In 1969 I came to Israel to be a student at Machon Greenberg in Jerusalem. At the time I had many friends doing the year at Hebrew University. Most of them were housed in brand new dormitories, called “Shikunei Elef” at the edge of the Givat Ram campus near the orchards that separated the campus from Givat Mordechai and Bayit Vegan. The buildings were long, thin rectangles on barren land.
I spent a Shabbat with one of my friends, and in the afternoon we walked from her dorm through the orchards to Givat Mordechai to see friends of hers. Two years later I was married, a mother and we lived in a top floor walk-up on Rechov Bayit Vegan which davka overlooked Shikunei Elef. During the ten years we lived there, I was able to observe how the university’s landscaping department managed to camouflage those plain buildings.
I hadn’t seen them for a long time until last week when I visited a friend who lives in the Senior Citizens Residences of the Shalom Hotel. During the time we lived in Bayit Vegan we also saw the hotel under construction.
My friend and I went out on the terrace and I was mesmerized by the view. It was the same basic view I had from my old apartment. That’s for sure, because you can’t see our building from there. I walked around and tried to see from the sides, but it blocks our old building.
The Shalom Hotel has two buildings. In between is the swimming pool. I couldn’t get a picture of our old home. It’s blocked by the other building.
There’s so much building going on in Jerusalem.
It doesn’t matter how many apartments are built. Housing prices still go up in Jerusalem. Supply never reaches demand, because the more there is, the more people want to be in Jerusalem.
When we moved to Bayit Vegan in 1971, it was considered a suburban, almost country-like neighborhood. There’s little to remind anyone of that today, except for the tall trees in the park near our old building.
This picture is taken on Rechov Uziel, under our Rechov Bayit Vegan. Our old building is hidden by the trees. When we lived there, we were next to the large park/playground that connected the two streets. There was just an empty lot in-between us and the park. I could even see my kids playing there from our apartment. You can’t do that today. Just as we were planning our move to Shiloh building began on an apartment house on that empty lot.
Nothing stays the same in Jerusalem.
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About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.
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