Teddy Kollek, 97, Father of Modern Jerusalem
Teddy was named after Theodor Herzl, and more than anyone created the modern day Jerusalem that pilgrims, birthrighters, leftists, rightist, chareidim, and chilonim enjoy today. “As a mayor for more than a generation, he will be remembered as the person who shepherded the transition of Jerusalem from a Mideast backwater with a glorious past to a world capital of culture and politics.” writes VirtualJewishLibrary.com.
He hated nudniks, but was listed in the phone book
By Tom Segev
Teddy Kollek once returned home very late, as he often did, and found a note from his wife, Tamar: A woman rang the doorbell at 1 A.M. to complain that there is a hole in the sidewalk near her house and that the city has done nothing about it for a month. Kollek’s home phone number was listed in the telephone book; people could call him at home, and some abused the privilege. It was 3:30 A.M., and Kollek promptly called the woman back. “This is Teddy,” he said. “I just wanted to tell you that tomorrow morning, first thing, I’ll deal with the matter.”
Kollek broadcast authenticity and apolitical credibility. He had a basic fairness, a big heart and a fatherly sense of humor. And among Israel’s founding fathers, he was exceptional: He enjoyed his work.
Of course others are not waxing so poetically. The “Voice of Judea”, called him a controversial figure, because he served with the Hagganah and not with Irgun. But this pre-State stuff is really a distraction. Let’s face it. Without Teddy, we would not have the Israel Museum (which he started) or Modern Jerusalem. Teddy, G-d bless ya.