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May 5, 2015 / 16 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Cinema City’

The Battle for Jewish Jerusalem

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

There’s a battle going on for the soul of Jerusalem.

On one side of the battle is First Station, the refurbished, formerly abandoned, old Jerusalem train station, which was converted into an open mall and cultural center.

When First Station first opened it had only one kosher restaurant, and it still promotes itself as being open 7 days a week for food, entertainment and culture.

Interestingly enough, since its opening, and despite efforts to be the bastion of secular culture in Jerusalem, Jerusalem economics have had their say, and I’d estimate that by now, at least half the restaurants have gone kosher, and some even Mehadrin. Personally, I recommend you try Station 9, a Chinese restaurant which serves egg rolls that rivals even those of Forest Hills’ Chosen Garden.

On the other side of the battle is Jerusalem’s Cinema City.

I had the opportunity to visit it for the first time two months ago, and without a doubt, aesthetically it far surpasses anything Tel Aviv of the central region has to offer.

And to top it all off, all the restaurants and food are kosher, and the stores and theaters are all closed on Shabbat. Who could ask for more?

There are some who are fighting to force Cinema City to be open on Shabbat. Secular protesters even went as far as taking it to the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled Cinema City must be closed on Shabbat, as it is built on public land, leased from the city.

With the hustle and bustle I saw going on in the movies and the restaurants, they clearly aren’t hurting for taking off the Day of Rest. Kol HaKavod, as they say. I personally hope it stays that way.

Cinema City combines some 18 theaters with a capacity of around 2500 seats, including 2 VIP theaters and lounges. Each theater is designed with its own movie theme.

Cinema City - Iron Man Theater

The mall inside is simply astounding. It’s spacious and decorated with movie themes everywhere, there’s plenty of parking, and even the parking lot has movie theme decorations.

Cinema City Lounge

I went in and checked out every single restaurant. They’re clean, they’re gorgeous. Even branches that aren’t kosher anywhere else, are kosher here. And they have some very high end restaurants hidden away on the upper floors. Its worth it to walk around. And while they probably aren’t going to the movies, there are plenty of Hareidi Jews eating in the restaurants.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from Simmy Allen, Cinema City’s International Marketing and Events Coordinator. He offered to take my family and me on a private tour of the new “Bible City” on the top floor of the center.

Cinema City - Noahs Ark

Taking the elevator up past the huge mural of Moses, you arrive in an outdoor museum with life-size replications of 60 different scenes from the Tanach (Bible), along with a full-size Noah’s ark, which will eventually double as another movie theater and hall for a Torah related film they are putting together.

Cinema CIty Bibile City

It’s very impressive.

The kids loved it. It kept them busy all afternoon, which was great for me.

SAMSUNG

Simi was telling me (since that was the real purpose of his invitation and tour) that Cinema City actually doubles as a party, conference and convention center.

All the different themed movie theaters can be rented out for seminars, conferences or parties, and if you want, you can select whatever movie you want to see. The largest theater holds almost 500 people, and you can project the podium speakers onto screens in the other theaters to handle the spillover.

There’s kosher catering for events (Mehadrin is an option too), from movie theater popcorn and soda to gourmet meals.

One of the big draws of “Bible City” is for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, especially from overseas guests looking for the right venue.

Not only can the party or meal be held in one of the theaters or lounges, but Bible City then adds a Jewish theme to the whole event.Noah's Ark

As I started this article off, it’s important to see in Jerusalem and Israel, fun, cultural and entertainment centers that respect Shabbat and Kashrut, despite the various unrelenting pressures on them violate those basic Jewish principles and traditions. Cinema City proves you don’t need to work on Shabbat to be a success.

Cinema City

If you want to find out more about holding a Bar/Bat Mitzva or private family event at Cinema City, I recommend you contact Simmy at Simmy@NLC.co.il or call him at (Israel) 074-752-6717 or (US) 1-917-728-1343.

Cinema City is located near the Foreign Ministry and opposite the Israeli Supreme Court.

Enjoy the show.

Court to Rule If Jerusalem’s ’Cinema City’ Can Violate the Sabbath

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Jerusalem’s $75 million, 19-theatre Cinema City opened on Tuesday, but the Supreme Court will decide next month if it can operate on the Sabbath, in violation of both Jewish law and the “status quo” that maintains an equilibrium and unstable peace between observant and non-observant Jews in the capital.

Multi-screen theatres are common in Israel, but not in Jerusalem. The new eight-floor complex, located across the street from the same court building that will decide its fate on the Sabbath, includes 50 cafes and shops and is expected to see up to 15 million visitors in its first year of operation.

The last thing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat needs is another reason for riots from the Haredi community, which already has enough fuel for a city-wide blaze of anger over the idea of a military draft for all Jews, including yeshiva students. The argument over the compulsory draft for all conveniently does not focus on Arabs. That is another story by itself but illustrates how Israeli politicians manage to ride the rails of populism.

Mayor Barkat has taken the safe road on the issue of Shabbat. During last year’s mayoral election race, he said the complex should remain closed on the Day of Rest. He now emphasizes that the decision is up to the court. Given the financial income to the city by thousands of tourists spending money on movies and restaurants on the Sabbath, Barkat’s heart might be in the wallet and not in the Torah.

The municipality has stated that the agreement between Cinema City’s developers and the Finance Ministry stipulated that the movie complex will not operate on the Sabbath since it is located on government property.

City Council member Merav Cohen insists that Barkat can change the terms of the agreement if he wants to and that it is not dependent on the Finance Ministry.

Deputy Mayor Yossi Deutsch claims that most of the city council opposes a Shabbat opening for the theatre complex. Whether or not a majority really wants it closed because of religious reasons or out of respect for the Orthodox community, they certainly would prefer Jerusalem get attention from other areas instead of Haredi riots.

The fact is that when the Jerusalem City Council decided four years ago that Cinema City would be closed on the Sabbath, only three members at the meeting objected.

National religious Rabbi Yaakov Medan of Gush Etzion has written that the cinema complex should be open for secular Israelis, with restrictions against restaurants and other commercial establishments being open. He said that Jerusalem needs secular residents, who should not feel they have to live elsewhere to avoid restrictions due to the Sabbath.

The argument is an old one. Is it religious coercion to close down movie theatres on Shabbat? Is it secular coercion to allow them to open? Does it ruin the religious character of the city, if not Israel, by allowing them to operate?

Those are interesting social, theological and philosophical questions, but the more immediate question might be if the court will take into consideration the physical safety of citizens if it allows Cinema City to open its doors and if riots follow.

Everything in Israel comes down to politics. The Haredim correctly feel they are being marginalized, although the change is long overdue. The government has cut funds for yeshivas, it wants Haredi youth to serve in the army just like everyone else – except secular draft dodgers about whom no one seems to write.

The Haredi establishment has managed to hold on to the Chief Rabbinate, but its powers are being undermined with a belated reform of kosher supervision that is aimed at  eliminating corruption and making sure that “kosher” really is ”kosher” and not just a stamp on a certificate in return for money in the pocket.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/court-to-rule-if-jerusalems-cinema-city-will-violate-the-sabbath/2014/02/25/

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