Not this year in Jerusalem

 Jerusalem turned pink for the Komen Race for the Cure in 2010,

 in many places it is an annual event to raise money for breast cancer research.

Last year’s race took place on a beautiful day in Jerusalem.

Thousands of people came from around the world,

hundreds of Arab women came from all over Israel to participate.

This year the race was not run, but last year was nice enough to see again.

Click on Archive on the right for October 2010,

then click Race for the Cure.

Not this year…

but maybe next year in Jerusalem,

or better yet a cure.

A Different Perspective

Those who predicted that Gaddafi would be overthrown by his own people

were correct…only it took 42 years for those predictions to be fulfilled.

One has to wonder about what will happen to Libya,

a society where children are taken to view a dead dictator’s body,

now that Sharia Law will become the law of the land.

Turkey has another earthquake and turns down offers of help.

Headlines are of knife attacks and a new security alert in Jerusalem.

The holiday season is finally over and before the November events begin,

it seems like a good time to share some of the art and beauty

that you can find on the Jerusalem streets.

On a path near a main road is this sculpture, one of many around the city.

On the sides of  buildings

 large murals can be seen.

While there is a new initiative to decorate the Machane Yehuda market, the shuk,

 noncommissioned street art or graffiti

can be found

in many locations around Jerusalem.

Brightly painted and decorated

boxes for electrical and phone wires

 are scattered throughout the city.

Some of the art displayed in Mamilla Mall is colorful and whimsical,

and Biblical themes are common… Noah is timely for this week.

Sculptures have included the large and holy

and the small and mundane.

However, it is the interaction of the public with these works of art

that makes them more

than just something to view

and appreciate from afar.

The pieces are constantly being changed

and then photographed by visitors.

Some request to have their picture taken with a piece of art,

while others may not be aware they are being photographed.

Wonder if these people realized they were sitting on an art project?

One of many city benches painted with a gold lion by two local artists.

This was probably not meant to be a work of art,

but on the streets of Jerusalem you can never be quite sure…

things often are seen from a different perspective.

Gilad Shalit Home

During Chol Hamoed Sukkot, the intermediate days of  Sukkot in Jerusalem,

 huge crowds gather at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

for Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

They stand in long lines to greet the President at his annual sukkah open house.

However, this year all media attention has been on the return of Gilad Shalit.

1000 days after he was kidnapped on June 25, 2006,

 a night-time rally was held by a tent in Jerusalem

that was erected near the Prime Minister’s official residence.

At first

it was a simple affair,

staffed with one or two volunteers

and some banners.

Then July 2010,

 the Shalit family walked to Jerusalem from their home in Mitzpe Hila

and took up “residence” in the tent and a small food area was added.

Real floors were installed on top of the sidewalks

 and the kitchen was upgraded.

Deliveries to feed the growing numbers of workers were increased.

The numbers of yellow ribbons, flags and photographers increased.

Being photographed inside the tent with the Shalits

or broadcasting outside became a media priority.

Tee shirt sales were booming.

Runners in the Jerusalem marathon carried Gilad Shalit flags.

  Additional signs were installed across the street.

Schools from around the world posted signs of support

and were among the hundreds of busloads of visitors.

The tent was insulated for winter.

In the summer, sitting outside was often more comfortable to receive visitors.

With the “5 minutes of silence for 5 years of  captivity” campaign,  Noam Shalit

received extensive media attention for the Free Gilad Shalit campaign.

Dozens of photographers looked for a winning shot.

TV news did live broadcast as the busy intersection came to a stop.

The next day the Shalits checked the papers to see how the event was reported.

Then on day 1934 of captivity,

it was announced that a prisoner exchange had been agreed upon.

 Gilad Shalit was coming home.

The family returned to their home, the tent was emptied and closed.

Today the Shalit family and much of the country is euphoric.

Everyone wanted Gilad Shalit home, after his 1941 days held in isolation in Gaza..

But there is another side of the street… at what price?

The counter protests were small, but sincere.

Many family members of victims of terror feel betrayed as their loved ones’

killers are set free.

Is a deal that releases multiple mass murderers who are determined to kill again,

really good for the country?

Occupied on Sukkot

At present, hundreds of cities around the world are being occupied,

as “Occupy” protesters take to the streets and people are living in tents.

This week in Jerusalem, as they do every year for the Sukkot holiday,

thousands of people leave their homes to occupy… sukkot.

Sukkot can have one of the best views of the Kotel, the Western Wall,

or be on the back of a truck,

or even on the back of a camel.

 With or without a welcoming sign… all around Jerusalem this week,

 thousands of sukkot are being occupied.

At night when the lights go on

they stand out

inviting,

bright against the dark sky.

Some are long with simple white walls,

others with patterned fabric.

Some are tucked away off the street

and some are large and imposing on a roof top,

while others appear small and alone.

Some sukkot are public

and some very private.

There is one sukkah that is now dark and unoccupied.

It is the enlarged sukkah built in the Shalit protest area,

near the Prime Minister’s residence.  The Shalit family has left Jerusalem,

they and their supporters went home before the holiday began.

Also, it seems… not occupied on Sukkot

are the new light rail trains.

Their drivers have barely started to work,

but are already on strike and the trains are not running today,

one of the busiest tourist days of the year.

Moadim L’Simcha from Jerusalem!

10 Sukkot Favorites

Signs of the Sukkot holiday can be found before Yom Kippur,

but as the fast day ends serious holiday preparations begin.

Here are the ten best ways to tell the Sukkot holiday is approaching:

1. Sukkot begin to fill outdoor porches,

open spaces,

  any 3 walls not under a tree or overhang is covered with schach, becomes a sukkah.

2. Stands selling colorful decorations for the sukkah pop up all over.

3. Number three is lulav shopping.

It can be done in a supermarket,

but for serious consumers

there are special markets for the arba minim.

Rows of etrogim

and piles of hadasim and aravot.

Each item is carefully

examined and studied

for perfect specimens.

4. Finding the right holiday clothing is a must.

5. Family reunions for the holiday are a good reason to smile.

6. Shopping and cooking for all those guests becomes a major task.

7. Police security check in Machane Yehuda market, the shuk goes to the dogs.

8. With thousands of extra visitors and shoppers, traffic jams are a regular sight.

9. An Elvis impersonator singing on a shopping strip is not a regular sight,

just a sign that you never know what to expect in Jerusalem.

10. Recently, this sign had been at another intersection, then reappeared here,

“To all!

The holy Jewish people have a responsibility of unity

and unconditional love

please!”

  I do not know who posted it, but the message is an interesting one.

Random acts of violence have increased over the last week.

However, for most people it is hard not to notice that the holiday season is here.

Chag Sameach

Happy holidays!

Erev Yom Kippur

Before Yom Kippur, whether late at night or before dawn,

one can attend special Selichot prayers all around Jerusalem.

It can be difficult to get to the Old City due to the huge numbers of people…

every night and all night long.


During the day, beside the usual crowds at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

there are bus loads of girls on school trips.

 This is a special time for tefilah,

prayer

and zedakah,

charity

and also for many, special Torah study and classes.

As Yom Kippur  begins, all regular traffic stops.

At least for one day a year, the signs,

  “Do not murder” on the road

and “Do not drink and drive” are obeyed.

And to end with a favorite sign, the erev Yom Kippur bus sign…

  Chatimah tovah

may all be sealed for a good year.

Illegal Building

Two days of Rosh Hashanah followed by Shabbat meant three days

 with no internet or news updates, so while there were many reports

of the Quartet’s disgust with Israel for building in Gilo,

I missed seeing any mention of their dismay with the Palestinian Authority as

 Kassam rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on the first day of Rosh Hashanah

and the Israeli air force had to preempt another terrorist strike on the second day.

Three days of  holiday meals and city garbage bins were over flowing.

After Shabbat, people could be found walking or jogging very late at night.

Changing the clocks back to standard time provided an extra hour to exercise,

but with the early sunset, there is not as much time to play outside after school.

 US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is visiting Jerusalem;

I wonder if  he noticed these “buildings” in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park?

While Tel Aviv has taken down its “tent cities'”

in this Jerusalem park one can find groups of tents,

a private “suburban” site,

and an open kitchen area.

Today a couple was moving a couch out of the park,

but some of the “buildings” look like they are ready for the Sukkot holiday.

Is there another “tent city” filling this parking lot?

No…these are supplies to build sukkot for the upcoming holiday,

when thousands of illegal “buildings” will be popping up in every open space.

For the Rosh Hashanah holiday, all regular soldiers were all on active duty,

with many stationed far away from home.

Thank you to the IDF for making it safe

 for the rest of us to celebrate all the holidays with our families.