See Winter in Jerusalem

Winter in Jerusalem, Israel, is so different than those we experienced in the US. Being used to those long Boston winters with piles of snow into June and New York where tree branches remained bare for months on end, the greenery popping up all around is always a pleasure.

When the rain stops, the sun comes out, and things turn green.

Jerusalem flowers Kalaniot Anemones

The first spotting of wild Kalaniot, anemones, is an annual favorite.

Tourists and locals are enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.

Our Crowd 2018

The OurCrowd Global Summit attracted 10,000 people to the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

Construction Jerusalem Israel no stairs

I had always used this stairway to get to the entrance, but the stairs were gone this time. With so much construction in Jerusalem, you never know what you will find, or not find.

Audience at Our Crowd Global Summit in Jerusalem 2018

The auditorium was full for the opening plenary.

Map of Eretz Yisrael from ancient times.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was a featured speaker in the morning. Jerusalem of the ancient past appeared in this slide in his presentation, but the focus was on the future.

Mayor Nir Barkat in front of photo of new Jerusalem - Tel Aviv train station

This is a photo of the future fast train station. He promised it would be ready soon, with a ride of 28 minutes from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

However, beside mega-events like OurCrowd, dozens of smaller events are held nightly.

AMIT-Emunah movie night at Ramat Tahel Monkey Business

On Sunday night, AMIT-Emunah Jerusalem held an annual movie night featuring “Monkey Business,” at Ramat Rachel. The story behind the “Curious George” children’s books, and the Jewish authors journey to survive the Holocaust was fascinating.

Panel Yossi Klein HaLevi with Moshe Boogie Ya'alon at Tmol Shilshom with Anat Mufkadi moderator

Then at Tmol Shilshom, in Nahalat Shiva, Author Yossi Klein HaLevi discussed the Hebrew version of his book on Israel in 1967, “The Dreamers,” with Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon, with Anat Mufkadi moderating.

Shaon Horef, Jerusalem Israel street festival in February on Monday nights

Monday nights in February, in various Jerusalem neighborhoods, streets are the setting for a cultural festival called Shaon Horef, or Winter Noise.

Winter Noise at Nahalat Shiva Jerusalem Israel culture event

Not only does the location vary, but so does the quality of entertainment. February 5, 2018, the event took place in Nahalat Shiva, off of Yoel Salomon Street. There were light projections on buildings, music, and more.

Acting on Jerusalem Israel streets for Winter Noise cultural festival

Improv acts,  one of the free entertainment events, drew a crowd in this small alley.

Jerusalem Israel Winter Noise Festival activity

Some shops were involved. Bands provided music on the streets late into the night .

Music at Winter Noise festival Jerusalem Israel winter night events

Tmol Shilshom was again filled for musical performances.

As we enter the 70th year since the establishment of State of Israel, get ready for more events and mega-events.

Jerusalem, Israel Knesset gathering of Ambassadors

Ambassadors to Israel were hosted for an annual gathering at the Knesset which also celebrated its 70th. The Knesset opened on Tu Bishvat back in 1949.

Knesset Israel Arab men entering for tour Jerusalem Israel

I wondered if the diplomats from around the world noticed this Arab tour group in the Knesset at the same time?

Sign up for kindergarten and first grade in Jerusalem

However, the real streets did not focus on visitors to the Knesset this week. Signs are up to register for ganim, nurseries and school for next year. For many families, the big event last week was report card week.

Runner in Jerusalem Israel in Valley of Cross

The sun was shining and the weather was warm. Runners have been out training for the Jerusalem Marathon on March 9th.

Will all the construction be done in time for the race? This has been the final few meters in the full marathon in the past.

Even in winter, as always, so much is happening on the Jerusalem streets.

 

 

 

Jerusalem: Trees This Tu Bishvat

Jerusalem: Trees This Tu Bishvat

When we were young in the US,  Tu Bishvat meant a bit of bukser,  dried black carob pods, which were nearly impossible to chew.

image Israel tu beshvat, photo for Tu Bshvat , picture trees planted

Celebrating in Jerusalem is so very different and so much more tasty and colorful. 

Reuven and Nechama Rivlin Tu B'Shevat sedar at BEit Hanasi for One Family and agriculture growers

In past years, President Rivlin hosted Tu Bishvat seders, but he is in Greece this year, being hosted by the Greeks in presidential-style receptions.

Israel Knesset building flags, no people

Tu Bishvat  is also the date the Knesset opened in 1949. For the 50th year in present location, Tu Bishvat was celebrated in big way.

Parks and planting were my themes last year. 

View of Teddy Park with wall of old city

Teddy Park was lovely today, the fountain was going as two young men took photos.

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, renovations are slowly being revealed. I hope that in addition to these new cement tables and benches more trees will be planted, many were lost in snowstorms.

My dilemma was: what can be new this year, other than the using a different English spelling for ט”ו בשבט, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat?

Tu Bishvat dried fruit at night outside shop for sale

Outside on the streets, dried fruits and nuts were on display well into the night before the holiday.

Fruit decorated baked goods in shop window before Tu Beshvat

Fresh fruits top these luscious baked goods displayed in one cafe window.

Almond tree blooming in Jerusalem, Israel, in Valley of Cross for Tu Beshvat

With the warm and wet winter, almond trees were in bloom in time for Tu Bishvat this year.

Then this morning a friend wrote of a deadly threat to Jerusalem’s towering palm trees. The red palm beetle, a native of the Far East, has come here from Jordan and attacked our palm trees.

View of Palm trees at Belgium Embassy

I had noticed that the palm trees by the Belgium Consulate were cut back drastically.

Yemin Moshe trees Jerusalem Israel

It was a bright sunny day, so I set off to see for myself. There were dead leaves hanging on these palm trees in Yemin Moshe.

French Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel palm leaves brown

The palm trees in front of the old French Hospital did not look healthy.

US flag on City Hall in Kikar Safra

Last month when I was in Kikar Safra, Safra Square, I took this photo of the large flags on display. I noticed the palm trees at the other end of the plaza were surrounded by blue barriers used for crowd control. Now I regret not taking a photo.

Those towering trees were taken down in the middle of the night, after a diseased one fell.

Kikar Safra all palm trees cut down Jerusalem Israel

Today men are finishing up their work and removing the stumps.

Sawdust from palm tree stumps in Kikar Safra

The last of the stumps of the towering palm trees is being ground into saw dust.

Kikar Safra after diseased palm trees removed

Kikar Safra plaza is filled with wood chips, where the palm trees once towered overhead.

Jerusalem Old City from Jaffa Gate to Kikar Safra protected tree

The walking path from Kikar Safra toward Jaffa Gate has a palm tree protected by a fence, and the sidewalk is built around it. Trees are important enough to build around them.

Even before the State of Israel was founded, trees have been important. The JNF, the Jewish National Fund, raised money to plant trees to make the barren land green.

Tu Bishvat is called the New Year for Trees. This year we will need a lot of new trees to replace those that were lost.

But on this happy holiday, I can not end on such a sad note. It was a beautiful day to be outside. All around Israel, people are planting new trees.

Tu Beshevat almond blossoms Jerusalem Israel

The almond trees are blooming. The sun was shining after days of rain. I met friendly tourists from South Africa who assured me that South Africans really do like Israel.

So Happy Tu Bishvat!

I am going to eat some dates, this year they were plentiful and inexpensive, so we got a big box.