Erev Sukkot in Jerusalem

The Sukkot holiday season begins early in Jerusalem, Israel.

sukkos,

Starting before Yom Kippur, in every empty lot,

like mushrooms popping up, there are sukkot for sale.

shach on car

The early bird gets the good schach for the top of their sukkah

and the top of the car is the way to get it home.

Space is limited,

sukkos

 so you’ve got to grab your spot early and get your sukkah up.

sukkah, sukka sleeping

Some people really move into their sukkah for the week, 

decorating and sleeping in comfort.

sukkah on camel

 This sukkah on a camel is a favorite photo,

but would anyone really want to sleep in one?

sukkos

It takes time to shop and select the perfect specimens of lulavim

estrog

and etrogim for the holidays.

sign hebrew

Sukkot happenings are too many to list, but I liked this new sign.

Meanwhile, this year

for sale sings

 there are plenty of “For sale” signs in time for the invasion of tourists.

The New Year messages,

bus holiday sign

will switch to the Chag Samaech, Happy Holiday ones and

Jerusalem street

some very busy shopping areas will close for all the days of Sukkot.

holiday cookies

But we are expecting a lot of guests,  

so it’s back to the kitchen, because one day of baking will not last long. 

coke bottle

Chag Samaech!

10 Favorite Signs of Erev Yom Kippur in Jerusalem

In the fall holiday season,

 Yom Kippur quickly follows Rosh Hashanah and then comes Sukkot.

The signs of the season are everywhere, but here are 10 of my favorites.

1. It seems almost everywhere one can see

pomengranates, rimonim

mountains of pomegranates,

pomegrante seeds

 the seeds can be eaten plain or in my favorite – a chocolate-almond tart.

car

2. Cars are loaded with food, as there are many meals to prepare.

decorated car

3. Cars decorated before a wedding are common sights.

With all he holidays, the days for weddings are limited, but not the

 enthusiasm of these young  men driving to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Wailing Wall

4. Crowds of tourists mingle with bar mitzvah celebrants at the Kotel.

Wailing Wall

5. It is hard to find a spot to place a note this time of year,

Wailing Wall

where they are overflowing before being cleaned out.

The Old City

6. Strange looking structures start to appear,

sukkah, sukot, sukos, sukkos

even in the fanciest of neighborhoods, as plain wood sukkot fill balconies.

‘Tis the season to get in shape.

sukkah

7. This man was spotted trying to carry two heavy bags,

each containing long bamboo poles to top a sukkah.

yamulka

8. White is the color of choice for Yom Kippur - this kippah a new favorite.

united Jerusalem

9. The United Jerusalem guy is back in Mamilla Mall with a new shirt.

10. And finally,  I loved seeing this sign.

Yom Kippur prayer

 Tonight there are special Erev Yom Kippur prayers

in Kikar Safra, Safra Square.  Where else

will you hear the songs of the Yom Kippur service on the radio 

and in the courtyard of City Hall?

The country will come to a standstill as public transportation 

and all traffic stops on Yom Kippur,

Jerusalem street sukkah decoration

but the decorations for Sukkot

have been out on the Jerusalem, Israel streets for weeks.

As soon as break-the-fast meal is over, the sound of hammers will be heard

and it’s time to get ready for the Sukkot holiday week.

Gmar Chatimah tovah

May all be sealed for a good year.

Muslim Rage and Yom Kippur in Jerusalem

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed in Syria, 

and thousands more rioted around the world “about a movie.”

I wasted 13 minutes of my life watching this awful thing,

please save your time, I am being very generous to call it a movie.

A judge in Jerusalem, Israel ruled that Google does not have to take it down.

Too bad that over 11,000,000 people have viewed this poorly acted,

badly dubbed, lowest-budget piece of vulgar junk.

It is sad to think about how many better ways to use all that time.

If so many people did not die and so much damage wasn’t caused,

it might be considered funny.

In Jerusalem, Israel it is a time of feasting, fasting and food shopping,

so what about Muslim rage?

Supermarkets are usually crowded, crazy places at this time of year.

I hate going shopping, but big meals have to be prepared for the holidays.

While I was trying to decide on what kind of canned olives to buy,

niqab

two Muslim women dressed in hijab and one with niqab

covering her face were in the same aisle.

Arab women regularly shop in stores in many areas of the city,

 no surprise about that.

niqab

However, the young woman in niqab was also wearing long black gloves.

Often Muslim women cover their arms and wrists, but fingers too?

This was the first time I had seen such a thing, not only did it get 

  my attention, but also that of an Arab man working in the store.

Stores have lots of security checks for bags and people,

but what was happening on the streets?

Arab women

In Mamilla Mall, Muslim couples were strolling about as usual.

Arab girls

These Arab girls had a big crisis: deciding where to eat lunch,

arab girls

but these Muslim women picked a different restaurant.

Going to the Old City, near the entrance for The Kotel, the Western Wall,

Arab women

this was the scene, an Arab woman and boys walking freely.

Meanwhile, in Syria near Damascus, 400 Palestinians

 have been murdered in the Yarmouk refugee camp by Syrians,

  with another 18 killed yesterday, including 4 women & 3 children.

Arab women

And in Mamilla Mall, more Arab visitors arrived and went on their way.

The most shocking thing that I saw was in the Jewish Quarter,

old city jerusalem

 it seems barbed wire is being put up in some Jewish areas of The Old City.

On the way home I passed by Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park,

Muslim prayer

where two Muslim men were bowing on their prayer rug.

I did spot an Israeli soldier standing with an Arab man at a traffic light.

Israel soldier and Palestinian

  Holding his lunch, not a rock or Molotov cocktail,

 my taking a photo seemed to be the only thing annoying him.

Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy fast day will be in a few days.

39 years ago on Yom Kippur most Israelis were fasting and praying, 

when the surrounding Arab countries attacked.

This year there is a new threat of a nuclear Iran

and growing Islamic extremism.

 Muslim calls have been to prayer and not rage in Jerusalem until now.

 We hope and pray that rational minds will prevail, in 5773 and in the future.

bus sign Yom Kippur

Bus signs have changed from a happy new year greeting to Yom Kippur one. 

May we all be sealed for a good year.

Rosh Hashanah Greetings

With the year 5772 coming to an end,

shana tova

Shanah tovah signs are lining the streets of Jerusalem, Israel.

bikor holim hospital

Bikor Cholim Hospital displays holiday symbols on a wall banner.

Yes, they are still in business with thousands of new babies born annually, 

but they were only in the news when there were threats that it would close.

Jerusalem street

Newly planted  flowers line the streets,

Jerusalem store

while thousands of new shoes have been purchased to walk on them.

honey cake

In the “land of milk and honey,”

this time of year the streets are lined with honey cakes.

bus sign happy new year

Shanah tovah,

may 5733 be a year of peace and prosperity and good health for all!

Charity, Saving a Life or Scam?

It’s that time of year again.

 Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, approaches, and it is time for 

tefilah, and teshuvah and zedakah:  prayer and repentance

charity

and appeals to give money for charity. 

Appeals are blasted on the radio, printed in the papers and sent by email.

Jerusalem photo

Small charity collection boxes and

charity boxes

large collection boxes line many Jerusalem, Israel streets.

charity box

Does 100% really go to Zedakah, to the poor? 

In The 7 habits of highly effective schnorrers

beggars, J Street

a friend discusses the sites of successful Jerusalem beggars 

beggar, Old City

from a business marketing perspective.

Techniques are varied,

beggar, Jerusalem street

from a casual stance using a loud-speaker to get attention, 

beggar

 to sitting passively, appearing down and out.

beggar woman, J street

And there is always the traditional plastic cup collection approach.

Israeli VAT, the value added tax, has gone up 1%, 

so already high prices are certain to rise as is the cost of living.

Money is tight for most everyone,

so how does one decide where to give one’s charity money?

bike riders, Alyin ride

Hundreds of riders do Wheels of Love to raise money for Alyn Hospital. 

biker, Jerusalem street

Then there is this bike rider who seems to regularly need money for 

bus fare to her daughter in Bet Shemesh or a few shekels to buy water.

A few hours after I saw her ride by,

beggar, J Street

 this young woman on the right with a small child slung over her shoulder, 

was approaching English speakers on King George Street

 asking for 35 shekel to get back to Haifa.

I recognized her from last year with the same story

and suggested she go to the synagogue for help.

I am always impressed how many people walking on Jerusalem, Israel 

streets will stop, take out money and give to those out-stretched hands.

What are true opportunities to help strangers or what are scams?

I wish I had an answer to the questions, what do you think?

As the year 5772 comes to an end,

it is time for the new year’s greeting to be back on the buses,

sign shana tova bus

Shanah tovah, Happy New Year. 

May 5773 be a prosperous and healthy one for all.