My Personal Paris Square
Why is Paris Square my point of reference in Jerusalem? Let me search my brain for memories while dreaming about a walk clockwise around the square.
- Maybe because I passed through on my way to the ulpan in which I first learned to read a Hebrew newspaper, I believe it was Haaretz. My ulpan was at the Hillel House then on Balfour Street across from Beit Aghion, then the Foreign Minister’s home and now the PM’s home. This is the same building I used to go to for Sabbath prayers while a student at the Hebrew U. on Givat Ram.
- From Bibi’s home to the square you pass Villa Lea, which I remember as Minister Burg’s home.
- Perhaps Paris Square is important to me because I had an account at the Discount Bank on the Square where I cashed the monthly “gifts” from my parents back home in the USA.
- Don’t forget the real Jewish Rehavia Windmill, next to the Kings.
- Of course, there is always the Kings Hotel where my parents used to stay on there visits to Israel.
- On King George St. you can still find the Heichal Shlomo Building which then housed the Chief Rabbis. The Great Synagogue was not yet erected. Wisecracks called it “Datican” – Dati means religious and “can” sounds like the Vatican.
- Across King George is the Amir Center apartment building (a.k.a. the Shufersal Building) designed by David Reznik. There is a spectacular view of the Old City from this building.
- Next door is the Leonardo Plaza Hotel (previously the Plaza and Sheraton Plaza). Behind the hotel are all the secrets of Gan Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Park).
- On Agron Street there still is the same Shufersal one of the first supermarkets in Israel, where I used to shop.
- Across the street from the Shufersal is the Masorti (Conservative) Synagogue Moreshet Yisrael.
- You complete your circular walk around the square when you reach Terra Sancta, once the temporary home of the Hebrew University after the campus on Mount Scopus was cut off by Jordanian forces during the War of Independence.
Paris Square is the popular name of the Square of France near Rehavia, Jerusalem. This square has had many names: Republic Square, Kings Square (after the hotel), Hagar Square (after an Israeli Women in Black feminist activist), Freedom for Jonathan Pollard Square and finally the Square of France. Since the Prime Minister’s home is only a block away Paris Square is a popular venue for demonstrations. Although the city of Paris is said to have donated a model Eiffel Tower to be erected in this square, this remains in the realm of tour guides’ urban legends.
Square of France
This is the biggest square and a main intersection point of King George V, Agron, Keren Ha’Yesod, Ben Maimon and Ramban streets.