Tisha B’Av Around Jerusalem

Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel, is unique.

On the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av,

for centuries, Jews around the world

people sitting on stones for Tisha B'Av

 sat on the ground as a sign of mourning for Jerusalem,

and read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

 I went to ‘Walk Around the Walls’ again after Shabbat.

Last year Tisha B’Av coincided with Ramadan

and even at midnight there was a huge crowd

at Sha’ar Shechem, Damascus Gate.

Damascus Gate at night

   This year all was quiet,

women in Green walk around walls

as the Israeli-flag waving crowd walked by,

street in East Jerusalem

with only a few Arabs in sight near police barriers.

Tisha B'Av Women in Green

Going past Herod’s Gate,

night in Jerusalem, Israel

the atmosphere was very different

from Tisha B’Av of last year.

Although it was a few days ago,

I still want to share that night,

Jerusalem Israel at night

and the beautiful sites around the Old City Walls.

As Lion’s Gate and midnight approached

Jerusalem Israel walking at night

   we passed this man walking with two young boys.

Jerusalem Israel at night

Spectacular views were of Har Hazetim, Mount of Olives,

Jerusalem Israel at night Old City Walls

across from the Old City Walls,

Jerusalem Israel Old City excavations.

and the impressive major excavations.

But most impressive,

Wailing Wall at night

was the huge crowd at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where tens of thousands came,

Tisha b'Av in Jerusalem, Israel

some to sit and sing sad songs,

Tisha b'av Jerusalem,Israel

others to pray, or to spend the night.

Jerusalem,Israel at night

People were coming and going all night long

to the Old City of Jerusalem.

But nearby at Sha’ar Yaffo, Jaffa Gate,

Jerusalem,Israel Mamilla Mall at night

 Mamilla Mall was closed and quiet,

as were all entertainment and most food places.

Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel,

is not like anywhere else in the world.

More photos of Walk on Facebook, HERE.

But,

after the mourning of Tisha B’Av comes

Tu B’Av,

and party time celebrations grow every year,

Tu b'Av

this one is to take place in the Jerusalem Forest.

Israeli Summer Heats Up

As the summer weather heats up, I slow down.

Sipping an ice coffee while walking

has become a routine.

Jerusalem graffiti

It seems I am not alone, this man who

   walked into my new graffiti photo had a drink in hand too.

It took me a couple of weeks to get to Yoel Salomon Street

Jerusalem umbrellas over street

to see the Jerusalem, Israel streets’ hottest summer display,

dozens of colorful umbrellas strung above the narrow lane.

There used to be so many used book stores lining the streets,

Another used book store closes

but another book store is closing,

and these signs were plastered announcing the sales.

At least on the other side of the street there are happier signs

Beit Avi Chai outside building

of summer children’s programs at Beit Avi Chai.

signs hung for summer programs on Jerusalem  streets

Summer festivals will be starting soon,

summer in Kikar Safra

and posters are up for summer events

in Kikar Safra, Government Square.

But this week leading up to Tisha B’Av

is also ten years since the end of Gush Katif.

I wrote about a visit to the new Netzer Hazani four years ago.

Since that time,

photo of Gush katif community before 2005

beautiful communities like in this poster,

are now remembered in Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan.

gush katif museum

In the courtyard the wonderful sand is displayed.

seats in Gush Ktif Museum made form moving boxes

Moving boxes are used as seats for a video in the museum.

The army was organized and provided everyone boxes

to pack up their lives and leave their homes,

then every last one was knocked down

and every last Jew left the Gaza Strip.

rocket fired from Gaza into Gush Katif

All was not ideal in Gush Katif.

Yaakov Gross keeps a Gazan rocket

that fell into his house in Gush Katif

in his still temporary store.

But after leaving Gush Katif, what have we gotten in return?

The government promised peace,

and instead we got ten thousand rockets

and Israelis have suffered through three wars.

bomb shelter next to park

In southern Israel,

an outdoor meeting place has to have a safe area

five seconds away.

inside of pipe used as bomb shelter

And who can forget

 last summer as millions of Israelis had to run to bomb shelters.

Some in the south had to huddle in cement pipes

as protection from hundreds of Hamas rockets

that were fired at Israeli citizens day and night.

Gush Katif new community

People are slowly rebuilding.

After ten years

new house old house Gush katif

some families have nice homes,

while some are still in temporary living conditions.

green around home from new Gush Katif home

One garden stood out in the neighborhood,

newly rebuilt in the sand.

Garden of Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan

The names of the destroyed towns are listed,

and the pain and division of the nation

are symbolized in this monument.

Tens years on that summer still makes no sense.

Hopefully you will remember,

as there are those who are trying to erase history,

and the Jewish connection to this land.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Rosh Chodesh Av in Jerusalem, Israel,

and the new month feels like summer.

As I begin to melt and slow down in the heat,

these purple flowers are thriving all over.

shabbat shalom

שבת שלום וחודש טוב

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov!

Beer Sheva: Old and New City

So much in Jerusalem, Israel, is old and new.

We used to joke that a good friend is defined as

someone who leaves Jerusalem to visit you in Beer Sheva.

With family in Beer Sheva, over the years,

we have visited the desert city many times.

ANZAC cemetery Beer Sheva

I used to say the only place that was green was this cemetery.

The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery,

or the ANZAC cemetery, as most of the British soldiers

buried here were Australian and New Zealanders,

who fell in the World War I battles against the Turks,

ending the domination of the Ottoman Empire.

But things are changing, 

Carasson Science Park in Beer Sheva

Carasso Science Park opened in 2013,

and is the largest science park in Israel.

Park in Beer sheva

Remembering the British,

monument to Allenby in Beer Sheva

is Allenby Garden.

The park was established in early 1900s by the Turks,

After WWI, it became a memorial to General Edmund Allenby,

was destroyed during the Arab uprising in 1929,

and was finally rebuilt in 2014.

Allenby park and trail

One day when it is not so hot,

ANZAC trail Beer Sheva

it would be interesting to follow the ANZAC trail.

Art Museum in Beersheba

Across the road is the Negev Museum of Art,

the main art museum in southern Israel,

housed in what was the 20th century Governor’s house.

The current exhibit is called,

“Pulp and Fiction”

where all pieces are made out of paper.

Pulp and Fiction Lost Forest by Jan Fairbairn-Edwards from  France

“Lost Forest” by Jan Fairbairn-Edwards of France

The Burmese Story by Naamoa Aaronson

and “The Burmese Story” by Naama Aaronson of Israel

are just two of the works.

Who knew that paper art was started 35 years ago

at the Beer Sheva Station of the old Turkish railway?

large mosque in Beer Sheva

More of the old city and new

in the same area is the one mosque,

seal on mosque

built by the Turks.

It went unused as a mosque for decades,

and was the city’s Archaeological Museum.

Since 2011, it has been home to the

Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures.

stone in courtyard of Beer Sheva mosque

Ancient stones with Thuluth, Arabic and Kufic script

are in the courtyard.

Inside the restored mosque,

paryer rugs on display in Beer sheva mosque

is the current exhibit of old prayer rugs,

special lamps with Arabic writing

with new glass lamps decorated in Arabic hanging above them.

Turkish flag in Beer Sheva

A Turkish flag flies at the Train Yard Compound

which was restored and opened in 2014.

Bedouin man

Bedouins are still around.

Beer Sheva old and new

Going into and out of Beer Sheva

one can see the old and new,

with the new train track over the old Turkish one.

But it is at Be’er Avraham,

Abraham’s Well,

Abraham's well in Beer Sheva

located near the Beer Sheva River,

that one can really appreciate the old and new.

An international visitor center,

showcasing the life of Avraham Avinu,

in a 3D presentation, opened in 2013.

In old days, to get to Beer Sheva,

it seemed it took as long as a camel trip,

standing on those Egged buses

on hot Friday afternoons.

With the new modern highways going to Beer Sheva,

 it is not like it used to be,

 see the Old City and new neighborhoods.

but we will have to find another way to define good friends.

Jerusalem by Night and Day: From Dinosaurs to Conferences

What a week in Jerusalem,

starting off with a fast day on Sunday.

Iftar dinner at Beit Hanasi

At night there was an Iftar meal at Beit Hanasi.

 President Rivlin hosted around 200 guests,

Muslims and Jews breaking their fast in the Presidential Gardens.

sign gets energy from sun

I love these new signs for the buses,

powered by a solar panel,

and how they look in a nighttime photo.

Nighttime in Jerusalem, Israel,

and this summer

dinosaur at Jerusalem gardens

 the dinosaurs are coming out.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

has a summer program at night

dinosaur

which features dozens of dinosaurs.

By day there have been conferences galore.

Part of a large international geneology conference

lady in gold

featured the story of the ‘Lady in Gold”

the painting and history,

the book and the lawyer who retrieved the work

that was stolen by the Nazis.

While at another Jerusalem hotel,

people were attending

the first International Bible Study Week.

Besides Bible scholars,

Gaby Barkay

leading Israeli archaeologist Gabi Barkai

spoke about the Temple Mount.

ancient coins found discarded by Wakf

One of his slides was of ancient coins found while sifting

the dirt removed from the Temple Mount,

but that is a story for another time.

Bible Study in Jerusalem

The German teacher I met at lunch is visiting Israel

and in Jerusalem for the seventh time since 2004.

The more who come to visit, the more who can

appreciate what is really happening,

as there is so much more in Israel than conflict and violence.

conference

The Tzohar rabbinical organization had its conference,

with dozens of speakers and sessions and panels.

woman at conference who posed

And I met a Real Jerusalem Streets fan,

not sure who was more excited.

Being inside all day,

street installation Varda

can make you feel wilted and faded like poor Varda,

that street installation on Jaffa Road.

After late nights and being inside all day,

Gan Haatzmaut

taking a walk

Gan Haatzmaut

through Gan Ha’atzmaut, 

Gan Haatzmaut

Independence Park in Jerusalem,

is a way to end on a bright note.

Hebrew sign

Summer nights and days,

so much going on in all the neighborhoods,

it is hard to keep up with it all.