What a week it was in Jerusalem!
September came in with a blast. Jerusalem, Israel, was hit with a heatwave.
The first time in over a century temperatures soared to such record-breaking September highs.
Despite the heat, on the first day of school with corona restrictions, “Shalom Kita Aleph” balloons welcomed the first-grade students, but celebrations were scaled down. Parents with multiple children need a computer to program to help keep the times straight. Some schools closed after one day, or three days, due to a person diagnosed with the virus, others are struggling along to keep up with changing rules and regulations.
The big news this week was not on the Jerusalem streets, but in the air from Jerusalem to Abu Dhabi. The Israeli and US diplomatic delegations, along with journalists, traveled on an El Al flight. El Al flew over Saudia Arabian airspace, another significant first. OU kosher meals were available for the Israeli delegation in UAE for official meetings, provided by the UAE.
From dozens of impressive images of the historic visit, this photograph of the El Al plane leaving to return to Israel was one of the most popular. As the first Israeli-US delegation departed, their hosts waved goodbye at the end of a red-carpet visit.
Thani Al Shirawi, Deputy Managing Director of Oasis Investments, a founding member of the UAE Israel Business Council, is eager for the first open business deals. As he put it: “It’s easier to do business with our cousins.” The Israeli-UAE business community has had connections for years, but not in the open. Israelis used passports from other countries to enter the UAE.
Technology and tourism hubs to Asia and the world will be available for the first time. Collaboration in agriculture and water technologies between UAE and Israel is another big first for potential in the future.
But, back to the Jerusalem, Israel streets.
The Prime Minister of Kosovo announced he is planning to open an embassy in Jerusalem, establish diplomatic relations and deepen bilateral relations.
For the first time, The Jerusalem Marathon 2020 was canceled this week. Originally set for March, the finish line was up when the event was postponed until November. Organizers are now hoping for the March 2021 Jerusalem Marathon. Wars, bombs, and stormy weather did not stop the marathon from successfully running for the past decade. However, a tiny virus has stopped travel and curtailed this event and much more from happening.
This week Jerusalem announced new regulations for clean air, and polluting trucks will not be allowed in the city.
According to Mayor Moshe Lion: “Since taking office, I have set myself the goal of making the capital of Israel the cleanest city. We will continue to concentrate efforts and work for the improvement of the quality of life of the residents in any way. I call on all residents of Jerusalem to keep our Jerusalem clean – For our benefit! “
Cleaning streets has been an ongoing project during corona.
For the first time I saw how they filled those trucks from active fire hydrants – and oops.
Also this week Moshe Lion announced: “The disabled public bravely faces its challenges every day and we must ask at all times how the city can help and assist in terms of accessibility and belonging. I will continue to work for every person with equal disabilities.”
And that day I saw these new benches were installed near the Israel Museum.
Seating, social distanced and accessible from the street, is now available across from the Knesset.
From that bench, you can sit and see the Knesset clock, and really watch the time go by in Jerusalem.
Not sure where the time went, but Rosh Hashanah, the Hebrew New Year, is less than two weeks.
Usually, for Selihot, tens of thousands crowd into the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza. This year for the first time due to COVID-19 restrictions there is a lottery for spots for Selihot at the Kotel. Only 2,500 people will be allowed to attend each night. Hurry, the deadline to submit a request in the lottery is up at midnight tonight.
However, there’s a new option in Jerusalem for Selihot this year. Yitzhak Meir is to be at Kikar Safra to lead Selihot for a limited live outdoor audience with coronavirus regulations. But those who cannot attend in person can view the musical service to be shown live on Facebook.
Five years ago, Yitzhak Meir sang for a much smaller crowd in the Beit Hanasi Synagogue invited by President Reuven Rivlin.
I am assuming a big crowd invited to attend Selihot in the Israeli President’s gardens will not happen this year.
However, Selihot tours in the Old City are being advertised.
One of my favorite memories.
Coming back from the Kotel, I heard singing and followed the sounds to this chazan.
As we approach Rosh Hashanah, what a year this has been!
We started off not sure how to write the year 5780 in Hebrew, was it תש”פ or תש”ף.
At least this 5781, we know how to spell the New Year – תשפ”א.
May it be a good and healthy new year for all.