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Get out your graggers, it's time for Purimby michael • February 25 2010
Holidays, For the kids, Photography, Religion, Things to do
Once again, it's Purim in Jerusalem, where we celebrate the salvation of the Jews of ancient Persia a day later and a lot harder. This year's panoply of Purim partying includes plenty of unique holiday-themed events, street theater performances all over town, and a pitched battle between students of Hebrew U. and the Bezalel Academy to see who can throw the wildest Purim soiree at the Jerusalem Theatre. Right on.
And to whet your appetite, check out this photospread of Jerusalem Purims past, produced by our big sister website, Jerusalem.com:
Paper recycling finally goes curbside for Jerusalemby michael • February 23 2010
Municipal news, Environment
It's easy to recycle plastic in Jerusalem. Massive, modern-looking cages brimming with discarded Neviot water bottles (pictured above) are spread throughout the city, but options for paper recycling are more limited and less attractive - unsightly, ancient-looking horizontal barrels, inconveniently located for lugging armloads of newspapers or broken-down cardboard boxes.
Fortunately, that's all changing: one by one, Jerusalem neighborhoods are getting brand new paper recyling bins for curbside pickup.
Currently the bins have been installed in outlying neighborhoods Ramat Beit HaKerem, Ramot, Arnona and Ramat Rachel, but more neighborhoods are slated to receive the bins shortly.
The bins can accept just about any paper waste you care to throw at them: white paper, newspaper, colored paper, envelopes and mail, used books and cardboard packaging. No sorting necessary.
Happily, this is yet another addition to the recent parade of green-friendly news coming out of the Holy City - from the Jerusalem Green Map and the new SPNI Jerusalem nature tours to planned electric car infrastructure and urban eco-housing initiatives.
Bottle cage image courtesy of emilie raguso from Flickr under a Creative Commons license; blue bin image courtesy of the Municipality of Jerusalem.
New and easier ways to get to and see the Old Cityby michael • February 15 2010
City planning, Municipal news, Things to do
Jerusalem is a great city for pedestrians, but it's cruel for the motorist. First-time visitors to Jerusalem who think renting a car might be a great way to breeze through all the sites and landmarks are in for a bit of a surprise - the Old City is not car-friendly, and parking ain't easy.
Fortunately, the city government has actually implemented a plan to address that. The Old City has been closed off to all non-residential vehicular traffic, and to compensate, parking rates have been slashed at three lots within walking distance of the Old City, and a retooled local bus line, the 38, has been inaugurated to take tourists from the lots straight into the Old City's heart.
A conversation with Bracha Din, jewelerby simone • January 01 2010
Interview, Art, Holidays, Religion, Shopping
Bracha Din first visited Israel in 1968, and she came by ship. A true child of the '60s, Bracha traveled the country, spending the requisite time on an authentic kibbutz, before ferrying off to Athens, the first stop on an extended European tour which took her to 22 countries in three years.
Back in the United States, Din tried out college but left after a semester to hitch-hike across Canada and the western United States. This journey eventually brought her to San Francisco, where she met Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and joined up with his House of Love and Prayer. It was in San Francisco that Bracha first began taking the steps toward observant Judaism - "I danced my way into Judaism," she likes to say – a path that eventually took her to Brooklyn, where she married and raised a family.
Bracha and her husband attempted to make aliyah as a couple, but they returned to America after a year. It was not until 1995, her children grown and her husband passed on, that Bracha returned for good to the city that had "always been like a magnet, pulling me in." She settled in Jerusalem's Old City and soon began her unique work with stones and prayer. Jerusalemite caught up with her in the calm before the Chanukah rush when Brachaleh (as the business is called) will be displaying her wares in her Jewish Quarter home.
If you walk the right streets, Jerusalem seems to be a city full of jewelers. How would you describe the scene here, and how would you describe your niche within it? There are a lot of jewelers here. I think that what draws people to my work is the subliminal message contained within it. People who have that sort of sensitivity are drawn to my work. All my jewelry is created with prayer. My world is also a pastel world, though I have recently introduced [bolder] colors. My focus is pastel stones and ethereal-looking jewelry.
I've always been interested in stones and how a person can access their power, and when I came to Israel, I was happy to learn that there are Torah sources which relate to the power of certain stones – stones that have the power or qualities to bestow inner peace, love, etc. My middle name is Tzirel, which I'm told means jewelry in Yiddish, and the Talmud says that a person's name hints at what they should be doing with their life.
I've been blessed with good taste in choosing the right stones for my jewelry and the right designs, many of which are inspired by my meditations and prayers. I never actually studied art or jewelry making.
Your jewelry is specially designed to match the energies of the person it was made for. How do you translate the spiritual into the material? How does this creative process work? I sometimes design my jewelry with a specific person in mind – I concentrate on specific issues that person is facing and pray for them while I design the piece - and sometimes I just put certain energies into my jewelry and people find the piece that matches them. The rabbis say that an hour of prayer....(For more questions and answers with jeweler Bracha Din, click here).
Boom Pam brings tuba to the Bassby ben • June 14 2009
Music, Pop culture, Things to do
On June 23, celebrated low-fi jammers Boom Pam, who are signed to Frankfurt's Essay Recordings and often traverse Europe with their concert tours, are scheduled to play downtown Jerusalem party venue Bass.
People from the fringes on displayby ben • May 03 2009
Photography, Art, Things to do, This week in Jerusalem
Also known as the Musrara school, The Naggar School of Photography is beloved among Jerusalemites for its edgy cultural endeavors. The school's social issues-themed exhibition room is currently hosting All of Israel Are Friends, an appropriately provocative collection of photographs from 13 different artists, as curated by Daphna Ichilov, showing through June 26.
The exhibit opened back in February to much fanafare, which included experimental interactive elements for its first visitors. Check it out here:
The exhibit's moniker is a reference to the Hebrew name of France's Alliance Israélite Universelle, a Zionist organization founded in 1860, at a time when the Jews of Europe felst ike they were on the fringes of society and needed to band together. In contemporary Israel, we take it for granted that most Jews are not outsiders, although the images from this exhibit - which depict residents of development towns in the Negev, prostotutes, the handicapped and the elderly - make the argument that as a nation, we could use a bit more unity.
With Nir Barkat serving as Jerusalem's mayor, the city's many alternative arts institutions have been scheming for ways that they can band together and gain strength in the times of a culturally friendly administration - but, of course, such efforts should never be at the expense of the alternative arts cridibility that these organizations cling to so dearly. In this context, a walk through All of Israel Are Friends is all the more poignant: We're reminded that we ought to treat "the other" with kindness because we are all outsiders, and the reminder itself is being issued by an insitution that remains relevant by positioning itself as "the other."
Still more fringe art is showing this week with the Yellow Sumarine's show by New Yorker Ben Simon. Not interested in edgy visual statements? Prefer live jazz? Perhaps a community sing-along? Or a multimedia extravaganza? You won't be bored this week - check out our team's full cultural event calendar for Jerusalem, which is constantly being updated, over at our sister website, Jerusalem.com.
Detail from Micha Kirshner's portrait of a foreign agricultural worker courtesy of The Naggar School of Photography, Media and New Music.
What to do this Independence Day in Jerusalem....by ben • April 23 2009
Holidays, For the kids, Music, Things to do, This week in Jerusalem
Just because this year's Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) celebrates 61 years of the Zionist state - as opposed to last year's number, which had the advantage of ending with a zero - doesn't mean the celebrations will be meager.
Jerusalemites in particular are known to bite into Yom Ha'atzmaut with remarkable levels of vigor. And this year is no exception. There's plenty going on in terms of celebrations in the city, with events to appeal to every age and taste. Celebrations in the city's main open plazas, complete with folk dancing, rock performances and fireworks? Themed dance parties at pubs and dance clubs? Barbecuing en masse? Check, check and check.
Our full roundup of the most noteworthy events going on in Jerusalem this week - from before the holiday, to during, to even after the holiday - can be found on our sister website, Jerusalem.com.
But that's not all. The event calendar that can be seen on the right-hand side of every page of that site includes still more great events to check out - we're publishing event information there all week long.
And we're also gearing up for plenty more Independence Day coverage over there on the Jerusalem.com culture and tourism channel. Keep your eyes over there for upcoming 61-themed photospreads, fireworks schedules and more.
Happy Independence Day from everyone here at Jerusalemite.
Meir Ariel to be remembered at the Submarine some ten years laterby ben • April 19 2009
Things to do, Music, Pop culture, This week in Jerusalem
Jerusalem is made of many things. Most famously, it's made of gold, but here at Jerusalemite, we've written about a few other ingredients to the city (see the "Related" links below). Beloved, gloriously Jew-fro-ed Seventies singer-songwriter Meir Ariel (pictured), however, had a different vision of the city, writing his own "Jerusalem of Iron," as an iconic rebuttal to the Nami Shemer hit. Ariel's version was written from the perspective of a paratrooper who had actually liberated the Old City in 1967, rather than that of a state-sponsored songstress.
Ariel's catalogue, however, was far more varied than this tune might indicate. His career spanned three decades, coming to an abrupt end that ought to rank among the top strange rocker deaths of all time, when he died of a bacterial infection from a flea bite in 1999.
However, Ariel's work lives on - especially this week, and especially his Rishumei Pacham (Coal Sketches) album, which is being presented as a live concert tribute show by artists including Yossi Babliki, Albert Sofer and Ilan Bergbaum at the Yellow Submarine this Wednesday.
But that's not all that's going on over the next few days. You're hereby invited to check out our team's picks for the most exciting cultural and entertainment events in the city this week over at our sister website Jerusalem.com - and a full calendar, with new events being added all the time, can be viewed there as well.
It's pretty much Passover time in Jerusalemby ben • April 07 2009
Holidays, Food, For the kids, Music, Pop culture, Religion, Things to do
That's right. The harvest moon swells, and soon we'll be singing the Song of Songs. The smells of abrasive detergents and overdone toast waft. The bees are a-buzzing and the ants are a-crawling everywhere.
And hundreds and thousands of pilgrims are ascending to the City of Gold, where the feeling that big things are happening is palpable. Schools are on vacation, tourist season is gaining momentum, and virtually every cultural institution is gearing up to offer the best in springtime high art and lowbrow entertainment.
Over at our sibling website, Jerusalem.com (read more about Jerusalemite's relationship with that site, if you'd like, here), we've got heaps and heaps of unleavened content relating to the holiday....
And that's just the beginning. Loads more of Pesach-riffic content is still in the works. Happy matza time from Jerusalemite.
Photo of shmura matza baking courtesy of elibrody from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
Join us at Jerusalem.comby harry • March 24 2009
We've been promising change for months, and the time has finally arrived to deliver. We are happy to announce that the same team that has brought you Jerusalemite is now managing the culture and tourism channel of Jerusalem.com. It's no secret that our agenda has been to advance Jerusalem's international status as a cultural center that's vibrant and full of surprises - as well as to be the number one resource for all Jerusalem-related content on the web. Thanks to the new site's unbeatable domain name and all-star leadership team, our new alliance with Jerusalem.com ought to enable us to achieve these goals with a substantially larger audience.
Photo of Dublin by Asaf Kliger for Jerusalemite.
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