Count down to Shavuot is almost over,
as Shabbat ends the holiday begins.
Time to prepare the cheesecake.
Weather has cooled,
maybe we will walk to the Kotel, Western Wall on Sunday.
The date has passed.
Most flags are removed.
Commentators have spun stories with their biases.
The main stream media focused on a small group.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,
celebrations in Jerusalem, Israel,
are always like no where else in the world.
Today Jerusalem has a flag,
and an official pin.
The ancient Tower of David,
is always impressive.
In the morning of Yom Yerushalayim,
Mayor Nir Barkat and his wife Beverly
greeted the public inside the gardens.
While a live orchestra played music
and visitors sat and enjoyed their program.
Hundreds of families took tours of Yemin Moshe.
Thousands of young people gathered in Gan Sacher,
Sacher Park to march with Israeli flags to the Old City,
to the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Tens of thousands of people, singing, dancing, and
celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
This year other events were planned,
as this one for families at the new First Station.
There were prayer services,
and official invitation only ceremonies.
A free concert was held at Kikar Safra, Government Square.
Once again the annual “White Night” celebration
blasted until 4 am from Gan Sacher.
I do not appreciate that one!
In schools and kindergartens there were special programs,
with art projects songs, and even bubbles.
The main stream media missed hundreds of thousands
of people who were not news worthy.
For those who find Jerusalem Day objectionable,
no Jews were in the Old City.
Under control of Jordan from 1948 – 1967,
no Jews could enter ANY of the gates.
this was as close to the Kotel, the Western Wall,
American Jewish tourists could get.
Photos were taken from across No Man’s Land,
safe from Jordanian sniper shots.
Yom Yerushalayim should be appreciated every day.
Our friends have posted on a bench by their home,
a short passage from the Prophet Zechariah,
on his vision for the future,
Jerusalem will be full of boys and girls
celebrating in her streets.
And that is what was really happening
on Yom Yerushalayim,
on the real Jerusalem streets.
Offering free admission at one of Jerusalem’s favorite sites,
The Israel Museum’s 50th birthday party
attracted thousands of people.
and colorful drinks were provided for visitors.
The children’s wing and new play area were filled with children.
Actors entertained in the passageways.
Not new statutes,
but men were dressed in black and moving
slowly around entertaining the young crowd.
I was impressed with these two girls
who were entertaining themselves,
using their paper art project to test the water currents
in the flowing waterfall near the steps.
Future scientists? For sure!
What is a big birthday party without lots of balloons?
Former President Shimon Peres was at the opening of the museum
exactly 50 years earlier.
Museum Director James Snyder presented him with his old photo,
as the crowd tried to get a view of the official ceremony.
This heart by Jeff Koons which is on loan to the Israel Museum
for its 50th birthday year took a little help to unveil.
But the huge birthday cake with edible art works on top,
took only minutes to disappear,
and those who got cake and balloons left smiling.
Teddy Kollek had a vision as mayor of Jerusalem, Israel,
and in 50 years the Israel Museum has matured.
and many more great years.
Lag B’Omer in Jerusalem, Israel, is not my favorite holiday.
I prefer to close my windows and hide inside,
but I ventured out to see what was happening,
and here are my favorite sights:
1. Wood of all kinds is collected and burned, but a baby crib?
2. One fire shows why wooden pallets are popular.
3. The Jerusalem Theater in the background
glowed like the many fires in park below.
4. There were many, many fires in that park.
First Station, on the other hand, was not the place to be
on Lag B’Omer night as most of it was closed.
Many people stayed out all night around the fires,
but during the day with no school,
children needed something to do.
5. Attentive faces and face painting at
6. Chabad Rechavia parade and event with Rabbi Goldberg,
always favorites of Jerusalem families.
Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, looked big, green and beautiful.
7. Musicians under a tree attracted an afternoon crowd.
I would have stayed longer to listen,
but I had to head home for dinner.
8. This walking/biking path in the Valley of the Cross
had huge boulders to keep vehicles away,
yet people would move them and drive towards Gan Sacher.
Now one simple bollard does the job.
As I was marveling at the cleverness of that improvement,
I saw a man in an underpass taking advantage of the echo.
9. He was playing an Israeli didgeridoo.
The instrument was first crafted by Aborigines
from branches hollowed out by termites,
its sound has been improved using Israeli technology.
They are used at a corroboree,
Australian Aboriginal ceremonies usually held
around a campfire at night with singing and dancing.
What a way to end a Jewish holiday associated with
campfires, music, singing and dancing!
You never know what you will find
on the Jerusalem, Israel streets!
I am always concerned about what to share
on the weeks between holidays and special events.
The Jerusalem roses are in bloom.
Construction on the new main road to Jerusalem, Israel,
is a massive on-going project.
Would anyone outside of Jerusalem care
that the regular mailboxes are no longer going to be used?
Tourists trying to mail a letter tried these
British Mandate post boxes in Yemin Moshe.
They gave up and went to find a Post Office.
Old and new, progress?
Restaurants open and close so often
I could fill a book with those photos.
But Cofizz, the 5 shekel coffee and food place on Ben Yehuda,
has changed the center of town.
Cofizz is always busy, while the place next door has empty seats.
Copy cat places have mushroomed,
from King George Street to Yaffo Street.
It is easy to get a 5 shekel ice coffee now.
There were riots and plenty of press on that.
But, did you hear that there were thousands out Friday morning
for a biking event that went around the Walls of the Old City,
up to and through the Zoo in Malcha
and back to First Station?
Israelis are far away in Nepal.
But at home did you hear about
the 12 teenagers who met with President Reuven Rivlin in
Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence?
5 high school students are to go to US to an Intel Science Competition,
and another 6 are to represent Israel in an EU science program,
and 1 is to attend a special science camp in Germany over the summer.
Israel ranked 11th for the happiest nation.
It seems hard to imagine if all you see are media reports of “the conflict.”
Karen Bass and Alcee Hastings are two of many US Congressmen on tour
in Israel this week to see for themselves
what is happening.
Everyday is not a picnic in the park,
A Muslim woman driving a man is unusual,
but a Muslim man praying on the streets is not.
For the past few weeks,
all pieces of wood on the streets, large or small,
have been collected for
Lag B’Omer bonfires.
we wait to hear if there is a new government.
Old and new, always something on these streets.