On my social media feed, Israeli friends are posting, “For the rest of the world it’s New Year’s Eve,
but here in Israel – it’s October 85.” Today is the 86th day since Hamas invaded on the Shabbat of Simhat Torah, October 7, destroyed thousands of lives, and hundreds of Israelis were taken hostage in Gaza.
The Jerusalem streets are filled with refugees from the south of Israel and the north, as the war rages on. Life also goes on, though at a different pace.
This past week, there was another full moon over Jerusalem, as the seasons began to change from long dark nights to longer brighter days.
The lively sound of piyut music was coming from downstairs at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.
While upstairs Benny Begin son of Menachem Begin was giving a short history of Gaza.
Oh, how I dislike the photos that show those posters in the small hall.
But there was something about the way Ariel Sharon kept staring during Begin’s interesting presentation.
I knew of the mosaic from a 6th-century synagogue in Gaza, but his image is better than the one I had.
I did learn about the Margolin family who owned a hotel in Gaza. In the 1929 riots, the Jews living in Gaza were able to shelter in their hotel and escape without being killed.
On the way home the sign at the parking lot near First Station said “FULL” and it really was, as people are slowly coming back to the Jerusalem streets.
Jerusalem Municipality is promoting culture with multiple sponsored events.
Coming back, a new kosher restaurant at 1 Ben Maimon Street, at the site of the old Moment Cafe.
The extra-long Israeli flag is too short for the new buildings rising in Jerusalem.
It was a surprise to see work being done on the future Knesset Museum on King George Street.
A very good sign to see the tables out and a few people back in Kikar Hamusica, Music Square.
These decorations were put up before the summer but seemed to only get attention now.
While the holiday decorations are up the holiday crowds stayed away by the millions this year.
But the volunteers and solidarity missions keep coming to Israel. This group of 18 young adults from around the world came for a first-hand experience to take back to their countries to support Israel. This is so important as social media is filled with lies, distortions, and denial. They are part of a Young Leadership Academy sponsored by KKL-JNF and WZO, each one an outstanding individual, and hope for the future.
Their last stop on the brief mission was at the Kotel, Western Wall, before heading home.
These female soldiers caught our attention as they came to pray.
This case of candles is located at the Kotel Plaza, in memory of the murdered and fallen on October 7.
As the world moves on, after 3 months, the candles are a sign to also remember the hostages.
For the holiday season, the Old City was sadly too quiet, with early evening looking like the middle of the night.
Even at the Hurva Synagogue, I could get a photo with no one in the image.
Also sad, is the Arab shuk, where the Arab vendors have missed another big holiday season.
A lone Jerusalem cat at First Station is also suffering from a lack of tourists.
However, to leave you on a brighter note, the new Jerusalem swimming pool and fitness center is open.
The pool is not Olympic-sized, but large and open all year round, the only comparison to the old one is its location. There is a baby pool outside ready for the summer. The fitness center upstairs is impressive.
The “Israel loves Biden” sign has been replaced with “You are great Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.”
Dana & Yakir got married last week. Love the flowers and bows decorating the wedding party cars.
So along with the sadness, life moves along. One day at a time. We wish Dana and Yakir a big mazel tov.
And hope to see you all soon on the Jerusalem streets. That’s it for 2023.