March Madness

In the United States “March Madness”

is the spring college basketball tournament,

 in Israel “March Madness” takes on a different meaning. 

With the new threat of millions of outsiders

on a  Global March to Jerusalem – the “GMJ,”

Israel is again cast as the aggressor in the Middle East.

Looking through March photos, I found this picture

"Palestinian men", 'Muslim prayers", "Israeli apartheid"

taken last year as Muslim worshipers were going to pray.

These men were entering through the Jaffa Gate to the Old City.

There were threats of violence on that Friday,

but Muslim worshipers still had access to their mosque.

This is not the picture GMJ paints for the world.

Please let us not forget, in March of last year

the Fogel family were brutally murdered

and a Jerusalem bus bomber killed a woman.

In March ten years ago, the Park Hotel in Netanya was blown up,

30 people were kiled.

 The Global March to Jerusalem

joins BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions)

and Israel Apartheid Week  

as the newest anti-Israel publicity exploit.

 The GMJ organizers must have not have seen what

was really happening in Jerusalem, 

so I am sharing again:

        This is Apartheid?

 Israeli Apartheid?   and  More Israeli Apartheid?

It is time to stop the madness.


Malha Mall Rioters Drown out the Music

Malha Mall in Jerusalem is a large shopping center, busy day and night.

"Palestinian women' , "Arab women in Israel picture", "photo Arab women"

  Typical scenes like this one show no hint of apartheid.

Last week a group of Beitar football (soccer) fans made quite a scene

 in Malha Mall that caught international attention.

In no way do I condone their rowdy and obnoxious behavior, 

but sports fans have rioted in Canadian and  US cities also.

 Was the entire country condemned for their miserable behavior?

An Israeli diplomat in Rabat, Morocco had to be rescued from a mob

of tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

I did not hear of human rights activists writing essays against these events.

Once again, an isolated, repulsive incident has been blown out of proportion

 and has drowned out the other sounds coming from Jerusalem:

"J Street', Image "Wall of Old City", "photo of Jerusalem"

the sounds of a three-night music festival called “Sounds of the Old City.”

The city of Jerusalem offered free musical entertainment

"picture of Jaffa Gate", "lights" , "sundown photo"

 to bring more visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Old City at night.

Throughout the Old City and Mamilla Mall, 

"light on wall"  , "photo stone walls"

there were also video art displays…

 much better for a photo blog than music played in the dark.

"narrow streets picture", "sundown photo"

It was easy to follow the lights and art

"lights above narrow street" , "J Street"

through the narrow alleyways of the Old City.

"photo Hurva Synagogue"

The Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, was lit up.

"stage picture", "photo of a stage"

Musical performances were scheduled from 6-11:00pm;

sorry, I only got a program on the way out and missed the shows in the Rova.  

"picture of Cardo", "photo of Cardo at night"

Musicians performed inside the Cardo 

"musicians playing photo", "picture of Cardo at night"

and out, two of many dramatic backdrop locations.

Shows were also performed in the Christian and Muslim Quarters

"sound in the night" , "Arab men photo"

   and along many of the Old City streets.

"music fans" , "photo of stage", "Jerusalem photo"

Comfortable seats were impossible to find,

"Arab food photo", "picture of Fava beans",

but the food for sale near Jaffa Gate was hard to miss.

"Palestinian photo", "apartheid image" , "video art picture"

The crowds grew larger as the night went on.

"photo drum circle", "picture of drums", "Arab boys", "Jerusalem photos"

On the way home, this drum circle near Jaffa Gate caught my attention.

"picture boy dancing", "Arab boys in Jerusalem photo", "image Arabs"

One boy got up and started to dance

 to an audience which gathered to watch and included smiling Arab families.

The sounds of music from the Old City went unnoticed by the media,

drowned out by the noise of a few trouble makers.

There was no violence during the festival…so it is not news.

 The “Sounds of the Old City” was happening in Jerusalem last week.

What did you hear?

Journeys to Jerusalem

Spring is usually the perfect season for a trip to Israel.

However, this year 15,000 runners in the Jerusalem marathon events

"marathon", "runners", "Old City"

ran in the cold and rain as they entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate. 

Marathon runners were not the only visitors to Jerusalem,

as tourists from all over the world have been coming in record numbers.

"J Street", "view", Old City, "steps"

I met up with one tour group called The Land and Spirit Mission sponsored by

 the Jewish Learning Institute, the educational arm of the Chabad movement.

"runner", "crowd at race", "marathon runner photo",

Near Jaffa Gate, they were able to learn about the Tower of David

and cheer on the leaders of the 10 Kilometer race.

Kosel, "men at Wailing Wall"  , "Western wall raining"

No matter the weather, visitors near the Kotel, Western Wall

"wailing wall"

 want to pose and smile for photos.

"men at wailing wall"

As one of the rabbis with the tour group spoke,

"women wailing wall"  "rain"

 some of the women climbed on chairs to see and hear.

 From the United States and from around the world, 150 participants

came to experience and learn more about Judaism and Israel.

"posed photo"

Rain, cold weather and grey skies could not dampen their spirits.

"group photo"

For some participants it was their first trip to Israel;

others had visited many times.  Jerusalem is always changing, 

 every day there is something new to see and discover.

"Mamila Mall", Old City, "east jerusalem"

One stop on the tour of the Old City was Mamilla Mall, 

once part of “no man’s land” during the years under Jordanian rule.

Now the new pedestrian shopping area has many restaurants

and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

"Muslim market", "Jews in Muslim Quarter"

It is quite a contrast to the old Arab shuk.

"view", "Dome of the Rock", "muslim", East Jerusalem"

Going through the narrow streets of the Old City,

we found one of the most incredible views …and a bit of blue sky.

"street in Old City", "Hurva Synagogue" , "tour guide'

A few minutes later outside the entrance to the Hurva Synagogue,

while listening to the story of the restoration of the historic building,

it started to hail.

"big shul", "shul door", "open door"

A perfect time to go inside to see the impressive sanctuary.

"view", ""chandelier", "women sitting"

As women listened from above in the women’s section,

"photo Hurva", "Hurva synagogue picture"

 the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch,

spoke to the group.

He began by praising the Chabad rabbis in the audience

and their organization for their important work around the world.

There is wisdom of the head, the rabbi told the group, 

but the “Jewish people also have wisdom of the heart”. 

"Runners" , "running picture"

In the cold rain and hail, it is heart, not the mind, that kept the runners going.

Throughout the centuries the longing for Jerusalem inspired many

to take the difficult journey to Jerusalem.

So how could a little bad weather possibly ruin a trip to Israel?

The Land and Spirit Mission was organized by Zev Jacobson

and his team at Israel Maven Tours.

Israel Maven, dedicated to providing a high-quality trip to Israel

for individuals, families, communities, and corporations,

ran a great program despite the lousy weather.

 It was great fun to see some old friends and former neighbors,

"bag" , "tour bag", "people in the rain"

even if it was hard to photograph them dressed for the weather conditons.

Hope to see you too in Jerusalem…soon.

Jerusalem Marathon 2012

Months of planning and weeks of extensive preparations

"flags" . "truck" , "special truck"

 went into the Second International Jerusalem Marathon,

but no one had control over the weather.

With heavy rains the night before and more rain in the forecast,

many spectators stayed away.

"wet street', "rainy day"

The runners of the full marathon raced through nearly deserted streets.

"shelter" , "rain"

 Security was out in large numbers,

but they often tried to find cover from the rain.

"Jaffa Gate" "Old City' , "large sign"

The marathon route went into the Old City through Jaffa Gate,

"high five" , "lady running marathong'

 where loud music, entertainers and spectators cheered the runners on.

"motorcycles", "runners"

The rain stopped as the half-marathon leaders entered the Old City.

"10 kilometer runner" "runners'

The sun was shining on the 10 kilometer race leaders,

but soon after hail started coming down.

"reflection in water',

Under grey skies, through wet streets,

"runners"

15,000 runners, including 1500 from 

"race"

50 countries from around the world, 

"runners"

came to run.

"girl running"

When the sun came out, so did a smile.

"walking group"

With streets closed to traffic, the only way to get around was to walk.

"Christian toursits"

Some tourists seemed to enjoy walking instead of using their usual buses.

"girls running"

It would have been harder to run in really hot weather,

"happy"

but in spite of the weather and Jerusalem’s uneven and hilly streets,

runners seemed happy to be in the race.

"Chai Lifeline"

Running to raise money for good causes and charity or self-satisfaction

they came…neither rain, nor sleet nor hail,

nor threat of terror kept them away.

 I took way too many photos and plan to put more on

The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/trjstreets

Meanwhile, to see more runners, check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8oysvWZ5FY&feature=youtu.be

"metal sculpture", "art", "men dancing', "Jerusalem marathon pictures"

15 Real Photos of Arab Girls

As southern Israel is being pounded with hundreds of rockets launched

by terrorists in Gaza, the world is silent.

A few anti-Israel photos have been circulating for years.

The photo of a man holding a dead girl,

tweeted by a UN media employee that received so much attention,

is the same photo that I saw in 2008 under the caption,

“Israelis kill a lot of Arab children.”

This was the Google search top result for images of “people who smile a lot.”

I was not smiling and later began to take pictures of real Arab girls.

First, on the hot topic of Israeli soldiers and Arab girls,

only in a Bahrain street theater photo will you see a girl lying under a boot.

Israeli apartheid supporters might find it shocking that in Jerusalem,

"Israeli soldier"  "Arab girls" apartheid

 Israeli soldiers walk on the same streets as Arab girls,

"Palestinian school girls", " Israel soldier" , "Muslim girls"

  by the Walls of the Old City near the Jaffa Gate

Israeli apartheid, "Palestian woman" "Arab lady'

and in the city center. Often they seem to not even notice one another.

Arab girls can be found on the ground,

"Palestinian girls"  "Arab girls"

sitting and enjoying public performances,

Arab girls "Palestinian girls"

or just relaxing

"Arab women" "Palestinian women"

in Jerusalem’s public parks.

"Palestinian boys' "Arab boys'

Of course…the same goes for boys too.

"Arab girl' , "girl alone with boys' "Palestinian girl"

Where else would a Muslim girl be seen alone in the park with boys?

"Palestinians"  snowman picture,

And famlies enjoyed posing with this snowman last week.

"Muslim girl" "Arab women"

An Arab girl might be dragged along by her mother,

shopping in Mamilla Mall

but in Mamilla Mall, most girls can be found happily shopping, both day

Mamilla Mall at night ,"Palestinian at night'

and night with no sign of BDS, Boycott, Divest or Sanctions.

"Arab girls"

Sitting on the steps in Mamilla Mall while texting on their phones,

"eating alone" "Palestinian girl"

 or sitting at a table alone,

"Arab women shopping' "Palestinian women'

shopping late at night at the Rami Levi supermarket,

"Rav Kav" "light rail"

or selling Rav Kav cards for the Jerusalem light rail trains…

these are real photos of Arab girls and young women in Jerusalem.

The world is ready to accept faked captions,

how about the truth?


Purim Favorites

As the sun set in Jerusalem on Friday, 

costumes,

after days of dressing up and celebrating, Shushan Purim came to an end.

Even though Purim is over, I would like to share a few favorites.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what is a Purim joke

sign  misspelled

and what isn’t, but this sign in Mamilla Mall did get attention. 

candy , "candy store" "candy display"

Mountains of candy are bought for and consumed on and after Purim,

 Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, is a favorite place to get the right thing.

"Purim costume"

In the Rova, The Jewish Quarter in the Old City,

this Fiddler on the Roof costume was a favorite of the afternoon crowd.

But in Mamilla Mall,

duck, Israeli soldier

 I liked the Israeli soldier carefully watching the duck.

emergency responder

 The emergency medical crews were wonderful, responding quickly

to aid young men and women who had too much to drink.

Men were falling down and staggering alone in moving traffic;

it is truly a Purim miracle that no one was killed.

One young woman in the Old City was sitting on the street crying,

not a pretty picture with her mascara running down her face.

There was feasting and singing in the Old City,

but the sights of excessive drinking were depressing.

I wonder what went through the minds of unsuspecting tourists?

balloons, "tying balloons"

Then as I started home, I spotted this young yeshiva student making balloons

and giving them to passing children. What a simple and uplifting sight…

even more so when I realized that the young man is my nephew!

walls of the Old City "photographer"

The clear skies were wonderful for photographs

and the warm weather was great for being outside.

Many who were out during the day 

were surprised to find themselves sunburned when they got home.

Palestinians  "Palestinian families"

And near the end of the day, my favorite:

 even with drunken Jews on the streets of Jerusalem…

 Arab families felt safe enough to shop and go for a stroll on the mall.

Purim is Friday

This year in Jerusalem, the holiday of Purim is Friday, March 9,

Image Purim party

but celebrations have already begun.

Image

Students have been in the holiday mood for more than a week

Image Paris fountain Jerusalem

and you can expect to see the unexpected.

Image masks

Window displays in the malls

Image

and sales people are dressed in costumes.

Image super hero costumes

The Jerusalem streets are filled with super-heroes

Image child in costume

of all sizes.

Image costume, money costume

Money not only talks, it also walks 

Image "costumes"

on the colorful Jerusalem streets.

Image "hair'

This is the time of year for a new hair style,

Image "green wig"

hair color,

Image "Purim costume"

wig or new glasses.

Image

All over Israel today, school children dressed up in costumes,

Image

including some very big kids!

You would never know that Purim is not celebrated until Friday

by the look of the Jerusalem streets today.

If you don’t have a costume yet, do not worry there is still time

Image

and street vendors have plenty of them on display.

Image "Purim bags"

HAPPY PURIM!