After another busy week,
looking forward to a
Hail in April,
in Jerusalem, Israel?
Not only was there a hail storm as the holidays ended,
but this was the scene the next day also.
It looked and felt like winter, not spring.
The city looked black and white,
as 4 mm hail stones fell.
the Passover things are put away,
and visitors have returned home.
The Happy Passover signs on buses have changed,
to wish Jerusalem riders “have a good trip.”
The skies have cleared
and people have returned to the streets,
some of which are lined with flowers.
Two hundred and fifty invited guests associated with OneFamily
filled the main room
at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Home,
with President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin,
to launch a new cookbook.
“Tastes of Life” features foods that mothers made for their
children who were victims of terror.
Each mother shares not only a recipe,
but memories of their loved ones that are gone.
but still another way to remember a lost loved one,
a new Healing Garden was dedicated by a New York family
in the Hosptial Saint Louis Francais.
In the sunshine, supporters of Kashouvot,
an organization advancing Pastoral Care,
heard the story of Randie Malinsky z”l
who passed away in October
after losing a battle with cancer.
Now hospice patients and families can sit in the garden,
to talk or watch the light rail and the rest of the world go by.
The “French Hospital” was built in the mid-19th century
and stands next to the Notre Dame,
across from the Old City Walls, near New Gate.
It boasts the only strictly kosher nunnery in world.
Also this week for all to see,
the first Israeli flags are flying from car windows.
And the large trucks have gone around hanging Jerusalem,
and large Israeli flags over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.
The radio is playing sad, slow music,
as soon it will be Yom Hashoah,
Holocaust Remembrance Day,
and the beginning of another busy holiday season.
Passover time in Jerusalem, Israel,
sees a population exchange.
Many locals rent (or try to rent) their homes
to holiday visitors for large sums,
and go away for the week.
Even more take day or overnight trips
to one of Israel’s amazing nature spots
like this one near Zichron Yaakov in Ramat Hanadiv park.
Estimates were as high as 75,000 people
for Monday morning’s holiday annual
Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.
But huge crowds were at
the Kotel, the Western Wall all day the next day as well.
Not only were prayer services held at the Kotel and at regular synagogues,
but impromptu minyanim for the afternoon prayers
sprung up just about everywhere.
It was good to see First Station busy again,
but this was the only sign of the new Luna Park.
The free shuttle bus service was finally being used,
with a full size buse to accommodate the crowds,
in addition to the special vans.
The route was different and it went to a different Old City Gate.
While walking to Kotel, you could see
people on top of the Walls looking down at Silwan below.
Streets were closed and blocked to cars,
while some places were even blocked to pedestrians.
I was not allowed to walk up this alley,
but the guy in white shirt was allowed to smoke.
The closings caused a lot of extra walking for people.
This little girl is watching a man from an Arabic tour,
who is taking a video of the hasid, religious Jewish man,
while I was taking photos of the Arabic writing on the back of his vest.
Warm, clear weather was perfect for
the large and diverse crowds,
and for photos in Jerusalem on Passover.
Mamilla Mall had extra balloon people
and we hear they did a great business.
And of course, there was food.
Parks were filled with picnics and BBQ grills,
and the sky filled with smoke.
Many food places were closed for the holiday.
The ones that were open did just about anything with potatoes.
this pizza did not seem to be too popular
with one young family.
But, always popular
is the holiday greeting on Jerusalem buses,
Happy and Kosher Passover.
Passover preparations and Israeli children
being out of school on vacation all week,
plus the arrival of holiday visitors,
are keeping people very busy.
The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset
were sworn in yesterday,
and then they all went on a month long recess.
There were two special ribbon cutting events
that I want to make sure you know about.
Sunday was the special launch of an
environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”
The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has
large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,
and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.
But now the “Green Knesset” has added
special bins for recycling,
and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,
saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.
Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.
No more large mountains of paper for the budget,
as each member will get a disk on key instead.
Those responsible for the first stage of the
sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.
Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,
was the featured speaker
and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof
in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.
The next day a very different green project was opened,
the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.
The area where gazelles had roamed free,
did not go to real estate developers,
but back to nature and the people.
On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,
walking nature trails,
and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.
The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.
In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,
dotted with colored wild flowers.
This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,
but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.
Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,
and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.
This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,
as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,
and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.
Happy Spring Holiday.
When Shakespeare wrote
that ‘the whole world is a stage,’
somehow I do not think a cheese shop
or fruit and vegetable stand was what he had in mind.
However, the Israeli Opera had
performers in Machane Yehuda Market,
the shuk on Monday singing arias.
The man selling nuts was smiling,
as was the green grocer across the way.
So was I after they found my cell phone.
Trying to get a good shot with so many photographers
pushing in the crowded and narrow alleyways,
I almost lost my phone there.
There was more than one place used as a stage,
some shoppers were determined to keep going,
while others in the market became part of the show.
“L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetnao Donizetti
is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool the end of June,
and some Jerusalem shoppers got a preview.
As cameras rolled,
one girl in the crowd was serenaded to by this opera singer,
but after an hour the surprise show was over,
and it was back to time for holiday preparations.
Mountains of fresh garlic have arrived in the shuk
and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable are ready,
and one fresh fish store was really popular.
I loved this sign,
this store is ready for Passover and
NO ONE is to bring in anything that is not for Passover.
Now if only my house was nearly as ready.