Jerusalem: Business, Brains, Beauty and Start-Ups

Oh, well, I have been doing everything wrong.

When I started posting,

it was assumed that RJS was done by a man.

Being anonymous,

 I used to receive emails forwarded

from laughing friends, “Oh my, you really know him!”

To stand out, one must tell a unique story,

and that was this year’s theme at the

6th Temech Conference for Women in Business.

The first year I attended Temech,

I did not know anyone.

This year it was different,

it was wonderful to see so many friends participating,

and as always so many accomplished women speakers.

Mayor Barkat and temech

Mayor Nir Barkat spoke first in Hebrew

 and then in English to over 600 religious women,

all Israeli business women and entrepreneurs.

I admit that lunch was a real treat.

photo food

 For women who prepare meals day after day,

a delicious buffet, without cutting and chopping,

 is itself a mini-holiday.


this day was about growing business

with many speakers and sessions.

BIRG: Basking in Reflecting Glory,

Rabbi Issamat Ginzberg

was the first tip from Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg,

whose Hassidic background and dress enables him

to stand out as an unique business adviser.

Issamar Ginzberg sitting with Aryeh Deri

Ginzberg sat with MK Arye Deri

Issamar Ginzberg and Moshe Gafni

and then with MK Moshe Gafni,

both speakers at the conference plenary.

Only Ginzberg actually sat for less then 30 seconds each time.

He must have counted on the abilities of this great photographer

to capture the moment.

A wise business tip brilliantly exemplified.

Another popular session was with Haim Walder,

a Hebrew writer who had lines of women waiting

to buy his books and talk to him.

Nir Barkat with book by Haim WAdler

Walder presented his book to the Mayor,

yet another example of business savvy.

There were piles of business cards on a special table,


including my new postcard.

However, taking inspiration from these examples,

I will share that I studied Chemistry and worked in

Biochemical research at The Rockefeller University

after graduating university with honors.

So this being start-up Israel,

I went to hear about VLX bio-med start up funding.

Quill illustration

What brilliant ideas inspired by nature.

Maybe basking in glory.

image Peptides

 but I confess that I did not understand most of the peptide lecture.

Brilliant ideas and creativity and innovation,

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens at sunset

and the beauty of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens as the sun set.

Hundreds of talented, hard-working Haredi women,

ingenious Jerusalem bio-med start ups,

so what did you hear about this week?

Federation General Assembly Goes out in New Style

The 82nd Annual General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America,

the GA, met in Jerusalem, Israel, over three days this week.

#JFNAGA photo, Netanyahu image, picture Prime Minister speaking

The first night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was main speaker

at the Jerusalem International Convention Center – ICC.

I spent two days inside the ICC, following a program called

“The Global Jewish Shuk: A Marketplace of Dialogue and Debate,”

so it was great that the farewell ceremony was held outside.

image #JFNAGA, picture from end of Israel general assembly

These chairs and a small stage were set up for GA delegates

and many others in Kikar Safra, Safra Square.

image Naftali Bennett speaking, photo Naftali Bennett at GA

Minister Naftali Bennett was the featured government speaker,

and he showed off his best English for the Anglo crowd.

photo GA, chairmen of GA image, picture from Kikar Safra

Michael Siegal thanked Ronny Douek and

Susie and Michael Gelman for chairing the convention.

And then, 

picture walk to kotel, image GA leaders,

with Mayor Nir Barkat and Natan Sharansky at his side,

he led the crowd out of the government plaza

image GA walk to Western Wall, picture walking to Kotel

 to the sounds of a real brass band.

image walking along Old City walls.

With small US, Israeli and GA flags,

image Palestinian women, picture Israel Arab women, Israel apartheid

they walked along the Walls of the Old City,

picture walk to egalitarian service, GA mixed prayer at Kotel

past Jaffa Gate,

image walking to Kossel, Wailing wall

and up the narrow stone steps,

image women waving flags, picture women going to egalitarian service

with more music and more flag waving along the route.

image going to egalitarian service, image parade through old city.

These children waiting to cross the street in the Old City parking lot

got an eyeful as colorful entertainers joined the GA participants.

The route took them to the new area at Robinson’s Arch.

My challenge is to share with you what it looks like now.

image view of new section for public prayer, egalitarian section western wall, picture new Robinson's Arch

This metal platform is constructed up against the wall,

photo Robinson's Arch enlarged, new area of western wall for women and men

the same huge wall as the Kotel, the Western Wall.

giant stones photo, image large stones near western wall.

These massive ancient stones have not been moved.

image new section of wailing wall, picture women at wall,

From this platform one can reach up to place a note in the wall

from an area where men and women are not separated and can pray together.

image size of new section of western wall, picture egalitarian area, photo of Western Wall new section

This is the new area, the large platform on the upper left,

that Naftali Bennett talked about at the farewell ceremony,

 part of a temporay plan while Natan Sharansky

is trying to work out as a compromise

for Women of the Wall to have Rosh Chodesh singing

and other egalitarian prayer services.

image new area for public at western wall

A plaza open to the public was important for this group,

and the GA ended their conference here, as the sun was setting.

image Old City, photo of Jerusalem,

I passed thousands more tourists from around the world,

coming down the stairs to the Kotel, to the Western Wall,

to experience the ancient and holy place.

 I started to walk home,

after two days of going to exhibit booths,

listening to speakers, meeting new people, running into friends,

and talking and talking, talking too much,

and taking way too many photos.

One woman told me as we were walking, and yes, more talking,

that once she got to Israel, she has not been afraid even once.

I am so glad she also got to know the real Jerusalem streets.

Where is Cinema City in Jerusalem?

When Jerusalem, Israel is involved

there seem to be few things on which everyone agrees.

But one thing that is obvious to all,

is the number of major construction projects,

image building in Jerusalem

with their huge cranes towering in the skyline.

The elections for Mayor of Jerusalem, are set for the fall.

Nir Barkat  Jerusalem Mayor camgpaign

For weeks, current Mayor Nir Barkat has had campaign workers out on the streets.

Streets, where recent roadwork has kept residents awake for nights on end.

Even on a very busy week, some invitations are hard to refuse.

So when I was offered a chance to see some of the new Jerusalem venues

 on a tour led by the mayor himself, well, that went to the top of my must-do list.

Finally a chance to find out the answer to what everyone is asking,

where is Cinema City?

The first stop was the new Cinema City complex.

photo Jerusalem Mayor

 Deep under ground Nir Barkat

photo Mayor Jerusalem

spoke to journalists in front of the space for one of the movie screens.

image new Cinema City jerusalem

These seats were so comfortable that it was hard to get up and get going, 

and hard to believe that there is another theater with even better chairs.

The large multiplex theaters are all built underground, 

 and the largest auditorium is to seat 6,000.

photo Cinema City

 Photographers were allowed to take many photos of the mayor,

but not of all the construction areas.

image Cinema City

It’s hard to believe that this will open at the end of this week as planned,

or even Sukkot time as now anticipated.

image Cinema City

I wonder how long it will take until the high speed train comes in to this station.

Cinema City under construction

The bridge to parking garage has been ready for years,

but mostly used to hang protest signs.

Bbi stand strong sign.

These banners, from March 2010, say “Netanyahu stand strong.”

Then, we were off to Teddy Stadium,

photo inside Teddy Stadium

where the massive set of the Maccabiah Opening was being taken down.

The newly enlarged stadium was being redone for Maccabiah 2013 Closing ceremony. 

Inside Teddy Stadium Jerusalem

The VIP section looked so very different in daylight.

Stop three on the tour was near by,

Sports Arena in Jerusalem image

the new sports arena, still under construction,.

(Pais has nothing to do with peace,

but is transliterated Hebrew word for lottery.)

How often in Jerusalem do you see hard hats at any construction site,

Hard hats in construction stie, sports arena Jerusalem

certainly not with popsicles and a talk by the mayor?

Jerusalem sports arena

This arena was so large, 

New sorts arena Jerusalem

that it was impossible to get it in all one shot.

There were three buses on this tour, 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat photo,

and Mayor Barkat was our personal tour guide to the last stop at First Station.

As the sun was beginning to set

image Mayor Barkat at First Station

on the roof top of the Old Train Station, the tour concluded.

Mayor Barkat has initiated massive building and sports projects,

and major events to draw young people and tourists to Jerusalem,

 he wants to be re-elected to see his vision for Jerusalem continue.

How ironic that on the very same day of the tour,

 a challenger to the mayor launched his campaign.  

image Moshe Lion running for Jerusalem mayor

There was Moshe Lion up on the side of this building, bigger-than-life.

It’s not clear what will happen next in this mayoral campaign,

but one other thing that is for sure:

 a lot of money will be spent.

(Full disclosure, I have a friend who is a friend of the Mayor’s mother-in-law.,

but it was another friend who got my name on the list, thanks Lisa)

UPDATE: since many could still not figure out where Cinema City was:

 four more photos from different angles.