I have a problem this week – I have been wondering what to share.
Today is Tisha B’Av, the Ninth Day of the Hebrew month of Av, a fast day, and the saddest of the year on the Jewish calendar for centuries.
Is it appropriate to write about the special session held in the Knesset?
Not the one where the attendance board was lit up with the photos of the many Knesset members who were in the building all night to vote.
Or what about my visit to Old City on Friday for a special photo-op with a delegation of international Ambassadors?
I decided today, without coffee or water, that those and other stories will wait until next time.
Today is Tisha B’Av.
It’s blistering hot outside on the Jerusalem streets.
However, last night I went to walk around the walls of the Old City, and it felt similar to past years.
The night began after Shabbat with Eicha, the reading of Lamentations, sitting on the ground, in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park was one.
The security was as extensive as the crowd was diverse.
Going past Damascus Gate always requires a quick stop to take a photo.
However, the moon over the Lion’s Gate was more impressive last night.
The views towards the Mount of Olives at night over the Tomb of Absalom
and the cemetery at night, though not so easy to photograph, amazing to see from this side of the Jerusalem Old City streets.
The area near Robinson’s Arch with those original stones from the Temple’s destruction is not such a great photo this year as restoration work on the stones of the wall continues. But as usual, when I go there to check, it was quiet with only a few people.
But the scene at the Kotel, the Western Wall, was like, not sure what word to use, one huge “celebration.” Tens of thousands of people at midnight, singing slow sad songs, women on the other side sitting in a circle on the ground singing also.
This view is from above
but doesn’t show the hundreds of people leaving and even more arriving.
I did a very quick video to give an idea of the crowd on my way out.
I went by the quiet Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter.
The archeological display has been improved with new lighting.
A memorable scene was in the Cardo, with a lone young man sitting on the stones near remnants of the Roman Empire, the pillars of a once-bustling marketplace.
Then by Jaffa Gate, a group of young people was listening to the history and significance of Tisha B’Av.
The diversity of people, so many people, coming and going all night long.
One man was power washing the stones at the entrance to Mamilla Mall. At 1:00 am, he was getting ready for Tisha B’Av day. Though all the stores and restaurants were closed, Mamilla is a major route for people coming and going to the Kotel all night.
And as I approached home I saw another impressive sight.
The sanitation workers were out to do the clean-up after Shabbat.
Much hotter, but cleaner street on Tisha B’Av today.
There’s much more happening on the Jerusalem streets but it will have to wait for next time.
Take care and stay well, hope to see you soon.