Annual Festivals & Memorials

Festivals and Marathons

At the end of February/beginning of March, during the week of the Purim holiday, the Old City and all of Be’er-Sheva fills with children and adults in costumes, street parties, parades with floats, and comic events in the parks. Three-cornered cookies, called ozne Haman (lit. Haman’s ears; see the biblical Book of Esther), traditionally filled with poppy seeds, but also filled with: prune jam, pressed dates, chocolate, nuts, marzipan, etc. are eaten. 

Chess Club of Beer-ShevaThe 1st annual Israel national Be’er-Sheva Quick-Chess Tournament, in memory of the founder of the Be’er-Sheva Chess Club, Eliyahu Levant, was held mid-March, with 89 participants from across the country, including 14 grand masters, 8 international masters & 1 woman grand master, Ilana David, Director of the Be’er-Sheva Club

Glow RunEvery year since 2012, in the Spring and after sunset, Be’er-Sheva holds a city-wide night “Light/Glow Run” with over 5,000 active participants of all ages and large cheering crowds lining the streets, managed by “Kivunim. Before the race, all the registered runners are given a warmup session and painted and equiped with glowing colors. There are three well-lit courses provided: for 2.5, 5 and 10 kilometer runs. After the race, there is an afterparty with well-known local D.J.s and celebs.

Fringe theaterIn Be’er-Sheva, every July is the time of the International Multidisciplinary Fringe Festival, open to the public and with attractions for all ages and tastes–theater, dance, music, street arts, comedy, drama, improvisation, etc. This quality festival was recognized by the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 2017 as being the best festival held in Israel.

Each August since 2015, a 40+08 Artistic/Cultural Marathon is held in the Old City of  Be’er-Sheva. During this designated 48-hour period, visual artists of all kinds produce their novel creations, that are then presented to the public as a part of the “Zohar Deromi” (lit., southern glow) Festival at various Old City venues. The name of this marathon refers not only to the timeframe, but also suggests route 40 (that reaches Be’er-Sheva) and telephone area code 08 (for dialing the southern region). Free night-time tours of the Old City are also provided.

Beer-Sheva engine no. 70414Every year in September, Be’er-Sheva holds a Wine Festival at the restored Ottoman-Turkish Train Station.

Since 2013, at the start of every academic year in the Fall, the students at BGU hold a huge and loud welcome-to-Be’er-Sheva street party in the vicinity of the University. All are welcome to attend the festivities. 

An annual Beer Fest is generally held in October, as it is in Europe.

Womens Day in Bell Park 11.10Come November every year, an “Atena” Womens’ Fitness & Sports Day is held outdoors in Be’er-Sheva’s Bell Park for women from the entire southern region. This free event includes aerobic sports, zumba, yoga, a Women's fitness walk Nov. 20102-kilometer march and other healthy activities, as well as a guest artist performance.

Since 2008, an annual conference has been hosted every November on the  green campus – the Marcus Family Campus of BGU –  to grant “Marks of Distinction for Negev Environmental Quality” to worthy individuals and bodies, sponsored by the NPO Sustainable Development for the Negev.

Memorials

Terror_Attack_memorialEvery year at the very end of August, a municipal memorial service is held in City Hall square, commemorating the murder of the 16 victims of Hamas16 terrorist victims terrorism in Be’er-Sheva, who died in suicidal bus bombings on August 31st, 2004. The monument (established in 2004) was designed by architect Ya’akov Cohen.

Music & Songs, Musicians & Singers

Apologies–this is a very large post, because Be’er-Sheva is rife with music and musical talent and, as such, it will never be entirely complete and up-to-date. I want to include examples of everything and everyone associated with music in Be’er-Sheva to date.

Classical

Music education: 

Ruth HillmanThe Be’er-Sheva “Conservatorion – the municipal conservatory of music was founded in 1961 (in memory of philanthropist Samuel Rubin, 1901-1978), by pianist Ruth Hillman (1917-2010) and conductor Nissim Alsheikh (b.1926-). Each year, over 600 students from the entire Negev Region (including Bedouins) attend classes to learn music theory, music appreciation, and how to play all the various instruments.The Conservatorion houses the Hillman Concert Hall and the Municipal Music Library. The current director (2017-) is Jacob (“Yaki”) ReuvenOutstanding students are invited to perform in the various ensembles and orchestras. Many of Israel’s well-known musicians began their musical careers here, such as: mandolinist Avi Avital (b.1978-); mandolinist & musical director Tom Cohen; mandolinist & conductor Shmuel Elbaz; Jewish music producer Gabriel Hassonmandolinist & Conservatorion” Director Jacob (“Yaki”) Reuven; accordionist & conductor Eti Tevel (b.1985-); cellist Ariel Tushinsky (b.1969-); conductor Omer Meir Wellber (b.1981-). It is located at 10 ha-Meshahrerim St. (adjacent to the Municipal Public Library) – 08-6276019. 

Orchestras and instrumental ensembles:

ConservatoriumThe Israel “Sinfonietta” Orchestra (Be’er-Sheva) was first founded in 1973 as a small ‘cameri’ orchestra (22 new-immigrant musicians) by international prize-winning conductor Avi Ostrowsky (b.1939-). After expanding, in 1978 it became a full, classical symphony orchestra, performing under the baton of another internationally acclaimed conductor Mendi Rodan (1929-2009), who served until 1991. Rodan was then followed by violist & conductor Uri Meir (b.1946-) from 1991-1999. Next were: conductor Menachem Nevenhoiz (b.1960-) from 2001-2002; pianist & conductor Yaron Traub (b.1964-) from 2002-2005; classical guitarist & conductor Doron Salomon from 2005-2013; and, most recently, pianist & conductor Justus Frantz (b.1944-) from 2013. The “Sinfonietta” was awarded the 1995 Prize by the Israel National Council for Culture and Art and the 1998 “Wandering Cylinder” Prize by the Israeli “Art for the People”Organization for its service to the entire Negev Region. Office: 08-6266422.     

Nissim Elsheikh 2016Nissim Alsheich (b.1926-) was a co-founder of the Be’er-Sheva Municipal Music “Conservatorion” and founder of the Be’er-Sheva Youth Orchestra, both in 1961. In 1973, he founded the Be’er-Sheva Chamber Orchestra and, in 1996, he founded and conducted the Be’er-Sheva Wind Orchestra (consisting of woodwinds & brass instruments) until his retirement in 2010, when lawyer, conductor Micha David took Micha David - lawyer, conductorover. Alsheich published a Hebrew autobiography entitled My Life’s Symphony: The Realization of a Dream (2016?).

The Be’er-Sheva String Orchestra was re-established in 2014 by “Conservatorion” Director Jacob (“Yaki”) Reuven. The current, internationally- acclaimed conductor (2017-) is Maestro Barak Tal,  was also the recipient of the 2006Barak Tal - conductor Oedoen Partos Award for outstanding performance of an Israeli composition, granted by the Israeli Ministy of Culture.

Be’ershevan accordionist & conductor Eti Tevel (b.1985-, in Be’er-Sheva) received her early classical music training in the city, then studied at the Rubin Academy of Music & Dance in Jerusalem, played with the Israel Police Orchestra, and Eti Tevel - conductorwas a soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony & Philharmonic Orchestras (studying under conductor Mendi Rodan), also playing with the Junior Andalusian Orchestra from 2004. In 2012, she became the conductor of the reconstituted Andalusian Orchestra of Ashkelon. In 2016, she also became the first Israeli conductor ever invited to conduct the German Philharmonic Orchestra. 
 

Be’er-Sheva-born and trained mandolinist & conductor Shmuel Elbaz andElbaz & Andalusian Orchestra his Israeli Kerman Mandolin Quartet took the 1st prize at the 2003 International  Music Competition for Plectrum Instruments held in La Rioja, Spain. Then, his Israeli Andalusian Orchestra (founded 1994 in Ashdod, Israel) was awarded the 2006 Israel Prize for Music

 The Kerman Mandolin Quartet was created in 2000 by 4 talented Be’ershevan musicians trained originally at the “Conservatorion”Jacob (“Yaki”) kerman-mandolin-quartetReuven, Shmuel Elbaz, Avi Avital & Lev Haimovits (with standby mandolinist Tom Cohen). In 2017, the Quartet is now comprised of: Jacob (“Yaki”) Reuven, Mari Carmen Simon (Spain), Fabio Galluci (Italy), & Vincent Beer-Demander (France). This Quartet renders musical works originally written for string quartets on 4 mandolins.

A Be’er-Sheva trio ensemble consisting of local soprano Isabel Marie Hass and local musicians–French hornist Roman Kott and pianist Raimonda Sheinfeld, give classical performances.

Choirs and vocal ensembles:

Cantacapella Choir 2017“Cantacapella” Choir (established 2011), sings classical & world music under the musical direction of bass/baritone & conductor Yoel Sivan – 054-4949854. It has performed at a number of venues in southern Israel and, on a few occasions, with the Israel Sinfonietta Be’er-Sheva and/or with soloists from the Israel Opera Company“Cantacapella” seeks more tenors and altos. Sivan – 054-4949854; Diana Eidelszstein – 052-5013327.

Joel SivanYoel Sivan also founded and sings in a Renaissance vocal ensemble called “Gloriana” (founded 2010) with soprano Lucy Blochtenor Hillel Sherman, and baritones Yoram Bar-Akiva and/or Guy Pelc. Sivan is also a performing member of the Israeli Vocal Ensemble. Sivan – 054-4949854.

“LOGON” – Light Opera of the Negev (founded 1981) puts on an English-logon-logolanguage operetta or musical production annually, which it performs across the country. Rehearsals are held in Be’er-Sheva. Participation is voluntary, but those who volunteer must perform, excepting cases of illness or injury. To join the cast or stage-crew – 08-6414081 or http://www.lightopera.2ya.com. There’s even a book about LOGON entitled: The stage is our worldIf anyone can tell me who wrote this book and the year of its publication, I’d be grateful. Thanks, Ethelea. By the way, I sang inMerry Widow LOGON 1993 the choir, danced a can-can and a waltz & had a great time with LOGON in 1993, when we put on an English adaptation of the wonderful operetta “The Merry Widow” by Franz Lehar.

***I heard from someone that years ago Prof. Shalom Altman produced an album entitled: “One God” for the Philadelphia Jewish Community Choir, which includes a song that begins with the words: “Here is Beersheba, where Abraham the Patriarch, leader of …” If, by chance, anyone has this album or knows this song, please contact me in Be’er-Sheva at 972-77-4180008. Thanks, Ethelea

***P.S. I made ‘aliyah’ to Be’er-Sheva from Philadelphia in 1972,after dancing & singing in the late Rabbi Efry Spector‘s Israeli performing troup (in support of Israel). I remember handing flowers to the late Abba Eban decades ago. I also took great pleasure when appearing with the 120-voice University of Pennsylvania Choir and the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra at the elegant Academy of Music under the baton of the fiery-tempered Maestro Zubin Mehta, who has only recently retired as conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Not to mention how exciting it was to sing Carl Orff‘s “Carmina Burana” in a huge, old cathedral in Philadelphia–and making the chandeliers shake…

Classical/operatic/cantorial soloists: 

Retired academic librarian Pinhas Ziv resided in Be’er-Sheva and worked at BGU’s Aranne Library from 1970. Around 2010, he began to sing Jewish cantorial music, performing and also recording an album of the same material.

Classical composers:

Max SternContrabassist & composer Max Stern (b.1947-) became a resident of Be’er-Sheva in 1976. Much of the inspiration for his classical and choral works he derived from biblical sources and from the desert environment. In 1990, his chamber-music work “Balaam and the ass” won the Israeli Composers League’s Lieberson Prize Competition. In Tokyo, Japan in 1991, his work for orchestra & narrator, entitled “Perek Shirah” (lit., a chapter of song), was awarded 1st place by the Japanese Contemporary Music Association. From 1993, Stern established the BGU Music Dept., a student choir & a student orchestra.  In 2017, Stern released a classical music disc entitled: “Me’ever le-nehar ha-Sambatyon” (lit., across the [legendary] Sambatyon River, i.e., in exile), that he dedicated to the city. 

Classical musicians conductors:

Vladimir Bob Yourochkin - violinistClassically-trained violinist and music teacher Vladimir (Bob) Yourochkin (b.1966-) frequently gets up on an upside-down pail in the Central Bus Station (“The Terminal”) and plays his violin for the public. He has been in Be’er-Sheva since 2015.

Avi AvitalBe’er-Sheva-born mandolinist Avi Avital (b.1978-) made Be’er-Sheva proud not only by performing with the “Sinfonietta; the Israel Philharmonic; and other European ensembles but, in 2007, he appeared as the mandolin soloist with the “Metropolis Ensemble” at the New York Center for the Arts, playing the U.S. premier of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’“Mandolin Concerto.

Blachmans in actionFreelance cellist, pianist, music teacher & vocal coach HannahHannah Blachman Blachman and her  husband Asher Blachman, a professional violinist, sometimes perform as a piano & violin duo – 08-6413119 (not on the Jewish Sabbath, from sunset Fri.-sundown Sat.). Hannah also gives cello performances with pianist Gila Perach-Hirsch–they call themselves “Tsemed Kol Avi” (lit., the voice of my father duo). 

Accordionist Alexander Suslov (b.1979-) often plays for the public at the central train station and in the Old City since his arrival in Be’er-Sheva in 2014.

Modern genres and folksongs

Institutions: 

The Hebrew/Israeli Song Club usually offers a series of 6 evenings of Israeli folk and pop music at the Hall of the Performing Arts each year – for tickets *8557, line #1. 

Yossi LevFor decades, accordionist & emcee Yossi Lev (father of “Bat Dor” dancer Lior Lev) has given public Hebrew sing-along evenings, accompanied by guitarist & singer Dov Birkenfeld and drummer Alex Bellaish (father of “Bat Dor” dancer Natan’el Bellaish) – 08-6518139, 053-9428780.

Rafi Shaked - accordionistAccordionist Rafi Shaked came to Be’er-Sheva in 1970 to study at BGU and stayed to live here, becoming known as: “the king of evenings of song,” thanks to his frequent public Israeli folk-music sing-alongs – http://www.rafi-shaked.co.il.

Vocal groups, combos and bands:

ha-Hadim Rock groupFor over 45 years, “ha-Hedim” (lit., the echoes, established 1968), the first genuine pop & rock combo originating in Be’er-Sheva, started by guitarists & singers Shlomo (“Momi”) & Avi Asaf (father of Israel Beauty Queen, Ravit Asaf), gave shows filled with nostalgic Israeli and foreign classics from prior decades with: Uri Kariv on synthesizer; the late Ruby Serge on keyboards; and David Ya’akobi on drums. In 1972/3, they had an original English hit single entitled: “Fascination” on the radio, written by the late Ruby Serge and some clips on YouTube.

Signon Acher“Signon Acher” (lit., a different style) is a local vocal jazz ensemble created by Musical Director Yoni Shacham (b.1943-) that does humourous, jazzy & scat singing a-cappella in English and Hebrew, specially arranged by Shacham. In 2014, they put out a double album entitled “SomeSingElse” –http://www.facebook.com/besignonacher.

“Blueband” was a blues & alternative rock combo that existed from ca.1998-2002, founded by songwriter, guitarist & singer David Peretz; with lyricist & singer Elad Chopin; guitarist & singer Yohanan Kressel; keyboardist & guitarist Ya’ir Schleider; and songwriter, guitarist & singer Hagai Nahtomi. They put out one album in 1999.

“Lenses” (existed 2001-2009) was founded by songwriter & soloist Jo’an Safadi (b.1973-) with songwriter, guitarist & singer David Peretz and songwriter, guitarist & singer Yohanan Kressel, that lasted until 2009 and released 3 albums in Hebrew and Arabic.

Hoodska Explosion“Side”Be’er-Sheva‘s British-style electro-rock combo (established 2003) performed original English songs and toured Israel & Europe. Its original 6 Be’ershevan members were: bassist Shai Zrihan; drummer Itamar Abuhatsera (owner of “Feedback Studios”); guitarist Or Dahan; synthesizer Shahar Yampolski; guitarist, drummer & soloist Yossi Shitrit; keyboards & effects David (“Dudu”) Hemed (who is also a soloist in the “Machrumah” Band), later joined by soundman Nir Raveh. Some clips on YouTube.

Marionetta Sol“Marionetta Sol” is an alternative rock combo (formed 2003) by Be’ershevans Amir Grohman (b.1976-) and Ido Karov produced its 1st, mostly instrumental, rock & house album in 2004; in 2005, their 2nd album was released for free on Internet. In 2005, their vocal single “Hey” was aired on Israeli radio. They did a short performance tour in 2006. In 2008 they released 2 more singles. Album no.3 came out in 2009; then, in 2013, their 4th album was released. Current membersAmir Grohman – vocals, guitars, keyboards; Ido Karov – guitar, keyboards, drums, voices; Tal Fogel – bass guitar, sounds; and Nadav Gorali – drums. Former membersElad Chopin – bass guitar; Yaniv Dagan – bass guitar; and Gil Namet – drums.

Pinky combo“Pinky” (formed ca.2004) – a Be’er-Sheva-born punk-rock combo consisting of bass guitarist & soloist Tal Leibel, guitarist & mixer Boaz Even-Ezra & drummer Avishai Hazan. Their first album was “Pink world” (2007) and they put out at least 2 more albums by 2015. Tal Leibel put out his first solo album in Dec. 2017.

Jah-Nos Band“Jah-Nos” Band (formed ca.2006) – comprised of brothers from the Be’ershevan Zennou family: Avi, Ben, Lavi & Shlomi, with three other backup musicians, had 2 ethno-rock hit singles on the radio and put out an album of original songs, some on YouTube.

The combo “ha-Shkhenah mimul” (lit., the neighbor lady across the way; formed 2006) started in Be’er-Sheva and plays original pop music. This combo includes: composer, keyboards & singer Ronen Yarkon; acoustic guitarist, singer & mixer Oren Steinitz; bass guitarist & singer Idan Weisman or Jonathan Balter; guitarist Yitshak Me’ir; drummer & singer Yuval Ben-Hai; and singers Roni Bratslavski and Hilla Millstein.   

Karin Shapira“Ensemble Peham” (lit., the coal ensemble; active 2016) is a local Canaanite-blues band that combines the talents of Karin Shapira (former soloist with the punkband “Tsenzurah” (lit., censorship)) and of Aviv (“Yaniv”) Noiman. Separately, Shapira released her personalAviv Noiman album entitled “Tsemer” (lit., wool) and Noiman released his own entitled “David.”

Lotem Asner“Two Girlz Cookin’ Duo” (established 2017) consists of classically-trained keyboardist, vocalist, composer, yukalele player & percussionist Lotem Asner (b.1983-, in Be’er-Sheva) with vocal coach, vocalist, composer & looper player Maya Maya PenningtonPennington. This very creative duo creates brilliant pop/jazz/classical mashups and gives performances across Israel. Asner released an original solo album “Dived and disappeared” in 2015.

Singers, songwriters and DJs:

yosi-mustakiJoe (“Yosi”) Moustaki (b.1939-) composed many Hebrew folksongs and sings a Hebrew & Ladino repertoire. He has lived in Be’er-Sheva since 1949 and was among the first 500 Jewish families to reside in the new Israeli desert town. In 1969, he wrote music for Talmah Alyagon-Roz‘s poem “Be’er-Sheva Iri” (lit., my city Be’er-Sheva). Moustaki is especially well-known for his original song “Yam u-shkiyah” (lit., the sea & the sunset) and the music he composed for the poem by Israeli poetess Rachel (1890-1931) entitled “Zemer nugeh” (lit., melancholy song) – soundcloud.com/yosi-moustaki.

Yehudit RavitzYehudit Ravitz (b.1956- in Be’er-Sheva) is a famous, veteran Israeli pop, rock & jazz singer/songwriter and music producer. She has appeared on stage, on TV, in Israeli films, & on YouTube, has had many hit songs on the radio during her successful ca.40-year long career. In 1977, 1982 & 1987, she had the “Best song of the year.” Ravitz released 9 Hebrew albums between 1977 and 2013.

Avi Eilot AloushAvi Eilot Aloush (b.1959- in Be’er-Sheva) is a soul and R&B singer/songwriter who’s been singing in the Old City (ha-Simtah; Ashan ha-Zeman; etc.) since he was a boy (from 1973). Most recently, he’s been doing successful shows with singer Shivhiyah Bat-Israel, one of the black Hebrews from Dimona.  

Mike KaroutchiMike Karoutchi (b.1963- in Casablanca, Morocco), a Be’er-Sheva resident, is a violinist, a pop ‘cover’ singer, and an events performer of traditional Moroccan folk-music. He was honored in 2014 by the King of Morocco for being an ambassador of Moroccan culture. 

Zahava BenZahava Ben (shortened from Benishti; b.1968- in Be’er-Sheva, twin sister of Etti Levi) is a highly-successful Middle-Eastern-style singer, who has released 16 studio albums and another 16  collections. She is known and admired even in Morocco & Turkey and has performed at a number of European venues. 

Etti LeviEtti (nee Benishti) Levi (b.1968- in Be’er-Sheva, twin sister of Zahava Ben) is both a vegetarian and a prolific Middle-Eastern, Moroccan & Arab-style singer. In the years from 1993-2009, she produced 21 music albums, including some duets with Iraqi singer Jacob Nashawi.

David Peretz (b.1970-) is a guitarist, singer & songwriter of alternative rock, blues & Hebrew folksongs. He even started his own record company in Be’er-Sheva, under the “Cactus” label. He put out his first, original solo album “Haiku blues in 2007 and two more albums in 2009 and 2016. He founded the “Blueband” that existed from ca.1998-2002 that put out one album in 1999. In 2001, Peretz became a member of david-peretzthe first Jewish-Arab rock band in Be’er-Sheva  “Lenses”  together with Jo’an Safadi (b.1973-), that lasted until 2009 and released 3 albums. In June 2014, together with Amir Grohman & Ido Karov, he organized a special event combining local poets and songwriters, to present a collection of works relating to the theme: “Ru’ah dromit” (lit., a southern wind or spirit) –  a (primarily) Be’ershevan poetic and musical fantasy; the Hebrew contents of this event may be seen (but not heard) online in the blog “Kikar ha-Ir” of June 11, 2014, in the section by Guy Tene “Shney yesodot.

Yohanan KresselYohanan Kressel (b.1972-) has been a resident of Be’er-Sheva since his student days, and is a songwriter, guitarist & singer; previously a member of “Blueband” from 1998-2002 and of “Lenses” from 2001-2009. Besides working as a physiotherapist, he released 3 albums: the 1st, a solo light-rock album (2008); the 2nd, a dark-rock collaboration with members of “Marionette Sol” (2013); the 3rd, a ‘kick-ass’ rock album with soloist Yossi Shitrit from “Side” (2016).

Dikla_(israeli_singer)Dikla Dori (b.1973-) is a live-performing Be’ershevan singer/songwriter, described as a Middle-Eastern (Hebrew & Arabic) rock diva, who produced 5 albums between 2000-2016 and released many videoclips online. In 2002, Dikla performed in the Summer Festival at the Lincoln Center in New York. In 2004, she was named the “Best Female Singer of the Year” in Israel. Later, she appeared in the Israeli movie: “The ballad of the weeping spring” (2012). In 2015, she was awarded ACUM‘s “Uzi Hitman Achievement Award” and she also performed in Be’er-Sheva at the LGBT celebrations.

Eviatar BanaiEviatar Banai (b.1973- in Be’er-Sheva) is a guitarist, keyboardist, singer & songwriter. (His sister is comedian Orna Banai). Between the years of 1997-2017, he released 6 albums reflecting different musical styles: the 1st chamber pop (1997); the 2nd electronic (1999); the 3rd melodic rock (2005). Then he returned to his Jewish-religious roots, as reflected in the next 3 albums of 2009, 2013 & 2017. Many of his singles were radio hits.

Erez BitonErez Biton (b.1973- in Be’er-Sheva) is an eclectic singer/songwriter & DJ, who released his 1st original rock album in 2009. He sings western-style pop, rock & soul music, as well as Middle-Eastern pop – www.erezbit.co.il. 

Rinat Mor - singerRinat Mor (b.1974- in Be’er-Sheva) is an events singer and YouTube ‘cover’ singer, who has also acted in a number of Israeli films since 1985.

Alon de LocoAlon (“de Loco”) Cohen (b.1974-), a native Be’ershevan, is a leading Israeli DJ and producer of hip-hop, R&B, reggae & dancehall music. In 2011, he appeared on the competitive Israeli TV reality show: “Living in La La Land” and won the competition. He’s currently signed to Geffen Records – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alon_De_Loco.

Amir BenayounAmir Benayoun (b.1975-) is a very prolific (though occasionally controversial) Be’er-Sheva-born singer/songwriter, who has released 14 full & 2 mini-albums (one in Arabic) between 1999-2017. In 2006, he was given an AKUM Award by the Organization for Music Composers, Lyricists and Publishers in Israel. In 2011, Benayoun made an album in Arabic “Zini” in support of the Syrian people.

Amir Dadon (b.1975-) is a singer-songwriter and actor born in Be’er-Sheva, who will be starring in Ha-Bimah‘s production of “Les Miserables.” His first solo album, entitled “Amir Dadon” came out in 2010.

Sima Levy-DuchinSima Levy-Duchin (b.1976- in Be’er-Sheva, wife of singer/songwriter Arkady Duchin) is a sing/songwriter in her own right, who released her 1st album in 2006 and her 2nd album a decade later, in 2016. Her eclectic albums present a mixture of musical styles: pop, soft rock, folk and even some country-western, mostly in Hebrew, but also some English songs.

Roy EdriRoy Edri (b.1978- in Be’er-Sheva) is a bilingual (Hebrew/English) singer/songwriter who does soul music, reggae, rock & even hip hop. He spent 16 years touring abroad and returned to Israel and his Jewish-religious rootsEdri released 2 albums: one in English“Hear me out” (2008) and the other in Hebrew: Ad ha-sof” (lit., to the end, 2008).

Itay PearlItay Pearl (b.1978-) was born in Safed, moved to Tel Aviv in 1999 to further his musical career; then, in 2012, Pearl chose to reside in Be’er-Sheva. He is a successful singer & guitarist, and writes and produces rock, pop, blues & jazz music for other popular Israeli singers. His 1st solo album came out in 2005; his 2nd in 2008; no. 3, with Dana Berger, in 2010; his 4th original solo blues album was released in 2012; no. 5, with Dan Toren, in 2013; and the 6th solo album in 2018 here in Be’er-Sheva. Pearl says: “I fell in love with Be’er-Sheva, because here I don’t have to pose for anyone.”

Adi CohenAdi Cohen (b.1980-) was born in Be’er-Sheva and says: “It will always be home to her. She’s a Hebrew pop singer who gained national recognition when she appeared on the Israeli TV reality show “A star is born 2” (2004). In 2006, she appeared in U.S. theaters in a live musical production called “Like a movie” consisting of ‘covers’ of theme songs taken from many Israeli films. Cohen released her 1st album in 2008 and her 2nd in 2012. In between, in 2010, she gave an extensive tour, singing in: France, India, the Philippines, the USA & Canada. After studying theater arts, she also became an actress, and first appeared in the Israeli film “Snails in the rain” (2013). She has appeared in over 21 Israeli musicals. Between 2005-2015, she released at least 9 singles on radio & YouTube.

Dana Mazal Malka (b.1982-) spent her childhood in Be’er-Sheva. She has become a prolific songwriter for many of Israel’s popular  singers of the Middle-Eastern genre, such as: Moshik Afiya, Gili Argov and Etti Levi

Noa BabayofNoa Babayof (b.1982- in Be’er-Sheva) is a folk & alternative pop/rock music singer/songwriter, whose first English-language album From a window to a wall” was released in both Israel & the USA in 2007. Her 2nd English album “Blue bound” came out in 2016. 

Mor Luria (b.1982-), a resident Be’er-Sheva lyricist, put out an album including many of her original songs in 2017, together with some originals by songwriter & musical producer Moni Amarillio and with the help of singer Moran Sela and other singers of her lyrics.

Re'em CohenRe’em Cohen (b.1983- in Be’er-Sheva) is a singer with a radiophonic voice that has his own weekday radio program “Brizah” (lit., a breeze) at 101.5 FM. In 2006, he released his first Hebrew single entitled “Transparent in your eyes.” 

Danah LapidotDana Lapidot (b.1983- in Be’er-Sheva) is a pop music singer & songwriter, who became a soloist with “Hamsah” in 2001. She released her most popular Hebrew single in 2008 – “Meshuga’at” (lit., Crazy woman) and then her own 1st album: “Dana Lapidot.” In 2009, she gave a performance tour across Israel and in 2012, she released her 1st videoclip of a song Ve-ulay ha-yom” (lit., and maybe today). Then, in 2015, her 2nd album came out. In 2017, she made Hebrew & French pop-music clips in collaboration with Eli Henree.

Noam Vazana (b.1983-, in Be’er-Sheva) grew up and received classical and jazz music training in the city. She is pianist, trombonist, composer and singer. Now, performing in Holland and in Israel, together with her musical partner, Turkish classical guitarist Aktash Fatih Erdogan (b.1980-), she sings and plays in her original show entitled “In the name of the mother,” based on his mother’s life story. 

Asaf WeitzmanAsaf (“Cortex”) Weitzman (b.1984- in Be’er-Sheva) is a rare specimen, a religious Jewish DJ doesn’t work on the Jewish Sabbath–so no dance, trance & house on Friday night or Saturday. He put out his 1st album in 2005 and immediately set out on his first DJ tour abroad in Mexico. He owns his own private record label. From 2015, he produces karaoke and musical events.

Israel_Bar-OnIsrael Bar-On (b.1989- in Be’er-Sheva) is a modest Hebrew pop/rock singer/songwriter, who was discovered when he won the 6th season of the Israeli “A star is born” (2008) with his original Hebrew song: “Just as it used to be” that soared straight to the top ten on all the pop-music charts. He went on from there to perform in many children’s musical shows. Bar-On‘s 1st album, consisting of 13 of his original songs, came out in 2010. He continues to do live performances and has clips on YouTube.

Miki UzanMiki Uzan (b.1990-) from Be’er-Sheva composed and released his first pop single “Mukhshaf” (lit., bewitched) on YouTube in 2014. In 2016, he appeared on the Israeli reality show: “Eyal Golan’s calling you!” In 2017, he sang a duet with guitarist and singer Reuven Carmel.

Tal Fogel (b.1991-), a resident Be’ershevan singer/songwriter/lyricist, released her 1st Tal Fogel - songwriterHebrew solo album “Piles of dreams” in 2014 and her second solo album “To the large courtyard” in 2016. Musical arrangements done by Amir Grohman.

Shanim Maimon (b.1992-, in Be’er-Sheva) sings pop, soul, R&B & rap originals and ‘covers’ in Hebrew, English & Spanish and resides and often performs in London and Tel-Shanim Maimon - singerAviv. She was a winner of the Israeli music TV reality show called “Yeshnan banot” (lit., there are girls) on Channel 24 and has a number of video-clips on YouTube. 

Yolanta is a multi-talented, classically-trained contemporary musician–a singer, lyricist, composer & keyboardist who resides in Be’er-Sheva. She has released 4 Yolanta - musicianmusic albums between 2012-2017, some with classical or electronic influences, all featuring her unique voice and special sound. Frequently, her music producer is Amir Grohman from “Marionetta Sol.” 

Musicians:

Alex Bellaish (father of “Bat Dor” dancer Natan’el Bellaish) is a well-known drummer in Be’er-Sheva.  

Desert drummersThe “Desert Drummers,” founded in 2000 by Dudi Bar-Yosef, give performances and teach drumming in Be’er-Sheva – Sarit 052-4457700.

Avinoam Lasry & his guitarsAvinoam Lasry, a Be’er-Sheva resident, builder of guitars and teacher of guitar building, also writes, sings & produces indie blues & reggae music, including his Be’er-Sheva blues. 

Native Be’ershevan Alon Shacham (b.1980-) is a trained tenor saxophonist & composer of original, Middle-Eastern reggae, funk, traditional ska & jazz music. He’s a member of the “HoodSka Explosive”big band’ (founded 2004) Hoodska Explosionthat produces original dance music, has done a European tour, and released a double album entitled “The misleading” (2007). Shacham is the CEO & co-founder of  Compoze Music Solutions Ltd. (founded 2014).

More local DJs:

Lior Badash (b.????; owner of “Red Music”); Idan Hagai (b.1985-); Guy Haliva (b.1993-); Oz Zigron (b.1989-)

***If you are interested in the world of Hasidic music, the resident expert in Be’er-Sheva is Rabbi Avraham (“Avi”) Sandik – 054-4805607 (He works with Bet Moriah). It’s also easy to find local klezmer bands, such as: “Tamid be-Simhah” (lit., always joyful); “Mazal Tov!” (lit., Congratulations!); “Nigunim” (lit., melodies); etc. listed in the local Hebrew weekend paper of the Haredi (i.e., ultra-Orthodox) community Mekomi dati (lit., local religious).

Live music and concerts are held in various venues relative to the size and type of the performance and audience. They may be held in the: River Park AmphiHall of the Performing ArtsHillman Hall at the “Conservatorion”Be’er-Sheva Theater; Youth Center; on the Art Museum lawn; and in various halls and many other educational and residential institutions. 

Recording studios

Youth Culture CenterY.R.S. Recording Studio is located at the Youth Center in the Old City – 12 Herzl St., 08-6205003, 050-5872743.

Beer-Sheva Firsts & Feats

Over the years, the City of Be’er-Sheva has won many national prizes:

In 2012, the city was awarded the “Design Medal” by the international architecture and design magazine “Domus” in conjunction with: Bezalel’s Dept. of Architecture; the Technion’s Dept. of Urban Planning and Construction; the Israeli Union of Landscape Architects; the Planners Union of Israel; the United Architects’ Association; the Center for Local Government; the Union of Urban Engineers; and the Israel Ministry of Construction and Housing–for the many aesthetic and interesting water features around Be’er-Sheva. I2017 alone, the city received an Israel Culture and Sports Prize; National Prize for Proper Management; and the Israel Minister of Interior’s Prize for Social Responsibility and Municipal Innovation. In 2018Be’er-Sheva leads the major Israeli cities with the highest percentage of women elected and serving on its City Council (33%).

It has also been granted a good deal of international acclaim, such as being declared: “one of the 7 cities of the future on Earth” by the T3 Advisors and in Brandeis International School’s first Global Technology Emerging Markets Study.

In fact, the City of Be’er-Sheva was awarded the sum of $500,000 for 2017 and again for 2018 by the Bloomberg Family Foundation (New York, NY) to be used for the promotion of urban renewal, updating infrastructures and cleaning & maintaining public areas.

Special recognition of Be’er-Sheva as the paragon of animal rights & welfare – In 2018, the Israel Knesset’s Animal Rights Coalition chose the City of Be’er-Sheva as the Israeli city best exemplifying animal rights and welfare, and invited Mayor Ruvik Danilovich to speak about the many enacted & functioning pro-animal projects.

As of 1.1.2018, the Saban Birth and Maternity Center at the Soroka/University Medical Center has once again broken the Israeli national record for annualSoroka Medical Center deliveries, having delivered a total of 17,144 babies in Be’er-Sheva in 2017That’s about 47 babies per day! This includes ca.346 pairs of twins and 6 sets of triplets, born in the 25 private birthing suites. The Soroka Medical Center (founded 1959) is the second largest medical center in Israel that serves 60% of the country. Moreover, the Soroka complex is often awarded 5 starssoroka-landscaping for beauty in the “Beautiful Hospitals in a Beautiful Israel” Contesta propos, the staff at Soroka claim that natural beauty is both comforting and has a therapeutic effect.

Also as of 2017Be’er-Sheva is the foremost leader in engineering studies in Israel, with ca.8,000 engineering students.

Be’er-Sheva also heads the Israeli education charts with 1,470 high-school graduates who majored in social studies (social responsibility, civic action, community involvement), which is 65% of all Be’er-Sheva‘s 2017 high-school graduates–as opposed to the national average of 25% of all the annual graduates. 

BGU School of ManagementIn 2017, the BGU Dept. of Hotel and Tourism Management became the first Israeli academic department in its field to be ranked by the prestigious, annual “Shanghai Ranking” of the worlds’ universities (in 42nd place).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a ‘healthy city’ is one whose government puts health high on its agenda. The goal of the WHO Healthy Cities Network is to help cities develop and promote a comprehensive and systematic policy with special emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups. In 2008, the City of Be’er-Sheva became a member of this international network.

Be’er-Sheva has successfully integrated new immigrant Jews (religious and secular) from 72 countries of origin (from all the continents), including the last remnants of the Jewish communities of Albania, Iran & Yemen, along with resident Christians, Muslims, Druze, etc. to form an ethnically diverse society–all living comfortably in heterogenous neighborhoods, working together productively, in an international, pluralistic, pluralism-in-actionmultilingual & multicultural environment. In fact, the International Metropolis Organization paid a special visit to Be’er-Sheva to learn how we did it so successfully. 

Be’er-Sheva is an exemplary leader in Israeli voluntarism and civic action, inBeersheba volunteers 2011 which all the volunteer organizations (NPOs) are coordinated by the umbrella organization “Re’em,” situated on the secondreem-national-logo floor of “Yad la-Banim” (located near City Hall), Sun.-Thurs. 9:00-12:00. Chairperson: Shoshana Agajany; Acting Director: Alin Haviv, 08-6416619, 054-4214251.

Be’er-Sheva‘s E. Levant Chess Center (founded 1973 by Eliahu Levant, a.k.a. “Mr.Chess Club of Beer-Sheva Chess”) is renowned in all the international chess circles for having the second-highest rate of Grand Masters per capita in a city the World (9 and counting, as of 2017)–a longstanding chess superpower. The current director is Ilana David (b.1961-), who is also the Captain of the Israel Women’s Chess Team. The center has players aged 4-90 (in 42 competitive groups). As of chess club-1January 2018, Be’er-Sheva remains well-represented by the promising, young grandmaster Maxim Maxim Rodshtein 2018Rodshtein (b.1989-), currently ranked no.2 in Israel, after participating in two Israeli teams that brought back international Olympic gold medals and ranked no.50 in the World for his strength in the FIDE international chess ranking – 08-6277431.

Haim Shafir - TakiTogether with Haim Shafir (b.1950-), who created the popular card gameTaki card game “Taki” in 1983, the “Lunada” Interactive Children’s Museum has, thus far, sponsored the first two (2016 & 2017, hopefully of many), annual National Taki Competitions in Be’er-Sheva.

In 2016, Beershevan choreographer & entrepreneur Liran Mikhaeli initiated, with the support of the City of Be’er-Sheva & the International Fringe Theater, the first “Fringe Dance Competition,” open to all original works by independent Israeli choreographers and dancers. In 2017, the winning dance “Orpheo, created by Idan Cohen won the 10,000 NIS Best Fringe Dance Prize; the dance “Eshte’olah” created by Sivan Peled won the 2,000 NIS “Kivunim” Unique Dance Prize; and the Outstanding Dancer Award went to Dana Zekharyah.

“Glidah Be’er-Sheva” (Be’er-Sheva Ice-Cream) is a home-made icecream and frozen-yogurt parlor located on Hadassah St. in the Old City. It was glidah-beer-shevafounded in 1950 by Polish immigrant Yulia Rotenberg (1912-Glida Beer-Sheva #22005) and has become yet another symbol of the city, with branches across Be’er-Sheva and Israel. Today second- and third-generation family members (Sharon, Shirah & Itamar Bar) carry on the family business.

In 2006, the Be’er-Sheva factory “Mishkan ha-Tekhelet,” located in the “Emeq Sarah” Industrial Park, produced the largest woolen Jewish prayer-shawl (talit) in the world8 x 12 meters (=ca.26 x 39 ft.), to fill an order placed by the Gur Hassidic community in New York. It is officially listed in the 2006 Guinness Book of Records. The factory has a prayer-shawl-factoryVisitors’ Center where one can see how Jewish prayer-shawls are made – 08-6274161.

Since “Our future is inspired by our past” – join the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites – www.shimur.org.il. 

בית טוביהו3For example, we’re currently trying to save the house of the first Jewish Mayor of Be’er-ShevaDavid Tuviyahu (located in the Old City) from destruction for historic preservation.

 

  

Families–For You

In 2017, Be’er-Sheva has ca.30,500 families residing within the city limits. Ca.51% of the city’s population are women and ca.25% are children (minors).

There are many amazing families in Be’er-Sheva, such as the Krief familySarah and Simon Krief came to Be’er-Sheva from Tunis, Tunisia in 1952 and raised 15 children (8 girls and 7 boys) here. Their children have given them 87 grandchildren and over 75 great-grandchildren, thus far!! They’ve literally raised a tribe. (Tfu, tfu, tfu! May God keep them well! The Krief‘s confirm my personal opinion that Be’er-Sheva is an excellent place to raise a family.)

Organizations and associations for families

Hadassah-Israel, “Eshel Be’er-Sheva” Chapter is a voluntary Zionist women’s organization that acts to improve the quality of life in Israel and to promote women’s Hadassah Women logohealth, education, immigrant absorption, and to help children at risk. The Hadassah Women also offer Bible classes, a book review club, participation in charity marches and benefits, etc. Meetings are help on the last Monday of each month from 10:00-12:00 at “Gane Ye’elim”  on Aliyah St. in Hey neighborhood. A bimonthly online English-languageHadassah Magazine” may be seen at: http://www.hadassahmagazine.orgIn 1949, it was the American Hadassah Women volunteer nurses who founded Be’er-Sheva‘s first Hadassah Hospital sitehospital, the Hadassah Hospital in the Old City, that delivered the city’s first native-born Israeli Be’ershevans; this hospital served the local population for a decade, until after the dedication of the Soroka Hospital in 1959.

“Na’amat” – a non-political movement for working women & volunteers that provides: a legal aid office; women’s empowerment workshops; couples counseling; preschool daycare services; etc. The main “Na’amat” office is located at the Be’er-Sheva Women’s Rights Center inside the Histadrut Building (adjacent to the City Hall parking lot). Coordinator: Mira Hazaz-Koifman 08-6238196, 08-6463029.

WIZO Be’er-Sheva (founded 1952) is a humanistic, democratic, Zionist organization that: promotes family welfare; supports education and equal opportunity for all (e.g., Wizoemployment for single-parents); and safeguards the equal rights of women & children’s rights, located at 1 Weizman St. in Aleph – 08-6277714, 08-6450936, http://www.beersheva.wizobranch.org.

Assistance and support for families

The Be’er-Sheva Center for the Child and the Family (founded 1995) by the “Yachdav” (lit., together) Association is located at 3 Ya’akov Dori St. in the Vav neighborhood and serves as a place for arranged parent-child visitations (for at-risk children from borken homes) and offers parental counseling and legal aid – 08-6417301. Also at this location, there are meetings of a ADHD-children’s parents’ support group – 08-6206351.

The Bet Moriah Association sponsors the “Warm Home” Project that providesBeit Moriah homeless teenage women (13-17) with: a safe place to live; social and emotional support; and cultural activities at Mendele Mokher Sefarim St. in the Aleph neighborhood – 08-6288812, http://www.bmoriah.org.il.

“Kishurim” (lit., connections) – the Family Center at Bet Moriah, located at 91 Avraham Avinu St. in the Daled neighborhood, frequently holds lectures on parenthood and couples relations – 08-6409760, http://www.bmoriah.org.il.

“Mom-to-Mom” helps new mothers adjust and cope with their motherhood and babies. Experienced, volunteer mothers guide and support the inexperienced moms. This community project, established by Prof. Julie Cwickel, isJulie Cwikel situated at the BGU Center for the Research and Promotion of Women’s Health – 08-6477562/3.

“Nitzan” Be’er-Sheva diagnoses and treats learning disabilities. It’s located at 6 Bene Or St. in the Bet neighborhood – 08-6497438.

English-speaker Sarah Klein is a certified doula who gives childbirth prep-courses for ‘pregnant’ parents-to-be and accompanies the birth-mothers at the Soroka Medical Sara Klein - doulaCenter during delivery, childbirth & post-partum, also providing breast-feeding support – 054-4688470. 

“Tehila” is a discrete monthly support group for parents of LGBT children (some meetings held with the children present, to help them cope, as well). Call Sari Betesh, 054-4910468.

Family education and activities

The Adler Institute – School for Parents organizes parenting education and counseling groups in Be’er-Sheva  Dr. Anat Mishori-Der’i 050-5263693.

“Ashram” – alternative medicine clinic, offers therapeutic massages for pregnant women and babies. Address: 31 ha-Shalom St. in the Gimel neighborhood – Oshrat, 052-3788046.

The Wizo Preschool Center offers educational activities for preschoolers of various ages. It’s located at 5 Elijah, the Prophet St. (near the Levin Community Center in the Daled neighborhood) – 08-6409250/1, http://www.gilharach.co.il.

Some recommended places to go with little children, in addition to the parks and promenades throughout the city, are: Lunada [interactive experiential center] and the adjacent Children’s Park; NegevZooBabylon Park [indoor playground]; I Jump [trampoline park]; etc.–and with older children: Carasso Science Museum [interactive educational center]; Performance Rock [for rock climbing practice]; Skate Park [for skateboarding & snakeboarding]; Bike Park [for extreme biking]; etc.

 

 

Senior Citizens–For You

The population of Be’er-Sheva is now growing and growing younger with every passing year. In 2017, the population of the City is composed of about 27% senior citizens (aged 55-120, God willing), some retired, some still working. The following are only a few examples of organizations, activities, educational programs, voluntary frameworks & care facilities & services geared especially for seniors that are available in Be’er-ShevaIn my opinion, seniors may and should do whatever they can and want to do.

The City of Be’er-Sheva sponsors an annual, collective birthday celebration for its citizens who turn 80; the Hebrew term for the age of 80 is gevurot (lit., acts of heroism). Every now and then the City also salutes its resident centenarians (those over the age of 100).  

Organizations for seniors

Tech7Seniors meet often at CDI in the new BGU/Be’er-Sheva HighTech Park on the 4th floor of Gav-Yam building #1 to encourage digital literacy in seniors and to serve as volunteer advisors to local start-ups developing digital means and products for Ruvik with Tech7Seniors at CDI 10.2018making the later years better than ever – contact Pnina Ifrach at pninaif@gmail.com to join the digital age along with other sociable seniors.  

The “Histadrut” Labor Union’s Be’er-Sheva & Negev Region Retirees Club meets in Histadrut retirees logothe Histadrut Building (next to the City Hall parking lot) and provides its members with all manner of subsidized activities. The current Chairman is Yitshak (“Itsik”) Binyamin – 08-6463017. 

In fact, every major body, institution & company has its own local seniors’ club for its own retirees, such as: the Be’er-Sheva Municipality; Soroka Medical Center; BGU; the large chemical companies like ICL; “Kamag” and many others.

An English-speaking Seniors’ Club meets regularly on Thursdays from 16:00-18:00 to socialize and hear interesting lectures in English at the Payis Seniors’ Club at the back Wizoof the Wizo Womens’ Center (cover charge 10 NIS)  Chairman: Albert Jacob 08-6274670; Peter Lambert 08-6417246

“Amcha” (lit., your People) – the Association for Holocaust Survivors and Their Families – located at 91 Herzl St. in the Old City – 08-6270224. It amcha1has a gallery that displays art created by Holocaust survivors.

Activities & education for seniors

The Be’er-Sheva Welfare & Social Services Department, together with the “Matav” Association (founded 1958), provides activities for seniors at the various “Ha-Shalom” day-care centers – to register call 08-6209439 or 054-4627923 after 14:00. In 2016, the Council for a Beautiful Israel awarded their Decade of Outstanding Beauty Award to the Ha-Shalom” Elder Day Center in the Gimel neighborhood, run by “Matav.”

“Tarshish” a school for seniors located at the Kaye Teachers’ College that offers a variety of Hebrew academic and arts courses, as well as Hebrew lectures and guided trips – 08-6402818. 

The are now 6 Jewish religious schools across Be’er-Sheva for seniors in Be’er-Sheva: at Kolel “Iske Torah” in Daled; at “Minhat Yehudah” Synagogue in Neveh Ze’ev; at “Shirat ha-Rambam” Synagogue in the Old City; at Ahavat Hannah” Synagogue in Chabad HouseNahal Ashan; at the Judaica Library in the Chabad House in Aleph; and in the Rassco villas at the “Netivot Shalom” Synagogue.

“Kivunim’s Municipal Katedra” offers a wide range of Hebrew courses suited for katedraadults & seniors – 08-6414444, line #3, katedra@kivunim7.co.il.

The BGU Center for External [Adult] Education also offers a broad spectrum of academic courses that are open to the public, with special senior discounts – 08-6472626. 

The Be’er-Sheva Theater gives special matinee performances and senior discounts of all each season’s plays – 08-6206261, http://www.b7t.co.il.

Voluntarism for seniors

Be’er-Sheva is an exemplary leader in Israeli voluntarism and civic action, inBeersheba volunteers 2011 which volunteer organizations (NPOs) are coordinated by the umbrella organization “Re’em,” situated on the secondreem-national-logo floor of “Yad la-Banim” (located near City Hall), Sun.-Thurs. 9:00-12:00. Chairperson: Shoshana Agajany; Acting Director: Alin Haviv, 08-6416619, 054-4214251. Those trying to get an idea of where they might like to volunteer may go to Re’em and learn about the many options.

The Civilian Guard (“Mishmar Ezrahi”) trains and certifies volunteers (18-65) to dealMishmar Ezrahi logo with traffic infractions & accidents, terrorism, and other security Mishmar Ezrahi2matters in the city. The headquarters are located at 63 ha-Avot St. in the Old City – 08-6274347; Raz Shwimmer – 050-6277797.  

The Be’er-Sheva Soup Kitchen “Be’er-Sova” (lit., the well of sufficient sustenance, founded 2000) that provides free, hot cooked meals to ca.100 of the City’s indigent population each day and distributes “meals-on-wheels” to shut-ins. The food is served at  located in the Old City at 58 Morde ha-Geta’ot St. – Restaurant: 08-6233355; Office: 08-6412544. Donations of fresh food, contributions of funding, and hours of voluntary service are always appreciated.

The Lions Club “Achva ba-Nege“Orpaz” (lit., brotherhood in the Negev), that engages in Lions Club - Achva BaNegevvoluntary social action, meets at the “Avot ba-Negev” Elder Hostel at 12 Alfasi St. in Yud Aleph – President Emily Burstein 054-4818903; Secretary Dorit Vartsman 050-2974009. 

Be’er-Sheva seniors are invited to join “Friend of Education” (“Yadid la-Hinukh”) to do voluntary tutoring with elementary-school pupilsHannah Hadad 050-7699936, http://www.yadidla.org.il. 

The photo below shows the Founders’ Traffic Circle in the Aleph neighborhood, at the intersection of Balfour and Sokolov streets.Founders traffic circle 1

Pensioners are also welcome to join the project “Senior Citizens Make a Difference” and to do practical volunteer work in their spare time – 08-6268452, http://www.btl.gov.il.

Care of seniors

Be’er-Sheva has a number of companies that supply domestic/foreign (even English-speaking), part-time/round-the-clock caregivers, such as: “Matan” – 08-6200666Matan logo.jpg [After years of personal experience with both my parents, I highly recommend “Matan”]; “Amal” – 074-7292670; “D.N. Nursing Care Services” – 073-7588355; “Etgar” –  1-599-550-100; “Orpaz” – 08-6422194; and others.

Be’er-Sheva also has a growing number of decent elder hostels, old-age homes, sheltered & assisted-living facilities & nursing homes that offer safety and relative comfort along with social and cultural activities and medical oversight. They are located throughout the city and more such facilities are being built every year. Some of the larger residential Bet Yonah seniors' homeones are: “Gane Ye’elim – Bet Genyah” in Hey – 08-6101010; “Mish’an – Avot ha-Negev” in Yud Aleph – 08-9526709; “Bet Yonah” in Vav – 08-6407444. Some of the larger nursing homes are:  “Bet Yonah” in Vav – 08-6407444; “Etanim” in Hey – 08-6199770; “Neveh Shva” in Daled – 072-3226544.

 

 

Civic/Civil Action

Be’er-Sheva, Israel is part of a democratic, pluralistic society with both a strong social-welfare system (to care for the weak) and an open, capitalistic economy (where the strong may do what they can to succeed). We have freely-elected public representatives, a legal/justice system, civil rights and civic duties. Individuals enjoy many freedoms: of religion, of expression, of self-determination, of privacy, gender equality, and more. Citizens have the right: to live in accordance with their personal beliefs, to get an education, to work, to build families and homes, to have a social life, to enjoy local and international culture–and they also have the right to lodge complaints or to take legally-sanctioned action when they feel something is amiss or can be improved. In fact, Be’er-Sheva has a very active ‘third sector’ comprised of civilian volunteers and activists.

Local leadership and good citizenship

The Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev is located on the 9th floor of the Train-Mandel Leadership CenterStation Tower at 10 Ben-Tsevi St. and runs numerous leadership training programs and seeks to promote a thriving, pluralistic civil society – 08-6201444.

Courses in mediation, arbitration and conflict management & resolution are often given by various bodies in Be’er-Sheva. BGU now has a special, accredited M.A. Program in Conflict Management & Resolution. Some semesters, B.A. courses are given in the Dept. of Social Work on social justice/social welfare – 08-6472318/332.

The “Bar Si’ah” (lit., worth talking about) A.D.R. Mediation Center, located at 4 Rambam St. in the Old City, houses the Mediation Forum, currently chaired by lawyer & certified mediator Amir Ziman, where A.D.R. (i.e., alternative dispute resolution ) mediation is taught – 08-6650110/12. 

CEPAC – Citizens’ Empowerment Public Action Campaign, to safeguard democratic values and pluralism in Israel – CEPAC.il@gmail.com.

Consumer and/or public complaints 

The Be’er-Sheva Municipality has a 24/7 complaints hotline (dial 106) where all manner of complaints regarding problems within the city limits or with municipal services may and should be reported. For example, if a citizen sees a dangerous things in the public domain, such as: a burst water pipe; a large pothole in a street; a dog that looks sick/dangerous loosed without a muzzle; or a downed electric line; a rat infestation; or something blocking passage on a public sidewalk (forcing pedestrians into a trafficked street); a fetid, stagnant pool of water (where insects may breed); or an abandoned car–a good Samaritan will dial 106 and report it and many other such things.

Complaints about defective products, misleading consumer information, public health or safety risks, etc. may be submitted to the Israel Authority for Consumer Protection and Better Business Practices – cpfta@economy.gov.il, or locally:

To lodge a citizen’s complaint about public health risks (e.g., unhealthy products or government-mall31conditions), turn to the Israel Ministry of Health, Be’er-Sheva Office for Public Complaints, located in the Government Mall, main entrance, building A, Sun.-Thurs. 8:00-15:00, 08-6263511.

To lodge complaints regarding public or industrial safety (e.g., dangerous products or conditions), turn to the Institute for Safety and Hygienelocated in the Central Train-Station Tower – 08-6276389. Be’er-Sheva needs more trained, professional safety inspectors; accredited courses are given on the Open University Campus at Bet Yatsiv in the Old City – 08-6273828.

Complaints about environmental hazards and/or local eye-sores may also be reported to the local community TV cable channel 98 “Mi-Kan” (lit., from here), based at the Youth Center in the Old City – http://www.98tv.co.il or to the local weekend Hebrew news magazines (published every Thursday afternoon), each of which has a column dedicated to spotlighting municipal foibles and faults, such as the “Sheva,” “Yedi’ot ha-Negev or “Zeman ha-Negev.

In cases of complaints having national importance, the Be’er-Sheva Office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman takes civilian complaints about improper or harmful acts committed by public bodies or government agencies and their representatives. This Office is located at 8B Henrietta Szold St. in the “Rassco City” complex – 08-6232777, http://www.nezivut.mevaker.gov.il.

In regard to problems involving the Israeli military complex, the I.D.F. Southern Command Headquarters in Be’er-Sheva has designated a special phone number, available for civilian complaints and suggestions (24/7) – 08-9906565.

Legal matters and legal aid 

The local branch of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has an open line for the law-justicegeneral public, Sun.-Thurs. – 08-6521218 and 08-6480108.

The Israel Ministry of Justice has a local Legal Aid Office located in the No’am Building at 33 Shazar Blvd. in the Gimel neighborhood – 08-6404526/7/or 8. There’s also an office of public defenders at this address – 08-6404500.

The Center for Legal Aid to New Immigrants and the Israel Religious Action Center for Jewish Pluralism are both situated in the Levin Community Center at 3 Eliyahu ha-Navi St. in the Daled neighborhood – 08-6492193, as is thAssociation for Residential Tarbut ha-Diyyur logoCulture (“Tarbut ha-Diyyur”) that helps residents’ committees to resolve ‘in-house’ problems in apartment buildings – 08-9103830.

“Adallah” and “Ba-Makom” civil rights associations and other group for Bedouin rights meet regularly at the Mandel Center for Leadership in the Negev in the Train-Station Tower – 08-6201444.

Voluntarism

Be’er-Sheva is an exemplary leader in Israeli voluntarism and civic action, inBeersheba volunteers 2011 which volunteer organizations (NPOs) are coordinated by the umbrella organization “Re’em,” situated on the secondreem-national-logo floor of “Yad la-Banim” (located near City Hall), Sun.-Thurs. 9:00-12:00. Chairperson: Shoshana Agajany; Acting Director: Alin Haviv, 08-6416619, 054-4214251. Those trying to get an idea of where they might like to volunteer may go to Re’em and learn about the many options.

In fact, in 2016, following the paradigmatic example established in Be’er-Sheva by the “Shlomit” Association for Alternative National and Civil Service (founded 1993) in conjunction with the  Israel gay youth organization “IGY” (founded 2001)–a first support team and commune was established up North in Afula to help homosexual youths by providing guided education and activities.

The Civilian Guard (“Mishmar Ezrahi”trains and certifies volunteers (18-65) to dealMishmar Ezrahi logo with traffic infractions & accidents, terrorism, and other security Mishmar Ezrahi2matters in the city. The headquarters are located at 63 ha-Avot St. in the Old City – 08-6274347; Raz Shwimmer – 050-6277797.  

The Be’er-Sheva soup kitchen “Be’er-Sova” (lit., the well of Beer-Sovasufficient sustenance, founded 2000) that provides free, hot cooked meals to ca.100 of the City’s indigent population each day and distributes “meals-on-wheels” to shut-ins. The food is served at  located in the Old City at 58 Morde ha-Geta’ot St. – Restaurant: 08-6233355; Office: 08-6412544. Donations of fresh food, contributions of funding, and hours of voluntary service are always appreciated.

The voluntary NPO, “Hesed Lema’an Ehay ve-Re’ay” (lit., benevolence towards brothers and friends, founded 2006) supplies hundreds of food packages, hot meals and household equipment to over 700 needy persons. More volunteers and donations of food donations money are needed to meet the evergrowing demand. Contact – former Be’er-Sheva Councilman Yakov Ohayon (b.1986-) at: https://twitter.com/OhayonYakov.

The Lions Club “Achva ba-Negev” (lit., brotherhood in the Negev), that engages in Lions Club - Achva BaNegevvoluntary social action, meets at the “Avot ba-Negev” Elder Hostel at 12 Alfasi St. in Yud Aleph – President Emily Burstein 054-4818903; Secretary Dorit Vartsman 050-2974009. 

 

Cyber & High-Tech Innovations

The Advanced Technologies Park (inaugurated 2013) is a joint venture of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, with other partners, such as: the Israeli  real-estate company Gav-Yam; the American design  & construction company KUD; and the I.D.F. Telecommunications Division. This innovative cyber & high-tech complex, that will cover ca.200,000 square meters when Double-helix footbridgecompleted (adjacent to the Northern/University Train Station), already includes leading international companies, like: EMC, RSA, Oracle, Deutsch Telecom, Lockheed Martin, JVP Cyber Labs, WiX, Incubit (Elbit), Mellanox, CyActive (Paypal), BGN Tech Transfer (BGU), dbMotion (Allscripts), “Dalet,” RAD Data Communications, Rafael – Advanced Defense Systems, AudioCodes, NESS, WeWork, IBM, an I.D.F. Information Center, and CERT-IL (Israel’s national cyber headquarters) and more–altogether employing over 1,200 engineers & high-tech workers. Moreover, the first Israeli Center for Digital Innovation (CDI, founded 2016) is also situated in this park. By 2022, the adjacent I.D.F.’s ICT (Information & Communications Technology) Campus should also be completed and inhabited.  

According to Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, Be’er-Sheva is well on its way to becoming a “cyber capital” and one of the leading cyber powers in the World. The partnership formed by the Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB), the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in conjunction with other academic, industrial & military cyber hubs, form Project “CyberSpark” – a growing cyber innovation arena – 08-8656280, http://www.7×7.org.il. Since 2018, this first international cyber research center is focussing on: cyber protection and regulaton; smart transportation; and smart cities, and has a ‘living lab’ for virtual simulations.

Every year in November, the Gav-Yam Park holds an international “NexTech” NexTech Conference Beer-Sheva 11.2018Conference, at which hundreds of cyber-tech pioneers and interested participants present and hear about the latest cyber and technological innovations in the world: digital, medical, mechanical, geophysical, etc.

In 2018, the first (hopefully of many‘international digital-innovation think tanks’, established at the Center for Digital Innovation (CDI) in the Be’er-Sheva High-Tech Park, under the auspices of “Bigidea” (an Israeli summer-camp program for foreign youth held in English in Israel); the Be’er-Sheva Municipality & the Jewish Agency, completed its program. This special outreach program brought bright, technological-minded young people here to brainstorm together, to learn Hebrew, & to realize their potential in Be’er-Sheva – “The Opportunity Capital of Israel.” 

In 2014, two Be’ershevan entrepreneurs, Eliav Elhadad and Mayan Almasi  first produced the colorful, watch-like “Barkid” bracelet for keeping track of the whereabouts of children and/or senile adults. It alerts the responsible family members of their absence and provides GPS/WAZE locations for them on the guardians’ smartphones, when the wards stray farther away from them than the predetermined distance. This prevents the forgetting of babies & small children in parked cars. In 2017, they created an enhanced model called “Carefid Digicare” – https://www.barkid.co.il/pages/contact.

Prof. Moti Herskowitz (at BGU since 1979) in the Chemical Engineering Dept. served asMoti Herskowitz BGU‘s Vice-President and Dean for Research and Development since 2003. His Blechner Center/I-CORE research team developed an alternative to the use of crude oils–a technique for the production of renewable fuels by the direct hydrogenation of CO2 and he developed an eco-friendly, on-vehicle hydrogen fuel system that produces the required hydrogen fuel inside the vehicle while releasing 45% less toxic CO2. 

Prof. Emeritus Sidney Loeb (1917-2008, at BGU from 1967-1982) was one of the pioneersSidney Loeb 2in the field of ‘reverse osmosis’ (RO) (a new source of green energy at that time). He developed a semi-permeable anisotropic [i.e., directionally-dependent] membrane and invented pressure-retarded osmosis–both essential to the processes of desalination, food processing, waste purification, etc.

Prof. Yigal Meir (b.1957-, at BGU since 1994) of the Physics Dept. and the Ilse Katz Center for Meso- and Nanoscale Science and Technology solved the “0.7 anomaly” conductance problem in the field of nanoelectronics.

Prof. Emeritus Yigal Ronen (b.1940-, at BGU 1970-2015) served as Vice-Rector of the University and Dean of the Kreitman School for Advanced Studies (1995-2002); asYigal Ronen 2007 Dean of the Engineering Faculty (2003-2008); as Head of the Nuclear Engineering Dept. Prof. Yigal Ronenthree times; as President of the Israel Nuclear Society; and as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. He published a book and over 180 scientific articles in the fields of nuclear science and archaeology (his hobby). Among his discoveries are: the efficient use of the element Americium as a nuclear fuel; the 27-N nuclear correlation (named the “Ronen Correlation”); Ronen‘s “GoldenRule for Cluster Radioactivity;” and for his valuable work on the ‘denaturing’ of reactor-waste plutonium by the addition of Americium to create a “proliferation-resistant fuel” that cannot be weaponizedIn 2009, the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg awarded Prof. Ronen an honorary doctorate, their highest honor granted to any foreign scientist. 

In 2007, General Manager Judah Simon and his Be’er-Sheva-based company – EST [Environmental Systems & Treatments] – developed a mobile device for treating dangerous chemical wastes by superheating them and rendering them into harmless gases.

In 2007, BGU students from the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering designed the first in a Ethelea in BGU racing carBGU racecar 2018series of formula race-cars named “Spirit of Ben-Gurion” that participated in the USA 2007 FSAE  [Formula Society of Automotive Engineers] Competitions. A decade later, they’re still designing and racing their latest models. 

Even though the City of Be’er-Sheva sits in the middle of the Negev Desert and has no natural bodies of water at hand, a number of advanced marine technologies have originated at the BGU Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, that just signed a collaboration agreement with the Wisconsin Water Council to jointly develop newBGU RoboSub 2017 water-related technologies. Since 2013, BGU students have also been involved in  submarine technology and keep improving the autonomous RoboSub named “Hydro Camel.

In 2006, a group of five 9th-graders (age 15-16) from the Rager High-School in the Neveh Ze’ev neighborhood (Ran Di’i, Eyal Halali, Oren Freud, Nadav Eliyahu & Tamir Zvidah) developed an inflatable sleeping bag that won them the 1st place in the 2006 Israel Southern Region Young Entrepreneurs Contest and 5th place in the national competition. They now own and manage the profitable international “Sleep Air” business.