Jerusalem to Eilat

Today the sun is shining in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem spring flowers

The daffodils in the Botanical Gardens are in bloom.

But last week was very cold,

and for the first time we drove south to Eilat.

Once we left the Judean Hills,

road to Eilat

 there are long stretches of road in the desert,

sign to beware of camels

lined with camel warning signs.

camels at rest stop

Not sure if these camels were real,

ostrich in Negev

but this ostrich was running along a fence.

Bedouin along road

Bedouin encampments,

Bedouin along highway

have popped up everywhere.

I always thought Eilat is far.

Well, nothing in Israel is that far!

We did stop once on the way down,

the distance is similar to that of NY to Baltimore.

IDF soldier gets drink

In the rest stop this was a favorite sign.

Another interesting sign on the road was

road to Eilat

this one is to warn of a road closed due to flooding.

I now understand why people run to see areas like this

flooding sign

when they are covered by streams of rushing water.

It is hard to imagine deep water here,

but these markers are in many locations on the road.

Then there is the huge Ramon Crater,

Timma desert Raomn crater

an impressive sight stretching for as are as you can see.

But from that crater outlook

you must go down,

Road to Eliat

twisting around and down,

danger sign

on curves and sharper curves.

Once in Eilat the views

of the water from beachfront hotels

Jordan view from hotel in Eilat

are picture postcard perfect.

Remember,

Jordan view from Eilat hotel

Jordan is this close,

and Egypt is just on the other side.

We went to see the Israman (Israeli Ironman) race.

Sunrise water start of Israman

At dawn nearly 2000 men and women

swam in the cold water.

Then after a quick change, they jumped on their bikes,

and pedalled up the Eilat Mountains.

Bike start Israman in Eilat hills

They left their bikes here for UPS trucks to take back to city,

and then they set off running a full or half marathon course,

back to Eilat near the starting point.

Bart Candel of the Netherlands came in first again this year.

But I think every one who finished the race

was a winner.

Israman

Imagine doing this course with one leg?

There were lots of other inspirational stories,

maybe I will share them another time.

On the way back to Jerusalem

new Ramon Airport near Eilat

we passed the site of the new Ramon Airport

desert

and fields of solar panels.

The Dead Sea may be shrinking,

but it still seems big as you drive along.

warning sink holes

These beware of sink hole signs warn of serious

Sink holes near Dead Sea

sink holes along the Dead Sea.

Back to Jerusalem,

Jerusalem bus with Shema Yisrael on side

where else would one find these new bus signs?

“Listen, Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One.”

Shabbat Shalom

The weather has turned,

cold, damp and very windy, grey sky and air full of sand.

So I decided to share a much prettier picture.

from earlier in the week,

view for Nachlaot over bird watching next to Knesset

the roof of the bird sanctuary next to the Knesset,

green from the winter rain and sky clear blue.

shabbos poster

שבת שלום

Jerusalem the Week Before Hannukah

Another week of contrasts-

ups and downs, warm sun and cold rain.

The highs and lows on the Jerusalem, Israel streets

as Hanukkah quickly approaches.

John Kerry may have gone home after his short visit,

but the cat who crashed his

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red-carpet arrival ceremony was still around watching over Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s official residence.

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One sunny day, youngsters with Israeli flags were singing and dancing down Ben Yehudah Street, toward Jaffa Road and the Old City.

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Around the corner, it was quiet, with some new graffiti on the wall.

Turn the next corner and you see that renovations to the Froumine House,

which was the home of the Israeli Knesset from 1949-1966, have begun.

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It had been the home of the rabbinical courts,

but was vacated some time ago.

Now it is to become a museum on the history of the Knesset.

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Down the street the new Beit Avi Chai building displays colorful posters for activities and upcoming Hanukkah events,

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while across the road, one of the most valuable real estate properties in the world is home to those who sleep in this stone shell.

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It has this sorry looking neighbor,

right across from the Jewish Agency Building

where the masses gathered and danced on November 29, 1947.

The date when the UN Partition Plan for in Palestine was adopted,

one of the most joyous days in Israel’s history.

Sadly, the Arabs did not accept the UN resolution

and started attacking the next day.

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In Jerusalem, there is a street named for the day.

Hard to believe, but this photo has received 73,313 views and 308 shares since going up on Facebook on the morning of November 29.

On the afternoon of the 29th,

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a special ceremony was held to honor Israeli soldiers

who had been severely injured in various military actions and wars.

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Alive, but injured while safeguarding their country.

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The program was a bitter sweet experience,

it was great to see these men in wheelchairs being honored,

but it’s a shame that there have been so many wars.

Meanwhile,

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outside this biker was on one wheel racing down King George Street.

The week before Hanukkah is always a busy one.

This year people are weary and wary because of the “situation.”

However,

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 there is an international dance festival going on,

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 a jazz festival at the Israel Museum,

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and the annual December special weekend event called Hamshushalayim.

There are tourists groups around,

and some had to change their plans because of the weather.

The 17th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival will be taking place from December 7-12, 2015.

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Cinema City not only has films for Hanukkah, but a special candle lighting and a ‘giant happening’ on the fifth night.

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Chabad has their lights ready to go on most of the busy street corners.

The decorative menorahs are on the lampposts,

ready to go for the first candle on Sunday,

while the city has posted signs below,

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Happy Holiday of Lights,

Hanukkah sameach

from the real Jerusalem streets.

 

From Darkness to Light, Shabbat Shalom

A week of extremes; from evel to simcha, mourning to joy:

grave of Yaakov Dan in Gush Etzion cemetery

From the cemetery in Gush Etzion and the fresh grave of Yaakov Don z”l, murdered by terrorists,

Sara Litman Biegel wedding

to the wedding of Sarah Tehiya Litman and Ariel Biegel.

Sarah, a beautiful bride, running to dance with thousands and thousands of girls, lights up the huge hall filled with people and hearts around the world.

Tragedy to triumph, darkness to light, Am Yisrael Chai.

Shabbat Shalom to all.

 

Another Week in Jerusalem

Israel is under attack: during the past 56 days

21 innocents were murdered,

200 were wounded, 20 seriously,

and there were 74 stabbings,

10 shootings, and 12 car rammings.

It is hard to keep track–should one listen to the news or not?

Oh no, another terror attack.

This past week Ezra Schwartz z”l was one of those statistics.

The 18-year old was in Israel on an educational year program,

and was sitting in a van when an Arab terrorist shot and killed him.

His funeral was live-streamed from Sharon, MA.

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People filled the gym in a Jerusalem school to watch it,

finding comfort in community and unity.

John F. Kerry was back in town.

John Kerry at Beit Hanasi

 At his meeting with President Reuven Rivlin,

he signed the official guest book.

Kerry’s motorcade stopped traffic,

but the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipra

is paying a more low profile visit.

Meanwhile, on the Jerusalem streets,

Isrotel hotel construction

building and construction goes on.

I decided it was time to see what was happening outside,

as watching Facebook and Twitter feeds was too depressing.

A trip to the Old City,

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found this gate very quiet,

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and the egalitarian section at the Kotel, Western Wall was empty.

But,

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there was a line of tourists waiting to go up to the Temple Mount,

during the one hour in the afternoon allowed for non-Muslims.

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The scene at the Western Wall Plaza was quiet.

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This man was writing a note to place in between the stones,

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those notes get inserted, but often drop to the ground.

Maybe it was the warm sun and the walking,

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but seeing tourists at eating in cafes

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and taking photos,

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and little children on their way home from school,

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and the young woman with harp in her regular spot,

was so much better than obsessing on the news reports.

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A group of 180 men were touring on a special trip,

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boys speaking Arabic were in Mamilla Mall,

Arqab woman Jerusalem

and an Arab woman was shopping alone.

No one knows what will happen next,

what will be new weapon of terror,

box cutters, knives, or scissors,

or where an attack will occur.

But,

Susan B OU Nov 116Kisufim,

Jerusalem Conference of Jewish Writers and Poets,

in Mishkenot Sha’ananim under the Montefiore Windmill.

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opened last night  and the auditorium was full.

This week I had too many photos to share in one post,

because in spite of the bad news,

so many good things are happening on Jerusalem streets.

Hanukkah is coming, and so are the suffganiot. 

There are so many choices, it hard to decide which one to try.

We remember, we mourn, then we celebrate life.

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