Oh what a week this was!
I had to do this post over and over again.
A week of extreme ups and downs, more than the usual rollercoaster.
The flags were flying high as the last week in April began.
Israeli flags draped down on the Israel Museum.
The wind was blowing so hard, the canvas police post had to be held down.
Every day I walked a different route so I could share the news. One scene was this building rising and changing the Jerusalem skyline over Jaffa Road.
The winter igloo capsules at First Station were being removed and simple shades were taking their place as the summer weather arrived.
The new National Library building exterior is nearing completion.
The new Knesset Museum interior is finally beginning renovations.
The new municipal bike stations are being prepared in popular locations.
The week also began in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park with a ‘Justice for Sarah Halimi’ rally. When I tried to give directions to a couple in French, only a fractured Hebrew phrase came out of my mouth. Around the world, protests were held after the French court let her murderer go free.
Call it French Square or Paris Square, it’s been dug up and work has begun.
Then the Mayor’s Office announced a long list of planned new road work.
I lost count of how many times these have been knocked down replaced on the newly redone street by Paris Fountain.
Finally, there are signs up directing the way to the Kotel, Western Wall.
The week started with bagpipers out in their tartans for Palm Sunday.
Women in the Old City walked carrying a palm. Yesterday was the ‘Holy Fire’ and today is Orthodox Easter Sunday and holiday crowds are returning.
On Mondays, the bar mitzvahs go all day long, with songs and prayers.
I think it went a bit too long for one young fellow. I assume the corona dividers going back up was not his issue, more the long day and afternoon sun that got him down.
New welcome signs have been put up with corona regulations.
Progress finally is visible on the elevator up to the Old City from the Kotel.
Flags and flowers were up in the Armenian Quarter and looking good.
Floral wreaths were placed down along the wall for the April 25th Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day commemoration.
Then a few days later, the dedication of a new 180 car parking lot was held.
This was the site as archeologists went down below street level last month. It seems a major hotel will not arise any time soon in the Armenian Quarter.
But I predict traffic will increase greatly here as soon as the news of newly available convenient parking spreads.
New signs for the May 5th Jerusalem challenge race,
and May 14th special cycling event in Jerusalem went up near Jaffa Gate.
Ramadan continues another two weeks with signs posted each week for street closings around the Old City as tens of thousands of Muslims arrive to pray.
Shopping during the days of Ramadan is allowed, eating begins at sundown.
It was also Pesach Sheni, a month after Passover, and I found one man dressed for the occasion walking from the Old City to the light rail train.
Oh how nice, “return to routine” signs were up.
Also ‘Jerusalem is proud of you’ signs were posted over the streets.
New blue information signs are now on historical buildings of interest and popped up in many neighborhoods and popular Jerusalem streets.
And colorful flowers line many Jerusalem streets, I put more HERE.
By Thursday afternoon Lag B’Omer preparations were well underway,
Last year during the pandemic, Lag B’Omer was broadcast live from Meron.
Traditionally Mt. Meron, not Jerusalem, is the place to be on Lag B’Omer.
But large bonfires were prepared ready for the night long celebrations.
Fires were to be limited this year to only designated areas in Jerusalem. There were fewer than in past years, the smoke was not as strong, but we closed our windows anyway as night fell.
This year, I was watching again on YouTube Live stream as the huge crowd was singing, responding loudly to the declarations recited at the end of the Yom Kippur service, and dancing…and singing in unison – Ani Ma’amin, I believe…
Then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the joy turned to tragedy.
What a night!
What a week of extreme highs and lows.
Sunday was declared a national day of mourning. The flags have been lowered to half-mast. However, there’s no wind to blow the flag over the Knesset. Today only rising temperatures.
On Friday, President Rivlin lit 45 memorial candles, one for each life lost.
The greatest civilian disaster in Israel’s history reaches and touches everyone. This was a week of so many ups and downs
Today President Rivlin visited the L. Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir to thank the staff for their tireless work in identifying the victims of the Har Meron tragedy.
And as President Rivlin said to the families of the victims: “It is hard to grasp the pain of the families who saw in Shabbat not knowing the fate of their loved ones and came from Shabbat to the cemeteries. I am with you in your pain; all Israelis are with you in your pain.”
When it is hard to find the right words, I will end with the traditional text appropriate to comfort mourners:
המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים