Jerusalem’s Montefiore Windmill Returns

Today, after more than 150 years, the afternoon wind was again

Montefiore Windmill

 turning the blades of the Montefiore Windmill in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Windmill

The Windmill, initiated by Sir Moses Montefiore to aid

 the “Suffering Jews in the Holy Land” was completed in 1857

and operated for around twenty years.

Montefiore’s goal was to help the poor of the Jewish community

grind their grain for bread and support themselves.

It was the first project built outside the Walls of the Old City

in the Mishkenot Sha’ananim-Yemin Moshe Jewish neighborhood.

Plaza Jerusalem

The Old City Walls in the distance are easy to see from the plaza,

where a few name cards from the reserved seats were the only sign today of

Windmill photo

the Montefiore Windmill rededication and ribbon cutting ceremony

that took place in the evening of August 28, 2012.

Montefiore Windmill

A restored Montefiore carriage is now on display behind protective glass

after it was vandalized and burned in 1986.

Montefiore carriage

During the reception the door was open and I was able to go inside.

After months of construction and delays 

Mark Sofer

  Jerusalem Foundation president Mark Sofer had plenty to smile about.

The Windmill is not exactly the same as the original though,

as it has an electric motor and security systems.

Windmill Jerusalem

Maybe it was the crepes, 

Pepe Allaou

the ice cream, 

Jerusalem Windmill

or the wine and fruit at the reception,

Naomi Tzur

but everyone seemed to be smiling on Tuesday.

Netanyahu

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks,

Montefiore Windmill

there is extra security all around 

 and extra cameras.

A short video showed the barren area in the 19th century.

Montefiore Windmill

What a contrast to the Jerusalem of today.

  Christians for Israel from the Netherlands worked hard on this project.

Jerusalem Windmill

There were Christian representatives from Holland, 

Jerusalem Windmill, Chief Rabbi

as well as the Dutch Chief Rabbi, Rabbi  Binyomin Jacobs present.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat

Jerusalem, Israel Mayor Nir Barkat, like the Prime Minister,

spoke about his childhood experiences playing in the area.

Jerusalem windmill

The blades of the windmill started to turn again,

but they are not just there to look at

Jerusalem windmill

as an important National Heritage Site, 

 the plan is to grind grain and sell the bread made from it to the public.

Of course, there were speeches,

  it would really be too long to list all the officials present,

however, for a short video click here.

The Prime Minister spoke of the symbol of ruach,

which can be translated as wind or spirit: 

 there was wind and a beautiful spirit as the Windmill returned.

 For more photos see The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.

Jerusalem as August Ends

Did you hear a loud noise on Monday morning?

It was the collective sighs of relief filling the streets -

 the long summer holiday was over

and over 2 million Israeli children went back to school.

water play

Trips to museums for water play were replaced with starting Kita alef,

 which in Israel is a more exciting event than many university graduations.

The school children living in the southern Israel town of Sderot

Kassam rocket

had another rocket fired at them from Gaza as they started to go to class.

More than 440 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza

since the year began, averaging around two a day!

Last week Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, 

Shakespeare in park

was performed in English in Jerusalem, Israel’s Bloomfield Park.

The shows were free and open to the public.

Shakespeare, widely agreed to be perhaps the most clever writer ever,

 could he have imagined what is happening now?

Arab families were seated on the grass to watch.

Arab girls

A few meters away on the plaza, Muslim women sat on a bench 

Jerusalem

and then followed to see the photos of a beautiful bride in white,

Jerusalem scene

as a Jewish couple were preparing to get married.

While hundreds are killed each day in Syria,

Jerusalem park

this was the scene in the Jerusalem park.

School has started, however university does not begin until October.

Jerusalem park

Arab girls in Israel will be attending classes,

not banned from an education like in Iran. 

Arab woman driving

And of course, they can drive themselves to the park or to school,

not like the women living in Saudi Arabia.

arab girls

 Kikar Zion, Zion Square, is still a safe place to walk during the day.

It was a long hot summer,

but the evenings are now cool for the late night summer music programs.

Jerusalem theater

Last week the music and lights were at the Jerusalem Theater,

J street sign,

and this week Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, will showcase Reggae Music 

and Safra Square will host the last August free public concert. 

First there was the Wine Festival, then Beer Festival,

ice cream

and now this week for the first time an Ice Cream Festival.

Always something happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Aliens Land on the Knesset or Go Fly a Kite

No matter what you read in the media about Israel,

the end of August is all about what to do with the kids.

There are no regular ganim and school does not begin until next week.

Take the kids to “office camp” is an option, or

call on the grandparents or any able-bodied (even non) adult,

to help look after them.

There many things to do in Jerusalem, Israel, in August, 

but the annual kite festival at the Israel Museum is one of my favorites.

kite

Looking up at the colorful kites can be dangerous,

The Israel Museum

if you are not careful and trip on the strings on the ground.

kite

Many kites got stuck in the trees,

The Israel Museum

but people were still smiling anyway,

The Israel Museum

except this one man on the wall who was determined to get his kite down.

kite, The Israel Museum

Not all the kites ended up in the trees though,

The Israel Museum

as some soared over the crowd 

kite, The Israel Museum

in the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden.

kite, The Israel Museum

Blue and white kites were popular this year

The Israel Museum

 with many of the families who filled the grounds.

For this 27th annual event, over 7000 people registered, 

The Israel Museum ,

and even more spread out over the wide expanse of the Israel Museum.

The Israel Museum

There were not just colorful kites,

but also Kabuki Theater entertainers,

The Israel Museum

providing music,

The Israel Museum

and more color along with entertainment.

The Knesset

So did aliens land on the Knesset?  Not really.

The Knesset is across the road from the museum and this soaring kite 

The Knesset

looked like it was landing on the roof.

No aliens landed, and there was no violence, 

kites, The Israel Museum

 just enough wind and music and kites, for a day of families and fun.

 

More photos to be posted on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.

Apartheid, Segregation and now: Oppressive Occupation

Here we go again.

First Israeli Apartheid was the rage,

then segregation became a popular ‘hot’ slur.

Now the Deputy Foreign Minister from South Africa calls on his people

not to visit “occupier” Israel.

Too bad, for if his people were in Jerusalem, Israel,

they could see the “oppression” for themselves.

 Syrians are being killed daily by the hundreds,

 in Egypt military leaders are being purged after Muslim terrorists

killed 16 fellow Muslims while they were breaking their Ramadan fast,

and violence in Myanmar is spreading to Jakarta and Mumbai.

As the month of Ramadan fasting comes to an end in Jerusalem,

Arab women

 Muslim women were in Mamilla Mall shopping as usual.

Jaffa Gate

On Friday mid-day prayer time, this was the scene outside Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Plaza

and inside Jaffa Gate.

Arab shuk

At the entrance to the Muslim shuk,

South African Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim,

Arab women

would have seen the security of the oppressive “occupation”.

kosel

Yes, a security blimp was hovering near Damascus Gate,

but all appeared normal on a regular Friday near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was no violence or stone throwing,

Ramadan

so there were no restrictions or barriers as people were leaving, though

Jaffa Gate

 several men covered their heads with prayer rugs for protection from the sun.

Israeli occupation

There were no military vehicles on the street below

Israel occupation

and people freely went up and down the steps to

palesitian

and through Mamilla Mall.

arab girls

Because of past suicide bombers, there is always a security check

to enter Jerusalem malls, but security checks are for everyone.

Israeli police

Suddenly, police closed off Agron Street with red tape, 

  even Egged bus drivers were stopped and had trouble getting through.

I did not stay around long enough to find out why the street was closed,

Muslim man

but it was not a restriction of Muslims oppressed under “occupation” .

New Warnings in Jerusalem Shuk

In 1997, 16 people were killed by suicide bombers and

over 175 wounded at the Machane Yehuda Market, the Shuk.

Ten years ago another 7 people were killed in a terrorist attack at the Shuk.

Six years ago during the Second Lebanon War, 

I made aliyah and moved a short distance from the Shuk.

At first, every time I ventured out to the center of town or to the Shuk, 

it felt like a big deal, with fear of it being my last trip.

What if today another suicide bomber was out for a midday murder mission?

However, what I found in the Shuk was very different from what I expected;

"arab women" "Arab woman", "muslim woman"

Arab women strolling freely and shopping,

"picture fresh garlic"

mountains of garlic before it is dried,

"photo Natan Sharansky"

and Natan Sharansky buying fresh pita.

This month’s Balabasta Festival has brought more people to the Shuk.

 There is security at the entrance, but now a new warning is needed:

 the crowds have returned, so hold on to your kids!

The Mystorin Theater Group has some of the most clever performers. 

They performed two nights last week near the Shuk.

It is hard to describe what they do with costume, light and color.

This scene in the amphitheater was projected on to a large screen

"SAND"

and was created by hand with sand sprinkled on a light table

The ‘Sea in Jerusalem’ show also had several dance performances.

 People walking by also stopped to look at the larger-than-life actors.

However, be warned:

"Mystorin"

 this show was not appreciated by everyone as it was way ‘out of the box.’

These new warnings for the Jerusalem Shuk may be amusing, 

however,

 this caterpillar, constructed of cement pipes, is located in a park in Sderot

to provide immediate shelter for children who play in the park.

When Hamas decides to send a kassam rocket from Gaza,

the children of Sderot do not always get a warning.

Last night another rocket landed in southern Israel.

 No one was killed.

How can there be any excuse for trying to blow up children,

with or without warning?

Jerusalem: Exhaustion in August

Most of Israel may be on holiday in August, but in Jerusalem

things begin to heat up and not just the weather.

After the three sad weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av,

 mourning turns into serious celebrating,

with wedding season and festival time. 

During the first week of August,

"photo Israel Museum"

 the Israel Museum hosted a successful Israeli Wine Festival.

Festivals once again range from,

" picture sign in Hebrew", "Image J Street", "photo Hebrew sign "

an International Puppet Festival to a beer festival at the end of the month!

Schools are out and summer camps are over,

so it is time once again to keep the kids busy.

"khutsot Hayozer"

Khutzot Hayotser, The International Arts and Crafts Fair,

near the Old City in the Sultan’s Pool, with its

"photo arts and craft fair"

 huge stage for nightly entertainment has been held for almost 40 years.

Running from August 6-18 and  similar to recent years,

"picture kites", "photo J Street", "image Art festival"

food, local artists’ works and international crafts are for sale.

A relative newcomer to the August festival season is the Balabasta Festival,

 held on Sunday nights in August in Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

"photo shuk", "image machane yehuda market"

Some businesses closed early,

"fruit market picture"

but others were well stocked.

Balabasta seemed more small child-friendly than it was last year,

"photo puppet show"

with puppet shows,

"photo balloons"

balloons,

"juggler"

balancing acts,

"juggler"

a juggler and a 5:00pm advertised start time.

By 6:30 pm, the laundry was hung and the alleyways were getting crowded.

"puppet"

I caught a familiar face from last year

as he was coming out of a store,

"puppet'

and he quickly gained new fans.

"music"

There was music of all kinds

"art with seeds"

and art of many types,

"photo art"

culture in Jerusalem is so varied it can be hard to define,

and to take it all in can be exhausting.

It is probably impossible to attend all the Jerusalem festivals,

but if you want to try, here are a few more  suggestions and

 more Balabasta photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem

 Did you hear about Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel?

By now you must have heard that Mitt Romney was in Jerusalem

on the fast day of Tisha B’Av. 

 I had no details on the Romney press conference when I posted last week,

 but an hour later I had all the information I wanted.

What a wonder, the internet!

Even no food or water for 24 hours could not keep me away.

The Old City Walls were in the background as

"photo The Old City Walls'  "image mayor Jerusalem"

 Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat waited to welcome Romney to the stage.

"photo Romney", "image Romney"

Flags and a line of security lined the entrance route.

Already there have been hundreds of reports 

and millions of words written about the speech,

"Photo Romney Jerusalem", "image windmill", Picture Romney

which was given in the plaza near the Montefiore Windmill.

Only a small select crowd attended the Romney events.

However, what else did you hear about Tisha B’Av?

Did you hear that the night before, hundreds of people

"photo Tisha B'Av" , "image J street", "J Street photo"

   were out on the Jerusalem streets walking around the walls of

"photo  Jerusalem gate" . "picture Jerusalem",

 The Old City, passing first by the New Gate, new from 1887?

"photo light rail", "Jerusalem light rail image", Jerusalem photo

The new addition this year were the active Jerusalem light rail trains.

"picture east jerusalem", "photo J Street', Image crowd

As last year, Tisha B’av and Ramadan coincided,

"Damascus Gate photo", Image Damascus gate,. "Picture Shear Shcem.

so Damascus Gate at midnight was still celebrating.

"photo Damascus Gate"., "image horse", "security Jerusalem"

I only got one chance to take a photo, as security moved me away.

"Photo Jerusalem" Image jerusalem

Cameras and security were ready for trouble.

"dirty street" , "photo east  Jerusalem"

But the most shocking scene I could find was of all the garbage on the street.

The Women in Green had to petition the court to be allowed to walk,

though this was the 18th year for this event.

Like last year, I was impressed with the number of people

and the variety of the crowd that stayed 

so late at night for the closing speeches at the Lion’s Gate.

At 1:00am some marchers headed home while the buses were still running.

Others walked to the Dung Gate entrance to The Kotel, The Western Wall,

where many people stayed all night.

Tens of thousands of people,

peacefully celebrated Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem.

There was no violence, therefore it was not news.

This one minute video may help you feel the mood of the night.

"ramadan photos", "image Ramadan" , "picture Mamilla Mall

As I walked home at 2:00 am, the closed Mamilla Mall was full of people.

I noticed that it was decorated with strings of colorful lights

for the Muslim holy time of Ramadan.

Another sign of Israeli oppression?

For more on Romney visit click here.

 More photos from the Walk around the Walls.