New Color in Jerusalem

Passover preparations and Israeli children

  being out of school on vacation all week,

plus the arrival of holiday visitors,

are keeping people very busy.

The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset

were sworn in yesterday,

and then they all went on a month long recess.

There were two special ribbon cutting events

that I want to make sure you know about.

Sunday was the special launch of an

 environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”

The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has

image Knesset inside

 large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,

and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.

But now the “Green Knesset” has added

image bins to recycle bottles

special bins for recycling,

and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,

 saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.

Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.

No more large mountains of paper for the budget,

as each member will get a disk on key instead.

Those responsible for the first stage of the

 sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.

image Yuli Edelstiein and other dignitaries at Kneset

 Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,

was the featured speaker

Israel Knesset building

and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof

roof of Israel Knesset solar panel field

in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.

The next day a very different green project was opened,

the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.

opening Gazelle Valley nature park

The area where gazelles had roamed free,

did not go to real estate developers,

Jerusalem, Israel new park large water area

but back to nature and the people.

On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,

walking trail in Deer Valley Park

 walking nature trails,

Jerusalem Israel park

and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.

sign in Valley of Gazelle water system

The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.

Green spot in Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,

dotted with colored wild flowers.

gazelle puppet on opening day of Gazelle Park

This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,

but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat smiling with children taking photos

Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,

Nechama Rivlin cuts ribbon at Gazelle Park

and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.

large nature park in Jerusalem, Israel

This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,

as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,

and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.

Gazelle Valley 302b

Happy Spring Holiday.

פסח שמח

Happy Passover!

Israeli Opera in Jerusalem Shuk

When Shakespeare wrote

that ‘the whole world is a stage,’

Israel opera singer at cheese shop in shuk

somehow I do not think a cheese shop

opera singer

or fruit and vegetable stand was what he had in mind.

However, the Israeli Opera had

Israel opera singers

performers in Machane Yehuda Market,

the shuk on Monday singing arias.

picture nut selling stall in shuk

The man selling nuts was smiling,

vegetables in market

as was the green grocer across the way.

So was I after they found my cell phone.

Trying to get a good shot with so many photographers

pushing in the crowded and narrow alleyways,

I almost lost my phone there.

Israel opera singer

There was more than one place used as a stage,

performance Israel opera in shuk

 some shoppers were determined to keep going,

man in shuk who sang for the Israeli opera singers

while others in the market became part of the show.

Israel opera couple perform in shuk

“L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetnao Donizetti

is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool the end of June,

and some Jerusalem shoppers got a preview.

As cameras rolled,

image Israel opera singer uses girl in crowd in act

one girl in the crowd was serenaded to by this opera singer,

but after an hour the surprise show was over,

fresh garlic piled high in the shuk

and it was back to time for holiday preparations.

people shopping for fresh garlic

Mountains of fresh garlic have arrived in the shuk

shuk vegetable display

and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable are ready,

fresh fish stall in market

and one fresh fish store was really popular.

I loved this sign,

ready for Passover in machane yehuda

this store is ready for Passover and

NO ONE is to bring in anything that is not for Passover.

Now if only my house was nearly as ready.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Chodesh Nissan,

Passover in two weeks,

Yemin Moshe neighborhood

beautiful time to be out on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets,

as here on the steps of Yemin Moshe.

שבת שלום

חודש טוב

After Elections and Jerusalem Marathon

The 2015 Israeli election is over.

President Reuven Rivlin has sent letters to the various

political parties inviting their leaders to come to Beit Hanassi, 

starting on Sunday, March 22, 2015

to indicate their preferences for forming a new government.

ballots with Hebrew letters

 Over 4,250,000 of these little slips of paper,

each with Hebrew letters representing a political party,

were put into little blue envelopes

which were then inserted into a slot in

 cardboard boxes,

and were counted by hand.

What a low-tech method for a Start-up Nation!

Some emerging facts are surprising.

Who would think that an Arab village would have

the highest percentage of voters for Bibi?

77% of voters in Al Naim voted Likud.

We knew that the head of elections was an Arab Supreme Court Judge,

and now the Joint Arab list has even more than the

10% representation than they had in the last Knesset–

so much for apartheid.

The last RJS post with 30 photos broke all the rules

of blogging, it was very long,

but the marathon was such a big and colorful event.

Photographers waited at the marathon starting and finish lines

and all along the routes, so that millions of photos were taken.

Arab girls in Jerusalem Marathon

 This photo was by far my most popular in the social media.

Some people may be tired of seeing pictures of runners,

 but there is one photo I want to make sure gets seen.

ALEH in Jerusalem marathon

Team ALEH  posed for photos on the track

at the start of the Community Race.

For this special 800 meter event,

5000 people participated representing many organizations.

start of Jerusalem marathon

Police officers were lined up ready to “run” with

children, all with severe disabilities, from ALEH,

Upsee ready to go at Jerusalem marathon

One police officer was holding a child’s hands,

ready to be the first off the starting line.

Jerusalem marathon special races

Then he stepped off on his way,

using a special harness called “Upsee.”

This child was able to “run” in the Jerusalem Marathon.

We may still be using paper ballots,

but one Israeli mother invented this device,

got it manufactured,

and changed a child’s life-one step at a time.

She has more clever devices on the way,

and I cannot wait to see what Debby comes up with next.

Start Up Nation at its best.

Now that that the marathon is over, it is time to prepare for Passover,

but there is more than just cleaning to look forward to next week.

hebrew sign

There is the Jerusalem Arts Festival

sign for Valley of gazelle

and the long-awaited new nature reserve,

The Valley of the Gazelles, is slated to open.

As always, there is so much happening in Jerusalem,

however, the more things change,

the more some seem the same.

Jerusalem Marathon 30 Photos

Again this year, some love it and some hate it.

The Fifth International Jerusalem Winner Marathon

was run on Friday morning.

While I love some aspects of this event,

at the same time some parts are hard to like.

@RealJStreets #JLMMarathon 010

With over 26,000 runners from 60 countries,

in many various races, many streets were closed to traffic.

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This year I tried to take fewer photos,

and ended up with over 300.

Then I hated trying to get down to just a few to share.

You see how long it took to publish this post.

Now I hope you will enjoy a few favorites.

My favorite selfie was of these two men

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whose finish time was not as important as their photo.

There were many good causes that raised money,

but Shalva was the first.

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Shalva took part in the half-marathons before there was a full marathon.

Walking with children of ALEH were uniformed police.

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ALEH was first at the starting line for a special “race.”

Please take a minute to look and appreciate

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 the police officer and child on the left.

Amazing.

I am so proud to know the woman whose

  design made it possible for that child to “walk in a marathon”

 more ALEH photos here.

I hate that there were too many great causes

and charities, and I had to cut out many pictures.

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Chai Lifeline had a large group with bunches of balloons,

lots of walkers and great spirit.

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One Family’s red shirts could also be seen everywhere.

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Karen Or was walking again this year.

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These girls got my attention,

they seemed to be having a great time,

 I am not sure which group they were with,

but photos of them are going viral.

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The crowd in the park was so large

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and colorful, but it was hard to get a good photograph.

So many people.

So many came from around the world.

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The media was interested in the half-marathon winner.

 But my favorites visiting runners were

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this man and his wife from Philadelphia, PA.

They came with 6 family members,

just to run in Jerusalem marathon races,

to raise funds for lone soldiers,

and to celebrate his 80th birthday this week.

@RealJStreets #JLMMarathon 193

Thousands of runners passed the finish line,

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and entered the Gan Sacher lined with water bottles.

In the park there were teams of supporters;

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AACI,

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 the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

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and Yachad were just a few of dozens.

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While the marathon winners were popular with the news crews,

there was more going on.

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The annual hand bike race, for example,

and exercises and music and of course – food.

Two finish lines were confusing to new comers.

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The finish line for only the full marathon was at one end of the park,

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 lined with supporters,

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here as the third and four place Israeli winners came in.

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The men’s full marathon winners had their moment of glory

and got trophies from Mayor Nir Barkat.

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The 10K and 5K runners were coming

up the hill to the finish line,

with the Knesset in view in the background

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in crowds of thousands.

I did not find all of my family members,

and I did not see friends from near and far who ran

for the first time,

@RealJStreets #JLMMarathon 334

yet this one man I had seen at the start,

there he was again as he came into the home stretch.

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“If you can dream it, you can do it”

seemed like a perfect motto to start this day

@RealJStreets #JLMMarathon 314

and this smile a good one to end with.

Photos had to be cut to keep this from becoming another marathon.

If you want to see more of Jerusalem Marathon 2015,

additional pictures are posted on RJS Facebook page.

Jerusalem Marathon Ready Set

It poured overnight, but the skies are slowly clearing,

and those who prepared early are very happy,

Tomorrow is the big day,

this has to be drier that the first rain soaked Jerusalem marathon.

The Jerusalem Marathon is hard to miss,

and just like last year’s run,

Jerusalem marathon finish line

a finish line has been up and ready

across a major street for a couple of weeks.

ad for Jerusalem marathon

These huge signs are displayed in multiple locations.

Not only will the races close

many Jerusalem, Israel streets all Friday morning,

Sports Marathon at ICC

but there is also a Sports Expo

in the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

Sports Marathon sign up for runners

Runners have three days to come and get their kits,

with their official shirts and numbers.

Sports Marathon 016b

Entering  the Convention Center lobby

Sports Marathon at ICC

it is all about marathons.

Sports Marathon expo

But inside the large halls,

Sports Marathon 011b

it is all about sportswear marketing.

Sports Marathon Aleh booth

Aleh is one of the many organizations with teams of runners

who will raise thousands of dollars for charity.

Sports Marathon pick up shirts and numbers  at ICC

The full marathon attracts runners from around the world.

Sports Marathon ready in Gan Sacher

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is the main venue.

Sports Marathon start times

The times for the different runs are posted here.

Sports Marathon shul in park

With those early morning start times

it is good that the synagogue is easy to find.

Sports Marathon ceremonies

The serious marathon runners will race up and down

the hilly Jerusalem streets in amazing times,

with the first awards ceremony set  to start before 9:00 am.

Sports Marathon Jerusalem finish line

The finish line for the full marathon is in the park,

each year it gets a little better organized,

  the large park is filled with runners and supporters.

Street fair on Emek Refaim during Jerusalem marathon

With major roads closed to traffic,

many residents do not like this sports event

that shuts down the city.

But maybe the music and street theater

on Emek Refaim Street this year

will keep some of those not running and cheering

in a better mood.

What a difference a few years makes:

who even remembers those half marathon runs?

Jerusalem: Sounds & Photos in the Old City

The annual Sounds in the Old City,

music festival is going on this week.

old city Jerusalem

Signs are posted leading the way

tower of david

from outside the Jaffa Gate,

music

and inside, with stages set up

music

for musicians to perform.

music

Down in the moat of the Tower of David,

there were music, tables and chairs and food.

lights on wall for art

These lights were on the way to the Jewish Quarter,

music

where again this year the Cardo provided a dramatic venue.

music

Various singers

children music

inspired some little dancers,

Hurva Shul at night

in the Rova, the square of the Jewish Quarter,

by the Hurva Synagogue.

I almost went out the wrong way.

Thousands came to the Old City,

and the route I wanted was closed off.

lights on wall of festival

Good thing, or I would have missed the “fiddler on the roof,”

near Muristan Square.

big sign at Jaffa Gate for marathon

Not all the music was great, though it was all loud.

The festival will run until the end of the week.

Then Friday am bright and early,

 it will be the time for the running of the Jerusalem Marathon.