Another week in Jerusalem, Israel, where it’s hard to know where to start and what to share–so much was happening on the Jerusalem streets.
Yemin Moshe was as usual in the spring – picture-perfect.
The International Writers’ Festival was again held across from the Old City Walls in Mishkenot Shaanamim.
The annual festival began on Sunday night with an introduction to an international writers’ group. PEN – Poets, Essayists, Novelists, which was founded in London in 1921.
It has spread to more than 100 countries, with a stated aim of supporting the unhampered transmission of thought within and between all nations.
Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Jennifer Egan, former PEN President, was one of the speakers at the opening event.
The 2014 Sapir Prize winner Rami (Reuven) Namdar led one discussion group. The Sapir Prize is the largest literary prize awarded in Israel.
The Writers’ Festival meetings in Jerusalem could not find a more historic or lovely location than Mishkenot Shaananim, next to Yemin Moshe.
Another special international guest in Jerusalem was the President of Kenya William Ruto. Kenyan flags were flying outside Beit Hanasi for his official arrival ceremony and state dinner with the President of Israel.
The past week included Lag B’Omer, the Israeli day associated with fire.
Some families started early with their fires on Monday night in the park.
As others were arriving, with every kind of wood to burn and food to cook.
The smoke rose from these bonfire sites before dark.
And more wood was on the way, to keep the fires going.
Over the years, I have repeated, there are those who love Lag B’Omer and those who go inside and close the windows. I went in again this year.
But Lag B’Omer is also a big family day of celebration for children, as it’s an Israeli school holiday.
Chabad Lag B’Omer parades were held in several Jerusalem locations.
Lag B’Omer in Meron is still the main Israel event.
But this year with the Meron site limited, a Lag B’Omer celebration was held in Jerusalem by an organization called the Rebbi Shimon Foundation.
As men continued singing and dancing, after men had poured oil to ignite the fire, it spread to the table holding the bonfire.
Water from a garden hose saved the day, and the party continued into the night inside the new party location.
While all this was happening, in the space above, we were enjoying a Lag B’Omer wedding. Lag B’Omer is also a day filled with weddings.
This one went as planned, however, many southern weddings had to scramble to find new locations with Gaza rockets being fired into Israel.
On Wednesday, in Kfar Batya, near Ranana, again questions of safety arose, for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new AMIT educational campus.
With a few changes, moving the event to be close to shelters in case of an alarm, the long-awaited and exciting program went ahead.
I heard the boom of an Iron Dome missile interception not too far away.
But it was on with the show – Dare to Dream.
An example of Israeli resilience, Nurit Davidi, principal of AMIT high school in Beer Sheva, the wife of the Mayor of Sderot, came and participated in the program while her town and family were under rocket fire.
Lag B’Omer is over, and signs are up for the new Jerusalem musical events.
But, notice the blue sign at the bottom with red for May 12th in Jerusalem.
On Friday hundreds of cyclists rode around Jerusalem, starting from First Station and along Jaffa Gate for rides of different distance routes.
Writing and weddings, fires, and riding not for you?
How about trying the newest tourist attraction in Jerusalem?
Look closely and see the brown line across the bottom third of the photo.
It’s the new suspension walking bridge across the valley from near the Mount Zion Hotel to the Mount of Olives.
Or you can walk and go at your own pace, and enjoy the old and new of Jerusalem on a Jerusalem Photo Walk.
Hope to see you on the Jerusalem streets soon.
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