The Big Felafel


He’s no Weiner but I have pictures of the Jerusalem Mayor

newsworthy?

newsworthy?

With Anthony Weiner running in the New York City Mayoral Elections, it’s hard (no pun intended) to remember there are other mayoral elections taking place all over the world—including Jerusalem.

Weiner, if you recall, was a congressman who admitted to sexting and tweeting pictures of himself (selfies with a twist) to women. The story was gold for late-night shows—you couldn’t come up with a better name than Weiner to make the weiner jokes that were to follow.

After the scandal, Weiner went to rehab and was cured. Hallelujah! Weiner then decided to run for New York City Mayor, which brings us to present day news headlines. Oh, and he wasn’t really cured of this sexting disease and more women and pictures have come forward in what appears to be his “Fifty Shades of Weiner.”

But as I said, there are other mayoral elections, and for this Jerusalemite, I’m focusing on the candidates here. Current Mayor Nir Barkat, will once again be running for office, and Moshe Leon of Likud will be his challenger. Leon, is only a recent Jerusalem resident, and hoping to garner support from the Haredi citizens of Jerusalem who do not have a candidate running in this election. In my opinion, Leon has no chance.

I don’t normally talk politics, and frankly don’t even like politicians, but I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Jerusalem and a blogger of the Internet world, to express my gratitude to Mayor Nir Barkat.

Teddy Park Fountain

Teddy Park Fountain

Mayor Barkat has renovated and reinvigorated the city of Jerusalem, and all for NIS 1 a year salary. I love that he wears gap sweaters, has perfect English, and runs to work sometimes. During his term he has worked hard on increasing tourism, entertainment and culture and beautifying the city. Thanks to his efforts, we now enjoy a beautiful new Train Station open-air mall with free morning yoga, delicious cafes and plenty of safe space for children to roam and play freely. Another outstanding achievement is the beautiful new Teddy Park which is home to a fountain that shoots water for a half-hour giving children and adults alike, the opportunity to run, dance and scream like maniacs through the closest thing to a free pool or beach in the city. 

From the marathons to the food truck, and culture beyond, Mayor Barkat has taken Jerusalem to a whole new level and I look forward to seeing what he does with his next five years. I hope he will finally resolve the housing issues for young families, transportation and help us get our first coffee shop in Armon Hanatziv.

As for what I wrote above about the pictures; t’s true, I do have pictures. And it’s true they are not like Weiner’s. For the last three years I have participated in almost every city race, in which the mayor also participated. Every time I see the mayor I ask to take a picture with him.  He has never said no, and always with a gracious smile, and kind words, he has taken time out of his busy schedule to say ‘cheese.’ That’s the type of photos you want your mayor to be taking!

Running buddies

Running buddies

 

Cold but proud!

Cold but proud!

 

Thumbs up...cool.

Thumbs up…cool.

 

Official!

Official!

He may not know it, but he has become my running buddy. We actually run a similar pace, and in the Jerusalem Half-marathon in 2012, during the last few kilometers, running through freezing hail, I saw the mayor, ran by him and said, “I’m going to beat you.” Although I was exhausted and cold, I was motivated by the sheer fact that I would have to now beat the mayor. And I did. Woo hoo.

I look forward to running many a race with my buddy in his next term and remind all of you to vote on October 22, 2013.

 

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How the Old Train Station got Her Groove Back!

Choo choo!

Choo choo!

When I first moved to Israel I used to walk by the Old Train Station almost every day on my way to my internship. The station once housed the trains that traveled back and forth to Tel Aviv. Years later it became the home to trash and all things smelly. The building was run down and just creepy.

Today, a gap-sweater-wearing-Mayor of Jerusalem, Ugly-Bettyed the crap (literally) out of the old train dump and brought life back to the old girl. The only way this former-LA girl can explain the change, is to explain it through plastic surgery terms: the train station got a lot of Botox, a boob job, tummy tuck, and of course a face lift. And damn is she hot.

The Old Train Station has cafes, open space, fun little shops, tourist attractions, and amazing play areas for kids. It feels like a little bit of Tel Aviv has finally made its way into the Jerusalem Village—and I’m hoping a little beach or canal will follow (what they could totally build a canal or canals in Jerusalem…they built a light rail didn’t they?).

For now, I’ll take what I can get, and hanging out at the train station, drinking a smoothie, while my kid happily plays with a train set or builds another structure with daddy, is damn good. The station is also one of Jerusalem’s more secular areas, catering to a more pluralistic crowd, from non-kosher cafes to concerts on Shabbat. That said, they also have a musical Kabbalat Shabbat at 5pm, showing the versatility of events happening throughout the summer.  As well as food and playtime, the area is home to a great exhibit hall, now featuring a mini-train display that is great for the whole family.

The station is not quite finished yet, with more cafes and shops still being built. I am so excited to see what comes next and how this once abandoned building can still keep things moving!