From Darkness to Light, Shabbat Shalom

A week of extremes; from evel to simcha, mourning to joy:

grave of Yaakov Dan in Gush Etzion cemetery

From the cemetery in Gush Etzion and the fresh grave of Yaakov Don z”l, murdered by terrorists,

Sara Litman Biegel wedding

to the wedding of Sarah Tehiya Litman and Ariel Biegel.

Sarah, a beautiful bride, running to dance with thousands and thousands of girls, lights up the huge hall filled with people and hearts around the world.

Tragedy to triumph, darkness to light, Am Yisrael Chai.

Shabbat Shalom to all.


Another Week in Jerusalem

Israel is under attack: during the past 56 days

21 innocents were murdered,

200 were wounded, 20 seriously,

and there were 74 stabbings,

10 shootings, and 12 car rammings.

It is hard to keep track–should one listen to the news or not?

Oh no, another terror attack.

This past week Ezra Schwartz z”l was one of those statistics.

The 18-year old was in Israel on an educational year program,

and was sitting in a van when an Arab terrorist shot and killed him.

His funeral was live-streamed from Sharon, MA.

Funeral Ezra Schwartz 069

People filled the gym in a Jerusalem school to watch it,

finding comfort in community and unity.

John F. Kerry was back in town.

John Kerry at Beit Hanasi

 At his meeting with President Reuven Rivlin,

he signed the official guest book.

Kerry’s motorcade stopped traffic,

but the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipra

is paying a more low profile visit.

Meanwhile, on the Jerusalem streets,

Isrotel hotel construction

building and construction goes on.

I decided it was time to see what was happening outside,

as watching Facebook and Twitter feeds was too depressing.

A trip to the Old City,

Shuttle Old City 022

found this gate very quiet,

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and the egalitarian section at the Kotel, Western Wall was empty.


Shuttle Old City 026

there was a line of tourists waiting to go up to the Temple Mount,

during the one hour in the afternoon allowed for non-Muslims.

Shuttle Old City 044

The scene at the Western Wall Plaza was quiet.

Shuttle Old City 040.JPG

This man was writing a note to place in between the stones,

Shuttle Old City 057

those notes get inserted, but often drop to the ground.

Maybe it was the warm sun and the walking,

Shuttle Old City 075

but seeing tourists at eating in cafes

Shuttle Old City 091

and taking photos,

Shuttle Old City 097

and little children on their way home from school,

Shuttle Old City 106

and the young woman with harp in her regular spot,

was so much better than obsessing on the news reports.

Shuttle Old City 113

A group of 180 men were touring on a special trip,

Shuttle Old City 114

boys speaking Arabic were in Mamilla Mall,

Arqab woman Jerusalem

and an Arab woman was shopping alone.

No one knows what will happen next,

what will be new weapon of terror,

box cutters, knives, or scissors,

or where an attack will occur.


Susan B OU Nov 116Kisufim,

Jerusalem Conference of Jewish Writers and Poets,

in Mishkenot Sha’ananim under the Montefiore Windmill.

Susan B OU Nov 119

opened last night  and the auditorium was full.

This week I had too many photos to share in one post,

because in spite of the bad news,

so many good things are happening on Jerusalem streets.

Hanukkah is coming, and so are the suffganiot. 

There are so many choices, it hard to decide which one to try.

We remember, we mourn, then we celebrate life.

Shuttle Old City 121

Jerusalem Darkness to Light

From Jerusalem will come forth light,

from the Jerusalem light festivals  to Hannukah lights,

it is an old, if not ancient theme.

However, this week we saw some unique lights.

Those red, white and blue lights on the Walls of the Old City

Knesset lit at night flag at half mast

and on the Knesset building, where the Israeli flag flew at half mast.

After Shabbat, the flag was lowered

to symbolize the link with France after the terror attack in Paris.

half mast Israeli flags

Israeli flags over Beit Hanasi were lowered as well,

French flags in Jerusalem

while French flags were unfurled over major Jerusalem streets.

I found it ironic that new signs were posted

Jerusalem sign hebrew

for a new App for Jerusalem night life–

who knows what will happen next?

When I see new signs like this one,

sign for move set

I snap photos of them,

video production on streets

only after did I realize, it was posted for the filming of a TV movie.

Make sure you know whether what you see is real or not.

The Jerusalem municipality posted hundreds of large and small signs

Kahlon budget protest

asking MK Kahlon “Do not forsake Jerusalem”

in the new budget in the Knesset.

This week in Jerusalem, while the weather is cool,

Jerusalem roses bloom in November

the roses are blooming

photo oranges

and the oranges are ripening.

However, I want to share

one other very special light coming out of the darkness.

My friend Varda wrote of the horrific terror attack last erev Shabbat.

We know the Rav of Meitar and his family,

and we have many friends there and visit occasionally.

We have driven the road from Meitar to Otniel.

Such darkness,

to drive to a simcha and get ambushed by murderers.

But, from Jerusalem, came forth light.

On Tuesday night, in the wedding hall,

at the time the wedding of the daughter of the victim was to take place,

hall for wedding

an overflow crowd of women and girls

filled the hall with prayer and music, and words of unity.

Litman Beigel wedding postponed

Tears inside during the sad, slow Shabbat song

Binyunei Hauma

and crowds of girls outside.

The Litman-Beigel wedding is rescheduled for next week,

and this time everyone is invited.

If you want to participate, check this out.

To help the Litman family, you can donate here:

Am Yisrael Chai!

May lights continue to come forth from Jerusalem

to shine and inspire the world.

Sigd Celebrated in Jerusalem

Sigd, the Ethiopian holiday which falls on 29 Heshvan,

50 days after Yom Kippur, was celebrated on the Tayelet.

view of old city

A spot with the best views of the Old City, but

with heightened security in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.

crowd Sigd

Also, somewhat smaller crowds were out on the Haas Promenade.

Buses brought Ethiopian Israelis from all over Israel

to celebrate the annual event, a national holiday since 2008.

Ethiopian soldiers at Sigd

I love to see the young men in uniform,

three girls at Sigd

and the girls too.

But, Sigd is not just eating, dancing, and socializing.

Sigd began centuries ago in Ethiopia,

with leaders gathering on a mountaintop and praying to return to Zion.

Today they have returned.

Kessim at Sigd

 Kessim, religious leaders dressed in white,

Kessim at Sigd

were seated at this long dais and more

Kessim and umbrellas

were in the audience, under their colorful umbrellas.

Prayers and speeches by government officials are part of the day.

After President Reuven Rivlin spoke,

Rivlin at Sigd

he went down the line and shook hands with the dignitaries.

Only a small part of the crowd of thousands, mostly the elders,

crowd seated at Sigd

were seated, with politicians and dignitaries in front.

However, one woman caught my attention.

older woman praying

What was she thinking?

Did she remember Sigd from Ethiopia?

What had she gone through to get here?

view old city from Sigd

She stood during the speeches looking towards the Old City,

towards the Temple Mount in the distance.

Sigd has become one of my favorite events.

Interesting, both last year and in 2012,  I also wrote that

we were in the midst of “difficult times.”

Kessim under umbrella

I must find out what this is hair-like thing is,

 I noticed several of them this year.

two girls at Sigd on Tayelet

Sigd, where ancient blends with the modern,

selfie at Sigd

and the very modern customs and practices.

The program ended in the early afternoon.

Shabbat also starts very early

with just a few hours to prepare before it is dark.

View of Temple Mount from Tayelet

Wishing a Shabbat Shalom to all from Jerusalem,

where sometimes dreams do come true.

Remembering Yitzhak Navon: 1921-2015

From 1978 – 1983

Yitzhak Navon z”l was President of Israel.

Yitzhak Navon statue at Beis Hanasi

His official place of honor at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s residence,

9 past Israeli presidents

is 5th in the line of nine former presidents.

He passed away on Shabat at the age of 94

and his funeral was held on Sunday.

Navon children arrive for funeral

First his son and daughter arrived at Beit Hanasi,

funeral Navon

as the gates were opened to the public to pay their last respects.

Navon children at funeral

President Rivlin came out to await the arrival

coffin at Beit Hanasi

of the army hearse carrying the coffin.

Military escort at funeral

This was a state funeral with dress uniforms,

Navon lying in state

an honor guard,

Funeral flowers

floral wreaths,

Navon funeral tehilim

and a military chaplain quietly reciting tehilim, psalms.

Israel president funeral

A former president of Israel lying in state,

 without the presence of foreign dignitaries.

public at Navon funeral

As the public entered and passed by the casket,

some stopped to offer a prayer.

Public invited to pay respects

Some lingered to remember

the first Sephardi president who was born in Jerusalem.

When Navon went to Egypt, he spoke Arabic to the people.

funeral at Israel president house

With the changing of the guard,

funeral with honor guard

a new guard stood at attention by the casket.

How sad it is that the a whole younger generation does not remember

this former president who lived quietly and modestly.

Many things happened this week in Jerusalem, Israel,

but we should take time and remember,

Yitzhak Navon z”l who was buried in Har Herzl cemetery

with other leaders of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom שבת שלום

The sun is not shining.

The sky is grey.

Buildings are lost in the fog.

The traffic backs up on slippery streets.

It is raining in Jerusalem, Israel.

 As much as we need rain, it is not a pretty picture.

However, any planned Friday of ‘Rage’ is a wash-out.

When we first made aliyah a woman told me, wait,

 when you are here long enough you become unlingual.

It has started. Last week, I could not think of an English word

I needed to express to a woman how much I liked what she had said.

Plus, my Hebrew gets worse and worse, by not using it often enough.

A thought posted on a Facebook comment prompted this popular poster.

Hope it makes you smile, or at least gets you thinking…

This sunset photo was taken on the road back from a visit to Gaza border.

poster from FAcebook comment on Hebrew

שבת שלום

Inspired from original text by Devorah Goodman Horev.

Hebrew version hopefully to follow next week,

meanwhile that thunder was really loud and close.

Would be nice if a rainbow would follow this storm.