Jerusalem: November Sights and Colors

Another week went by in Jerusalem, in Israel, in the world, as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and November comes to an end.

A 3-hour commercial flight from Dubai flew over Saudi airspace and landed in Ben Gurion Airport last Thursday.

Who would have imagined that only a few weeks ago?

Thanksgiving was celebrated in the US, under different circumstances.

I certainly don’t miss the HOURS we spent stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike, which turned into one long parking lot with the holiday traffic, no matter what the weather conditions.

In Jerusalem, Israel the winter weather is not the same as we had in the NE US.

When the sun came out on Friday after predictions of rain, it was time to get out and walk in the morning. It had been many months since I had been to the Old City and it was time to take advantage of the beautiful day and see what was happening.

View of Western Wall Plaza from Jewish Quarter stairway, on Friday with police vehicles parked

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza was filled with police vehicles, but Friday was quiet.

Western Wall at night during COVID-19 divided into sections

I had repeatedly seen the Western Wall cam images of the newest sections.

With constantly changing restrictions and regulations for COVID-19, these are the latest divisions. People gather outside before entering and pray in small groups scattered closer to the Kotel.

Jerusalem Israel Old City scene of future elevator to the Jewish Quarter

How long coronavirus restrictions will last is unknown. Which will come first–the completion of this elevator to the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, or the end of the pandemic?

Two Arab women going up stairs in Old City to Jewish Quarter

For now, it’s still walking up the multiple staircases and steps to get from the plaza to the Jewish Quarter.

Jerusalem Israel road into Armenian Quarter quiet on Friday morning during coronavirus pandemic.

It was strange to see the road to the Armenian Quarter so quiet, especially on a Friday.

Friday morning inside Jaffa Gate during COVID-19 restrictions and closings

Sad to see the plaza inside Jaffa Gate so quiet, especially on Friday near midday.

Black Friday lines to shop in ZARA in Mamilla Mall loosening of corona restricitons.

However, Mamilla Mall was all but quiet on Black Friday. With the opening of more stores and malls the end of last week, crowds of shoppers were out.

People eating outside during COVID-19 as takeout food was legal, cut inside dining forbidden.

Dining inside restaurants is still forbidden, but some places are offering takeout and people can find a place to sit and eat outdoors.

I took advantage of the sunny days not to eat or shop, but to walk and see what was happening in Jerusalem.

View of Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem  from Agron Street

The new Museum of Tolerance is visible from Agron Street, but all museums are still closed. The Israel Museum is to open on Tuesday and so are seven other large Israeli museums.

Menorah and Jewish star near entrance to Knesset road

Even found a day with no protesters across from the Knesset and a clear shot of the menorah near the Rose Garden.

View of Israeli Knesset from the Rosh Garden

This is the classic view of the Knesset from the Rose Garden.

Scenes from within the Rose Garden are less familiar and it was perfect for a nature photo walk – BC, before corona.

One family was taking advantage of a photo session in the Rose Garden. Dozens of student groups were spread throughout the park area, and one advantage of corona school closings is seeing young people outside.

Jerusalem path from Israeli Supreme Court Building to the Knesset

On my way out of the Rose Garden, I noticed another view of the Knesset.

From the gates of the Israeli Supreme Court campus, there is a straight path to the Knesset Building entrance.

This short stone path leads directly from the Knesset

into the Supreme Court. How many times had been in the Rose Garden and not noticed this path?

The view of Nahalot from the Rose Garden is still the same, but new buildings are rising daily just beyond it. Construction during this coronavirus time is going at a fast pace.

The new landscaping in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was being prepared.

Jerusalem Sacher Park landscaping during coronavirus limitations

And in one day, hundreds of plantings were put in the ground by work crews after the irrigation was set.

Jerusalem Sacher Park children's play equipment with new access ramp

The refurbished play equipment in Gan Sacher with its new bright colors and ramp are ready after months of work.

Jerusalem Israel Teddy Park with fountain off and quiet on a Friday during coronavirus pandemic.

Jerusalem’s Teddy Park was lovely and green, but quiet for a Friday.

Jerusalem streets are changing and getting ready for visitors whenever that will be in the future, looking forward to tourists from Dubai and Bahrain and more to fill the hotels under construction and those closed now because of COVID.

Colorful autumn sunset over Jerusalem Israel streets

Besides the green nature areas, it’s time to appreciate the colorful autumn sunsets.

As always there was more happening on the real Jerusalem streets, but will save and share next time.

Take care and stay well!

Colorful Week in Jerusalem

Will it rain tomorrow?

How cold will it be today?

In Jerusalem, Israel, the weather is a constant topic of conversation.

Last week was unusual, with pleasant weather, not too hot, not too cold.

A great week to get out and get some sun before the winter rains return.

My colorful week with good weather began with one of the best views of the Jerusalem Old City from the Tayelet.

Sigd this year was downsized to a few “capsules” with three Kessim at the dais to lead the traditional prayer service which was broadcast live.

Seated a few meters away was “capsule 3” Kessim in a group, socially distanced sitting under their colorful umbrellas. The annual observance in other years attracted thousands for prayers and after the fast a major party, but due to corona restrictions, it was extremely limited this year.

This woman was keeping her distance as she faced Jerusalem’s Old City, but I noticed her cell phone.

This man sat on a wall at the Tayelet, but without the view.

Was he watching the prayers broadcast on his phone?

Security was in place. However, sadly due to COVID-19 few people came.

These new buildings sprung up near the Tayelet and they are part of the change in the neighborhood.

Ahdeya Ahmad Al-Sayed, President of the Bahraini Journalists Association, said she will never forget the photos from Jerusalem of Israel and Bahrain.

The red and white flags of Bahrain were at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, as the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, signed the official guest book before meeting with President Rivlin.

The King David Hotel was open, but King David Street was closed.

I got a photo of the Bahrain and United States flags on the hotel with the Israeli flags as official state meetings were held inside.

The real streets were not involved with meetings unless the drivers were stuck in traffic, which was an all too common occurrence before the coronavirus pandemic.

Now is the time for fall colors – rare and appreciated in Jerusalem.

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The garden outside the Knesset was more colorful than usual this week.

The flower bed on Herzog Street had reached peak color.

The floral butterfly near Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was past prime time.

It’s time to pick those olives, otherwise, they end up on the ground under the trees, and turn into squashed overripe purple globs. Plenty of photos of those streets, but not such a pretty sight.

Blue skies and white clouds were great for walking this past week.

This path, empty in the past, became so popular I went off to look in different directions.

Groups of children were in parks taking advantage of the sun.

Jerusalem parks were green and filled with student groups.

Jerusalem green spaces were alive with the sounds of children’s voices.

In Nahlaot, where space is dear, green vines grew on and over the streets,

and flower beds add color along the walls in the old narrow lanes.

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Coronavirus has moved synagogue prayers outside to the Jerusalem streets,

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and study centers out of the buildings into covered open shelters.

Communal street lending libraries were open when other public ones were closed for browsing due to virus limiting restrictions.

Gan Sacher was green and full of life, as couples strolled in the midday sun, taking advantage of days without rain.

It was a colorful week, with people taking the time to get away from their screens and go outside, from the Tayelet to the Jerusalem Rose Garden where before corona I led nature photo walks.

But I will save those many photos, and share one of my favorite sights this past week before I close.

A woman taking her youngsters out for a walk using one of those rolling pens. The old ones from kibbutz days were made of wood, but this one was made from light metal. They were such a cute sight on their outing.

The Jerusalem new winter signs are up, for “a warm winter and health – because in Jerusalem winter is winter.”

So when the weather is good, it’s good to get out and see the autumn colors.

Take care everyone and stay well.