Thankful for the Rain

Yesterday the sun was shining,

image flowers on street

and even though the sky was not blue,

these gates were very blue.

photo street scene Yemin Moshe

Yemin Moshe was picture perfect,

only the streets were empty,

and much too quiet without the usual tourists.

photo sign colorful

 I was looking at the new signs for Hamshushalayim,

an annual Jerusalem tourist weekend discount offer,

and I wondered how it would do with so many people staying away,

image people walking near streets

and just then a group of tourists walked by.

Things have been slower this week,

but work has gone on.

photo construction workers

 The Isrotel luxury hotel construction is finally above ground.

In the US as people prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday,

in Israel, thankfully it has started to rain,

woman crossing street in rain

and rain.

image rain in Jerusalem, Israel

We are thankful for rain for it is an answer to our prayers,

wet streets and splashing cars

but one which involves flooded streets

traffic accident near light rail

and accidents galore.

However,

Jerusalem Israel bus banner from Berman Hebrew Academy

 rain or shine,

sleet or snow,

or terror threat,

the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy High School from Rockville, Maryland,

is in Israel again for their Israel mission.

Every four years the entire high school gets a trip to Israel

over the Thanksgiving holiday week.

It can be a life changing experience to see

the real Jerusalem, Israel, streets, even in the wet and rain.

 And

 a group of 1000 pilgrims is on their way from Lagos, Nigeria,

so things go on.

I just hope I do not rust.

Shabat Shalom: Bitter and Sweet

Recently on Fridays,

there has been a simple Shabat Shalom poster,

but this was not a simple week,

this was a difficult week.

Har Nof

The walls in Har Nof were plastered with mourning posters.

On Thursday the streets were mostly empty and quiet,

the air was so clean, but it felt heavy.

image Har Nof

Cars filled the street in front of the synagogue,

where five men were murdered.

The shiva houses were overflowing, with standing room only.

Those paying sympathy could only walk by the mourners,

and some who knew the families said a word or two.

Many who came did not know either victim or their family personally.

I could not look at the couch filled with young boys

who had just lost their father in such a horrific way.

Instead of revenge one widow told me,

“we cannot change the Arabs,

but we have to change ourselves.”

They want unity of the Jewish people

and an end of sinat chinum.

Then,

Sigd 018b

as we drove home past Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

image Jerusalem Park

we saw a large group of young people who were enjoying a sports day.

image Jerusalem part

The weather was perfect for a family outing.

New security in Jerusalem, Israel after Arab murders

A balloon hovered above the Begin Center,

where Yehudah Glick was recently shot,

as segway riders went by on their tour,

image segway

and the next tour was getting ready in First Station.

image Hebrew sign

  A new sign announced an organic food market to open in the tourist location,

image First Station

but First Station was deserted at lunch time,

a sad sign of the events of this week.

But,

banner of Sigd celebration on Tayelet

at the same time on Haas Promenade in Armon Hanaziv

tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered for

their Sigd Holiday celebration.

Sigd 102b

Old

image man with Old City in background

and young

Ethiopian girls in IDF unifroms

and many more each year wearing IDF uniforms.

tayelet for Sigd

They enjoyed the weather and the day on the Tayelet.

 A beautiful day

image Sigd

for many family reunions,

Ethiopian family at Sigd

food and photos.

image Israel flag

Thousands celebrated just being in Jerusalem, Israel.

To end this crazy week,

we were at a simhat bat brunch today,

to celebrate birth of a new baby girl.

Besorot tovot were everyone’s parting words.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

Jerusalem Terror Too Close to Home

Monday it was raining and pouring 

and puddles of dirty water filled the streets.

image rain and baby in stroller

The stormy weather kept many people inside.

Where is the one place to find a crowd

no matter what the weather?

A synagogue in a religious neighborhood at morning prayers:

 it is a sure thing.

Third intifada or not,

Tuesday’s pools of blood from the horrific murders

filled a Jerusalem, Israel, synagogue, spilling into the streets.

I will refrain from sharing those photos,

as my friend Varda wrote on that topic.

 I posted in Israellycool yesterday,

the extended family of Rav Moshe Twersky z”l has been important

image Rabbi Moshe Twersky murdered by terroists

to us for more years than I want to count.

I prefer to share photos of victims we want to remember.

After I wrote that,

we found out yet another connection to the victims.

Looking through mainstream media accounts,

one sees photos of the butchering murderers,

but not even the names of the victims.

Sometimes it feels as though there are no degrees of separation.

We had the privilege of being present

at the engagement and wedding,

of Rav Kalman Levine’s z”l daughter.

image kalman levine

And in the same building where he was murdered,

Rav Kalman Levine z”l had the joy of celebrating

the brit milah of a grandson in May 2012.

Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky z”l was originally from Detroit,

and moved to Har Nof from Kiryat Arba many years ago.

Avraham Shmuel Goldberg z”l was originally from Liverpool.

Today there was news of a fifth fatality,

the Israeli policeman who was first to arrive at the crime scene,

Zidan Sayif, who was a member of the Druze community

and also a young father.

Howie Rothman, originally from Canada,

is in a coma, having barely survived an ax attack to his head.

The family of Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila asked for Tehillim,

prayers for his recovery and the other victims.

Not all is good on the real streets.

image restaurant that was bombed

A new security guard stands alert at the entrance

to this popular cafe spot, next to the sign

marking the spot where these people were killed by a suicide bomber.

image of Hebrew sign

 The celebration for new Olim was held,

sorry I was not able to attend and share it with you.

However, today a new group of 58 immigrants

arrived from the United States.

These olim have chosen to make Israel,

 their new home.

They can join us in offering the traditional words

of comfort to mourners:

המקום  ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

Besorot tovot

is a popular expression heard this week,

with everyone looking for good news.

But when will Arab media stop inciting violence?

Shabbat Shalom

This week in the Old City at the Tower of David,

Museum of the History of Jerusalem,

the Kishle and Moat

were opened to the public for the first time,

more on that amazing opening soon,

but for now from the bottom of Moat,

image Shabat shalom

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom

Balancing on a Tightrope

We moved to Jerusalem, Israel in August,

that hot time of year when the windows are open all night.

For weeks, when I heard noises in the night of firecrackers and gun shots,

I would run to the window to see what was happening:

another Arab wedding, another party, another random celebration.

It took awhile, but I eventually stopped listening and looking.

On Friday night there were noises again,

but this time I got up out of bed to look.

I saw nothing, all was quiet.

Around Israel 6 people have been killed in less than a month,

by the terrible “car intifada” and “knife intifada” attacks.

I try not to be political here at RJS,

but incitement has been fueled and fed for a long time.

However,

image sunny day in Jerusalem  Israel

most of Jerusalem is quiet

Yet everyone is watching carefully for what could be next.

image Tzomat Hagush bus stop

This man dressed in white at Tzomet Hagush bus stop

got more than a second glance from a passing police car.

Last Friday Abu Mazen called for a “Day of Rage.”

image men playing music on street

But the music for Einstein on Azza played on,

as hundreds of people listened to university lectures

and gathered in restaurants,

image people at street cafe

including music at this location, 100 meters from the Prime Minister’s residence,

where 11 people were killed and 54 injured

by a suicide bomber in 2002.

image boys window shopping in Mamilla Mall

In Mamilla Mall you could window shop and dream.

image people walking to old city by Jaffa gate

 Jaffa Gate looked the same,

only the beigele sellers were missing.

people walking in old city

Inside Jaffa Gate people were out,

image going into arab shuk

with extra security entering the Arab shuk.

Image western wall plaza entrance

But huge  protests and rage were hard to find,

as this security team was more interested in checking their cell hones.

image Kossel plaza

Certainly police and lots of other security personnel were visible

around the Western Wall plaza.

image women in colorful clothing at kotel

Fewer visitors made it easier to get a place to pray by the Wall.

I heard noises coming from Silwan,

image Arab boy on roof top

and found boys on the roof tops looking for the source:

firecrackers, tear gas shots or real bullets?

But there were no reports of serious incidents there.

Perfect weather in the fall is the time to be outside,

and not inside these old stone buildings that do not warm up.

image Liberty Bell Park

The Liberty Bell Park was empty.

Usually on Fridays the park is filled with Arab families picnicking,

image a bird in empty Gan Paamon playground

and the playground filled with Arab women and children.

They should be raging – that they are stuck inside on a glorious day,

leaving the playground for the birds.

image new Hebrew sign

In Jerusalem, there is a new cinema,

image Jerusalem road

new roads,

image Jerusalem new bridge at Malha Mall

 new walkway to cross from Malha Mall to Teddy Stadium,

image new park in Jerusalem

and new park nearby under construction.

image oud festival

And now is the annual Oud Festival time celebrating Arab music.

Today I followed two young men speaking Arabic.

They went into same building I did, to their bank.

One was wearing an Israeli army backpack.

image of Hebrew sign

Signs celebrating “Aliyah for Everyone ” are up near the Jerusalem Theater.

New immigrants are arriving in November,

to add the the strange mix of old and new that is Jerusalem, Israel.

Highs and Lows Felt in Jerusalem

Last week was a week of good and bad news,

now it looks like this is one of highs and lows.

Real Jerusalem Streets is not just about the good stuff,

but what is really happening.

On days like this it is hard to know where to start

and what to post, there is so much to say.

Arab media has been inciting with scare headlines

like “Settlers are Storming Al-Aqsa” for months.

First of all no one is “storming”

if anything a few are walking slowly and under threat.

 Jews have to be careful how they move their lips,

as no Jewish prayer is allowed.

image MK Shul Mualem

MK Shuli Mualem went on the Temple Mount and was assaulted.

Today there was a deadly attack against people waiting for the light rail.

The border police officer murdered in the terror attack in Jerusalem

was named Chief Inspector Jidaan Asad,

he was 38 years old and had a young son.

The terrorist who drove the van into the crowd had published posts

glorifying previous attacks against Jews on his Facebook page.

There was to be a day of rage on Friday,

but the heavy rain this week has kept many inside.

On Shabbat afternoon a huge rainbow arched over the Old City.

Stone-throwing children have been a problem for months,

maybe now police will try and put and end to it.

image protest Israel

There were new protest signs this week.

But the Mayor would rather you hear about

sign for cultural event

the many artistic and cultural events,

iamge Azza street

including another Einstein on AZZA this Friday.

Streets will be shut for university lecturers to hold forth to the public – for free.

But my  high of the week was the Masa Israel Journey Mega-event,

in the Jerusalem Convention Center’s main auditorium.

image Israeli Prime Ministeri on stage

Certainly it also was a high for the Prime Minister.

Thousands of young people from around the world,

image crowd of young people

 some dancing in the aisles,

image people happy to be in israel

excited and happy

image crowd of young people

 to be in Israel for a year volunteering.

image Jerusalem crowd

School trips to Jerusalem from around Israel have been canceled,

but if you want to end on a high note,

check out this post from Israellycool

earlier in the week and watch the short video at the end,

עם ישראל חי

Am Yisrael Chai