys of the gridiron, Kraft league notwithstanding.
Being half a world away does have some benefits, chief among them the fact that Israel's seven-hour time difference from America's east coast creates a bizarro game schedule where most "afternoon" games are shown at prime time, though watching the actual prime time matchups means pulling an all-nighter. And for the shabbat-observant set, "college football Saturday" is now watchable "college football Saturday night." Go State! Having an ocean between you and the criminally minded Jacksonville Jaguars or Cincinnati Bengals also can't hurt.
Image of a real American sports bar courtesy of Traveling Fools of America from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
This week in Jerusalemby michael • August 21 2008
This week in Jerusalem, Film, Food, For the kids, Sports, Things to do
Like Stomp, but Israeli: the Jerusalem Theatre's end of summer party
As the high holidays become visible on the horizon (they're closer than it seems), summer festival season continues in earnest in the city, with Jerusalemites trying to cram in as much freewheeling good times as possible before the rigor of days of rest and days of fasting. Weather aside, it's a good time to be out and about, because, as it so happens, there will be beer...
Nice move, Jerusalemby michael • July 31 2008
Municipal news, For the kids, Sports, Things to do
Jerusalemite had fifty shekels on the kid
Jews are not especially distinguished in physical sports, but they've always punished at the intellectual ones - especially chess. The ancient game, wildly popular over the last century and a half among the Jews of Europe and one of the few secular pursuits widely embraced by Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodoxy, boasts a roster of all-time champions that's fully 45% Semitic - including the late, awkwardly Jew-hating wackjob Bobby Fischer.
So it's only fitting that the Jewish capital should play host to the International Chess Festival, a whole month's worth of chess events in Safra Square drawing champions and amateurs from all over the world. The opening event was held yesterday, a day of competition and clowning highlighted by a match-up on a colossal board between Mayor Uri Lupolianski and some adorable checkmating children (pictured above).
If you'd like to witness, or even go up against, Israel's reigning shachmat masters - or you just want to to get your kids into more intellectual pursuits - check out the full schedule of the Chess Festival. It's cerebral fun for the whole family.
Image courtesy of Uriah Tadmor and the Jerusalem Municipality.
A conversation with Miriam Engel, dancerby simone • June 29 2008
Interview, Art, Sports, Things to do
Miriam Engel, a dancer with the Kolben Dance Company, is a born-again Jerusalemite. Born in the city's Beit HaKerem neighborhood, she thought her passion for dance would exile her to Tel Aviv. After a summer workshop led her to Kolben, Jerusalem's own highly acclaimed modern-dance troupe, Miriam was able to return to the city she has always called home. Founded in 1995 by Amir Kolben, the Kolben Dance Troupe (previously known as Kombina) incorporates theater, music and multi-media art forms into its performances and has been invited to perform in contemporary dance festivals throughout Europe, Africa and the Americas. Next week, the troupe kicks off the 2008 Summer Nights series before setting sail for Cyrpus, where they will perform at the Gonyeli Dance Festival, before returning to Jerusalem for a free performance at the Gerard Bechar Center.
When did you first begin dancing? Where did you train? Dance runs in my family. My grandmother left her native Bulgaria to train and dance in Germany with Grett Palucca at the Palucca School of Dance in Dresden. I first started dancing when I was three. Shortly after my third birthday I announced to my mother that I wanted to dance, so she started sending me to a dance group near our home in Beit HaKerem.
Although I went to a religious girl's high school, we were offered dance classes. After graduating, I danced for a bit with Vertigo (Kolben's neighbor in Nachalot's Gerard Bechar Center) before moving to Kibbutz Gaaton in the Western Galilee, to study at the Kibbutz's Dance Village [home to the acclaimed Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and the Dance and Ballet School, which offers a four-year accredited study program).How did you become involved with the Kolben Dance Company? When I finished my studies at Kibbutz Gaaton....(click here for the full interview)
Jerusalemite Opinion: Two wrongs don't make a rightby Frankie • April 21 2008
Betar Jerusalem clinched its second straight Israeli Premier League football (soccer) championship this week and as expected and has become accustomed in recent years, the fans stormed the pitch before its game at Teddy Stadium against Herzliya was officially over. Betar was winning 1-0 at the time. The stunt, a common one in Israeli football, which has been done countless times before by fans from all the major teams, was expected, even though the club and police had hoped to prevent it. In the end, the referee was unable to clear the field to play the last minutes and filed his report with the Israeli Football Association accordingly.
On Thursday the IFA’s judicial committee ruled on Betar’s punishment: A technical loss in that game, removal of 2 points from the team’s results and playing the rest of the season’s home games without fans. Accordingly, Betar is now not the champion yet and will need to win a game or two combined to re-clinch the title.
The ruling managed to irk the vast majority of football fans. Aside from Betar fans, supporters of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Kfar Saba are also angry since Herzliya now leapfrogs them all in moving from 10th place to sixth for a “victory�? in which it failed to score any goals. Likewise the two teams fighting relegation, Ashdod and Bnei Yehuda, see their hopes of staying alive dampened as Herzliya pulls away with three unearned points.
You surely won’t hear me saying that Betar fans should go unpunished for storming the pitch, but shouldn’t the punishment fit the crime? And shouldn’t those who are supposed to keep the order look in the mirror as well?
Jerusalemites take the gridironby greg • April 14 2008
Sports, Holidays, Things to do
We know that for those of you who grew up on sports (not all English-speaking immigrants to Israel are hippies), Jerusalem doesn't have as much to offer as you're used to. No baseball, no hockey, no women's synchronized swimming – but there's plenty of football. Not soccer – football. Tackles, pads and everything.
Yes, Jerusalem is the proud owner of the very-first-ever Israel Bowl Championship! Less than two weeks ago (before the launch of Jerusalemite), Haifa came to town and battled the hell out of the field and ball with the hometown Big Blue Lions.
The championship game was the culmination of over a year of hard work, on and off the field. Some 90 percent of league players are natives, and all live here (unlike the baseball league's importing of really, really good baseball players). Jerusalem claimed the league's best record, at 8-1, with its only loss in a midseason game against Hiafa. From October to March, the team practiced and played at Kraft Family Stadium (Kraft of the Boston Krafts) – the nice place to play next to the municipal Sacher Park.
Now if anyone is bummed that he or she didn't know, missed games or wants to play next year, there's no reason to get down. The next season will start up again some time after the fall holidays, so you can still go back to America to celebrate leaving Egypt and coming into Israel, then go to America for the summer and then come back for the holidays before you go home again and then... watch football in Jerusalem!
The league is only going to grow, and that means more football for everyone. There was a recent "draft" day at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and more than 60 students expressed interest in playing. This means Jerusalem may have a second team next year (can anyone say "Light Rail Series?").
Oh yes, the game. Jerusalem took it in overtime. Very, very dramatic. You should have been there.
Anyone interested in information or playing should visit the league's site and sign up for rookie training camp to be held during the week of Pesach.
Jerusalem's offense lines up against Haifa in the title game (top), courtesy Mitchell Barak. Bob Kraft shakes hands with AFI president Steve Leibowitz as IFL Commissioner Eric Amkraut and members of Big Blue Jerusalem look on (above), courtesy IFL.
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