The Saga of Jaffa Road and the Light Rail

United States special envoy George Mitchell came and went,

Earth Day and an hour of “lights out” came and went,

a day of April showers came and went,

protesters in Silwan came and went,

and the 1400th day of captivity for Gilad Shalit came and went.

   But, the construction on the Jerusalem Light Rail Project goes on and on.

August 5, 2008

The King George Street and Jaffa Road area,

once a popular and busy part of the city was closed to traffic.

Jaffa Road      May 6, 2009

Walking around the constantly changing barriers

is a challenge for most people,

but this lone workman in a safety vest has no problem

walking up the middle of empty Jaffa Road.

 

September 22, 2009

 On Jaffa Road, after part of the tracks were finished,

November 11, 2009

they were covered over.

           

December 9, 2009

 

 

Not all tracks are covered over.

January 7, 2010

Nearby, on Herzl Boulevard,

they are blocked by cement barriers and used for parking, and a bus detour.

January 17, 2010

Workman on Jaffa Road

 February 17, 2010

 and no workman on Jaffa Road.

April 26, 2010

Construction continues.

There are some signs of progress,

but most signs inform people of changing traffic patterns.

The newest completion date is set for next April 2011.

Until then the light rail train and crowds of happy people

exist only on the building mural high above

 the intersection of Jaffa Road and King George Street.

To Celebrate…62

Yom Ha’atzmaut

Israel Independence Day

6 Iyar 5770                   April 20, 2010

For many families the transition from Yom Hazikaron

into the celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut is difficult,

"picture Yom Hazikaron"

 going right after an intense day of mourning into party mode.

 But there were many and varied ways to celebrate this year,

62 years of the State of Israel.

Plenty of blue and white and flags,

   nighttime party options;

food and drink and music and fireworks…

 well into the night and morning hours.

For many families the day is begun

by watching the televised

International Bible Quiz

held at the Jerusalem Theater.

This year there was extra security,

as the Prime Minister’s son was the

finalist representing Jerusalem.

Provisions for extra security

were well under way the day before.

"picture President house Israel"

Located around the corner from the theater is Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence

 where the annual Israel Prizes are awarded;

this could explain the blimp hovering over the area in the morning.

 The real Jerusalem streets were getting ready to celebrate,

parking spots on the sidewalk along Gan Sacher were filled quickly in the morning.

Not only was Gan Sacher full of people, but also

parks and nature strips all around the city and country, with people and mangals, BBQs,

the smell of grilled meat filled the air; a day for family and friend reunions.

Even the signs leading into Jerusalem were in holiday mode,

displaying holiday greetings and symbols, instead of the usual traffic congestion and accident warnings.

After dark Gan Sacher was still busy with people celebrating,

as the last remains of the charcoal turned to ash.

After all the celebrations,

people moved a little slow and looked a bit worn the next day.

To Remember

Yom Hazikaron

Israel Remembrance Day

4 Iyar 5770                April 19, 2010

As the sun was setting on the eve of Yom Hazikaron,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 shopping areas closed down and the streets became quiet;

scouts and youth groups slowly and somberly gathered.

A televised military ceremony at the Kotel, the Western Wall, involved thousands of people,

  thousands of families gathered at the International Convention Center;

and there were also many well-attended community memorial events.

One Family, an organization aiding victims of terror, held a ceremony in Katamon.

Nearby, hundreds of people gathered to remember fallen soldiers of all the Israeli wars and those killed in terroist attacks. At 8:00pm at the sound of the siren, all stood in silence.

Torches and memorial candles were lit.

The names and histories of those killed

were read; to remember.

Soldiers in uniform attended.

Besides memorial services at cemeteries during the day,

there were neighborhood ceremonies where  memorial wreaths were laid.

At 11:00 am,  people came outside the walls of the Old City to watch the traffic

come to a stop at the sound of a two minute-siren.

The memorial flame was attended all day by a changing military guard.

To remember.

So Much In the Air

The week started avikh, with so much dirt and sand in the air that it was hard to breathe;  

grit got in your mouth.

 

 The sky was white and grey, no sun or blue sky could be seen.

Then strong winds blew away the sand, and a different kind of dirt filled the air;

news broadcasts concerning the HolyLand building bribe scandal filled the airwaves.

Towering over the Jerusalem skyline despite multiple building regulations;

no one in Jerusalem was surprised that bribery could be involved. 

The sadness in the air after Yom Hashoah seemed to linger with the news of former Mayor Lupolianski’s arrest as a bribery suspect. As head of the Yad Sarah Organization, he helped so many people. 

But nature goes on, and in the air day and night…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

birds, resting in a tree

 flying or soaring at he Kotel, Western Wall; Jerusalem is their oasis between the desert and the sea.

At  Gan Sacher a ball is often  in the air. 

This week, blue and white returned to the skies.

  The air filled with flags, Israeli and those of the city of Jerusalem.

On government buildings,

the Knesset,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 commercial areas and gardens:

rows of flags

were in the air

 and

 

 

 

 along the streets

 and on cars;

 Jerusalem readies for Yom Hazikron and then Yom Ha’aztmaut next week.

 

Yom Hashoah v’Hagvurah

Holocaust Rememberance Day

Jerusalem,  April 12, 2010

10:00 am

"picture traffic stopped", Photo siren Jerusalem", "image Rememberance da "y

As the siren wailed,

people and cars at most major intersections came to a complete stop.

 A televised ceremony was held at Yad V’shem on the evening of the 11th,

 

  some neighborhoods had their own programs.

"picture pill box", "Jerusalem photo Yom Hazikaron", "image for traffic stopped"

 The day was a somber one, even traffic seemed less noisy,

as the 6 million dead were remembered.

Holiday Week

 Pesach 5770          Passover 2010

As Jerusalem residents waited by the bus load to get out of town,

flags lined the roads welcoming the visitors coming to Jerusalem.

After suffering in traffic jams and road closings while trying to get to the Old City,

visitors were greeted by sounds of music from a boys’ choir at the plaza outside of Jaffa Gate.

 

For the holidays, construction mess at Jaffa Gate was cleared to make room for the thousands of visitors.

 

 Easter celebrations were held this week, adding thousands of Christian visitors to the Passover crowds.

The Kotel, the Western Wall, was crowded all week, and not just for the Priestly Blessing on Thursday morning.

 

 

 

The Old City’s Jewish Quarter was  filled with people and activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently opened Hurva

Synagogue was standing room only

for the afternoon services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, there were a few quiet spots to be found,

  

and even an occasional quiet moment in a busy location.

 

But the Holiday Week was mostly about lots of people,

like those standing in lines at security to get to the toilets in the Mamilla Mall;

and more crowds.

A week of families and food; a  picnic in the park,

a brunch on a roof top,

  a meal in a restaurant served with rolls that look like bread,

 and white cotton candy.

  

 

 

 

 

The boxes for burning Chametz were now cold and quiet on street corners;

 but anywhere there was a patch of green grass,

grills full of roasting meat filled the air with thick smoke well into the night.

For most people,

the end of Passover means

no more matzah

until next year.

The Mimouna festival

begins soon after the sun sets

on the Passover holiday;

and  it is perfect time

for those who want to party

a little longer and

 grill even more meat.