Hanukkah is the time of miracles.
While some things were certainly not the same in Jerusalem, Israel, this year,
there were the familiar winter colors in Liberty Bell Park.
The Jerusalem Scouts have finally returned and are building again near their moadon, clubhouse.
Workers were even seen entering the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. After a grand opening in 2016, it was locked for a very long time.
The Jewish Media Summit was held on December 8, and was a Zoom event this year.
In the past, UN Ambassador Danny Danon brought UN Ambassadors to see Israel, but this pandemic year he will settle for hosting them on Wednesday – online.
I am remembering that a year ago at the Jerusalem Biennale ziara was the theme of the large exhibit in the YMCA. Ziara: Moroccan Common Wisdom, was curated by Amit Hai Cohen. Along with seventeen other artists of Moroccan descent, the display included a wide range of contemporary pieces. The Moroccan heritage of ziara, the feeling of home, contrasts greatly with other Arab countries where Jews were persecuted and expelled, and this week Israel and Morocco announced that they will reopen their liaison offices and in time, establish diplomatic relations. Expect travel to increase to Morocco, as well as to the United Arab Emirates.
Danny Danon said today that he expects more countries to announce they will establish relations with Israel before January 20. There’s clearly a new paradigm in the Middle East.
With Jerusalem under coronavirus restrictions and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, I was afraid that I wouldn’t get new photos for Hanukkah, like these favorites, a huge menorah from an inner Jerusalem city plaza,
or this one on top of Hadar shopping mall.
But I was wrong!
No tiny viral bug was going to stop lights on Hanukkah in Jerusalem.
Attendance at the lighting of the large golden menorah near the Kotel, Western Wall, is restricted, but accessible to all online. On the first night, people were divided into socially distanced sections, with live music, and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi lit the oil lamps.
The traditional large Hanukah menorah is back near Jaffa Gate.
Without international tourists due to corona, popular sites are not crowded as usual.
However, again Jerusalem is encouraging Israelis to come and visit.
Signs are up for celebrating Hanukkah in Jerusalem – check the website – HERE
Public Hanukkah lightings are held nightly, (well the sign says 4:30 pm) here at Nayot Park, and multiple other community outdoor locations.
But in Jerusalem, even private homes have their menorahs or chanukiot, on display, here on an outer gate to a Jerusalem street, for all to see the lights.
So what’s new?
There’s a large modern chanukiah near the walls of the Old City.
A floral menorah with a dreydel on each side near Bloomfield Park and the Montefiore Windmill. Plus, I hear there is also another on the Tayelet.
And on Jerusalem traffic circles,
even with restaurants closed now, there was one on the street where people could take out food and eat outside.
There are new signs to keep Jerusalem streets clean! That yellow thing is a banana peel and a plastic bottle was on another.
There are multiple new areas to encourage sitting and enjoying nature.
With theaters closed during this pandemic year, three young actresses from Nurit Katzir Theater were performing on Jaffa Road on Friday.
So far the weather in Jerusalem has been pleasant to get out and about.
This year, Nes Gadol Haya Po, a special concert for Hanukkah by the Jerusalem Symphony will be broadcast online at 9:00 pm IT, December 15, details can be found HERE.
Restrictions due to coronavirus have limited inside gatherings, but have not stopped Hanukkah celebrations on the Jerusalem streets.
Even in a pandemic, there are plans for the annual candle lighting each night in Mamilla Mall, and tonight there is an event at First Station.
Now is a good time to remember, the famous menorah at Yad Vashem:
From generation to generation, the Hanukkah candles lit up dark nights.
Jerusalem is hosting events all week, hope to get out at night to the see.
The light projections and music near Jaffa Gate from 2016 were special.
We still have 5 more nights of Hanukkah. Check back next week to see the best of Hanukkah on the Jerusalem streets.
Meanwhile, stay well.
חג חנוכה שמח