The Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av
are always hot, unless you live in Southern Hemisphere.
This year was no exception,
unless you count hotter than usual temperatures.
Jerusalem, Israel, is known for its cooler evenings,
but the night of Tisha B’Av stayed warm and humid.
In spite of the uncomfortable weather, thousands ventured out
to sit on the stones and streets to hear a reading of
Eichah, the Book of Lamentations.
At Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park,
this woman sat on a bollard to listen,
while this policeman sat on the ground.
I have joined the Walk around the Walls since 2011,
security threats seem to be an annual feature of this event.
With the recent murders and riots on Temple Mount,
the walk only got permission to proceed at the last minute.
It was hard to get the long line of participants into one photo.
As we approached the Damascus Gate,
the location of many recent troubles,
the Arab media was waiting to record the marchers.
Police on horses were ready
as the crowd proceed along with Israeli flags.
A few stopped to rest near Damascus Gate,
just before the steps came into view.
This year Tisha B’Av fell after Ramadan
and the Damascus Gate was quiet.
This is the only time all year
that I walk by this gate
and around it to capture the dramatic night views on this side of wall,
on the way to the Lion’s Gate.
This was the scene of Muslims worshipers
filling the streets and rioting and being controlled by the police.
However, hundreds of Jews filled the same streets
and sat late into the night on the stones peacefully listening
to the Women in Green’s list of speakers.
Continuing around the walls and entering through Dung Gate,
one sees the huge stones that have remained over the centuries
at the base of the wall,
reminders of the ancient destruction of Jerusalem.
On to the Kotel, the Western Wall,
where thousands gathered, to sit, to mourn,
even to spend the night on the ground.
People were arriving throughout the night.
The gilded of Dome of the Rock,
built over the foundation stone, glimmered above the Kotel lights.
Jerusalem, city of peace, has seen many rulers
and thousands of years of conflict.
This year passed quietly,
the only words one heard on the walk around the walls were
“תודה – Thank you!” over and over,
to the police and security personnel guarding along the route.
The lights on the Old City streets were dimmed
for Tisha B’av night,
but the large Temple Menorah glowed brightly.