Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nahalat Shiva

According to the Jerusalem Post, residents of Jerusalem's Nahalat Shiva neighborhood hate the noise from all-night bars. The primary revelation I took away from the article was that there are actual Israelis who live there. It's very close to me, and when I've wandered over there the bars and pricey restaurants have been filled with backpackers or expats of one sort or another. That said, perhaps I was simply too early. One bar owner interviewed says Israelis only start to go out at midnight. Because Ben Yehuda seems mostly deserted by 2 a.m., I thought that was mainly in Tel Aviv. However, if the Knesset does pass a measure mandating everything close down at 2 a.m., would that forever alter the national "going out" culture? And as a side note, are bar closing times really a national issue over here?

Also, courtesy of Howard M. Sachar's A History of Israel, I have a historical note on the neighborhood. During the mid-nineteenth century, the economy of Jerusalem Jewry depended on remittances from abroad, and life in the community was dominated by conservative rabbis who had succeeded in driving many students out of a new secular school to prepare people for modern occupations. Some people, however, were determined to make the community self-sufficient:
"In 1869 the leader of this group, Joel Moshe Salomon, and six of his friends bought a tract of land outside the city wall. Later entitled Nachlat Shi'vah (Plot of the Seven), the purchase represented Jerusalem Jewry's first voluntary, self-financed undertaking beyond the ancient Jewish quarter. In 1875 another group of Jerusalemites procured a second tract on the other side of the wall, to be known as Mea Sh'arim (Hundred Gates). These ventures signified more than a desire to escape the congestion of the Old City; they were motivated, as well, by a determination to engage in productive life and labor free from the immediate scrutiny of the Jerusalem rabbinate."


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