The City by the Bay's Yerba Buena Gardens will soon become a mini-Jerusalem, where several thousand people are expected to mark the City of Gold's 3000th birthday.
"People will be able to celebrate Jerusalem's establishment as the capital of Israel without ever having to board an airplane," said Barry Cohn, who, along with his wife, Debbie, is chairing the San Francisco festival.
Featuring elaborate decorations modeled after the Old City of Jerusalem, the festival, slated for June 9, will cap off several major Jerusalem 3000 community events funded by a $70,500 grant to the Jewish Community Relations Council from the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation's Endowment Fund.
The festival will also double as the community's annual Israel Independence Day celebration.
Bill Lowenberg, who chairs a communitywide Jerusalem 3000 joint planning committee under the auspices of the JCF and JCRC, said the Bay Area is one of countless locations around the world gearing up to celebrate Jerusalem 3000.
Kicking off the local events this May will be internationally acclaimed Israeli pop singer Yehudit Ravitz, who will perform at San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium.
An educational symposium featuring a panel of scholars and religious leaders will also examine the historical links of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the city of Jerusalem.
"Our goal is to focus on events which will educate our Jewish and general communities about the history, significance, influence, present status and future potential of Jerusalem," said Sandy Leib, who is helping Lowenberg's committee coordinate the events.
"Who would have ever believed we'd have the great privilege to see Jerusalem's trimillennium?" said Lowenberg. "I invite all of the Bay Area's Jewish and general communities to come and celebrate with us."
The grant for the Jerusalem 3000 celebrations was one of 11 totaling $1.1 million recently allocated by the JCEF to local, national and overseas Jewish organizations and projects.
Other grants approved by the JCF's board of directors in the areas of culture and public affairs, family and health, and education include:
*$163,228 in one-time emergency funding to the United Jewish Community Centers; $143,228 for costs associated with the dissolution of the UJCC and an additional $20,000 to engage a consultant.
$20,000 to The University Foundation to underwrite the cost of four Jewish studies courses (two per semester) for one year at Cal State Chico. One of the courses will be offered via the Internet.
*$102,725 in one-time emergency funding to the Peninsula Jewish Community Center to purchase and install a mobile facility to accommodate new employees engaged as a result of the UJCC dissolution.
*$100,000 in a one-time grant to the Council of Jewish Federations to engage staff in the CJF's Washington Action Office over an 18-month period to study the effect of future federal Medicare-Medicaid legislation on California.
*$18,000 in seed funding to Berkeley Hillel for its Campus/In-tergroup Relations Project, a program to address issues of affirmative action, church-state conflict and anti-Semitism at U.C. Berkeley.
*$50,000 in initial seed funding to the Jewish Museum San Francisco to help cover pre-construction planning costs associated with its move to the new facility at Yerba Buena Gardens' Jessie Street Substation.
*$21,485 in seed funding to the Tawonga Jewish Community Corporation in support of a one-year research and development project on retreats and conferences for Jewish adults and families.
*$75,000 in reserve seed funding to the JCF to launch the Quarter Century Club, which formally recognizes donors of 25 years and more.
*$500,000 grant and $700,000 bridge loan to Brandeis Hillel Day School to purchase the Brotherhood Way campus building from the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
*$5,000 in seed funding to the Regional Oral History Office of U.C. Berkeley's Bancroft Library to produce an archival oral history of longtime Jewish community volunteer Earl Raab.