Oh Jerusalem, Lag B’Omer to Yom Yerushalyim

Oh Jerusalem, Lag B’Omer to Yom Yerushalyim

In Jerusalem, Israel, some bonfires started after Shabbat,

while others began Sunday night and Monday.

Lag B’Omer seemed less intense this year.

Some hide inside from the smoke and close their windows,

and I was one of the insiders.

On Monday morning many children had no school,

which was great timing for a free Museum Day.

Though Monday was warm and windy,

Lag B'Omer school out

 this father went biking with his children.

I saw fewer fires at night burning near us,

Along road after Lag B'Omer

but these ashes looked like a party the night before.

No reports of serious damage is always good,

and the sirens this week were not all bad.

PM of Ukraine in Jerusalem Israel motorcade

The Prime Minister of Ukraine went by in this noisy motorcade.

Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

was busy as usual with foreign and local guests.

On Monday, history was made,

5 new Qadis sworn in by Israel i Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at Beit Hanasi

when the first female Qadi, Sharia Judge,

was sworn in by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Then on Tuesday, new ambassadors to Israel

Beit Hanasi Ambassador from Thailand

presented their credentials, the first one of the day was Thailand.

The Israel Police Band played anthems, however,

New Spanish Ambassador to Israel sworn in

even the new Spanish Ambassador received only minimal attention.

Daniel Friedman at Beit Hanasi

Most cameras were focused on new US Ambassador David Friedman

Official ceremony for Daniel Friedman new US Ambassador to Israel

as he presented his credentials to President Rivlin.

Daniel Friedman stands at entrance to Beit Hanasi for Hatikvah

As Hatikvah played, Friedman started to sing,

but after a few words, his lips stopped moving.

Street closing signs

These red warning signs are up lining the street,

in Hebrew, and English ones too.

US President Donald Trump is to come next week.

Then we will see roads closed and traffic stopped.

Jerusalem flag down side of building

This week Jerusalem is preparing to celebrate 50 years united,

with special Jerusalem flags,

Yom Yerushalayim

in multiple ways and locations,

with music going late into the night.

Knesset in view of sign for Jubilee year Jerusalem

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,

Jerusalem Israel 50 years and Israel flag

is on May 24, 2017, the 28 of Iyar.

Walls of Old City lit for yom Yerushalayim

The main event is set for May 21, 2017, at 8:30 pm,

here by the walls of the Old City,

but we are to have a US Presidential visit.

International food festival Jerusalem Israel

So many festivals, visitors and events,

it is hard to keep track,

stay tuned for what happens next on the Jerusalem streets.

This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

Passover is one of the three festivals

on which there were traditional pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

This year on all the days of Passover

Old City on Easter and Passover

thousands of people walked to the Old City

Buses to Kotel on chol hamoed

or arrived by bus after bus, on the intermediate days of the holiday,

Western wall passover

 dressed in their holiday finest at the Kotel, Western Wall, plaza.

Kossel of Pesach

Prayers started early and

Davenng at Kossel for Pesach tefilla with tora chol hamoed

went well into the day, with participants all ages

Kotel on Pesach, women's section

on both sides of the mechitza partition,

Robinson's Arch Kotel Plaza Pesach

and in the new area where all pray together.

Holiday scenes from the Old City
view of Har Hazetim from Old City

included buses lining the road on the Mount of Olives,

Street scene Jerusalem, Israel Old City

as well as people coming and going as usual.

New to these ancient streets is

Train for tourists in Old City

the colorful tourist train which starts from Jaffa Gate

crowded street in Old City for Pesach

and shares the road with buses, cars, segways,

and pedestrians going in both directions.

This year since Passover and Easter coincided,

I was hoping to find more Easter scenes,

Copts in Jerusalem for Easter

but I came much too late for sunrise services.

I did spot a few men leaving the Old City,

perhaps they were Copts from Egypt.

Jaffa Gate on Pesach with man selling bread

 Easter buns and beigele were being sold by the Jaffa Gate

for anyone craving fresh baked goods on Passover.

However, there were more things to do in Jerusalem

View from gesher at Begin Center

than just going to the Old City.

Gan Paamon skate park

In the roller-blade/skate park in Gan HaPa’amon,

the Liberty Bell Park, Arab parents watched their children skate

along with Jews, both religious and secular.

Nearby, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center

Menachem Begin photo

had activities and free tours all day long.

I did not know that tours

had to be booked in advance.

But since we arrived at the end of the day,

we were able to wait a bit and join a tour.

I usually mention the tour on photo walks in the area.

Now that I finally took the tour myself

I will continue to recommend it

for its important historical information

presented in a modern, moving exhibit.

From old to new,

the evolution of the haggadah

was the theme of this  Kol HaOt event at Inbal Hotel.

Signs of the seder evolution of haggadah

Israeli artists displayed their works,

while speakers elaborated on seder symbols,

design, and the history of haggadot.

The page on the right which reads “Next year in Jerusalem”

illustrated with modern building cranes and trucks.

For me, an illustration of the transition from ancient to modern.

There is so much building in Jerusalem,

things are constantly changing.

Jerusalem Botanical gardens

A place where one can really appreciate the development

is the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,

which also had free admission on Passover thanks to Bank Hapoalim.

The new entrance way

Jerusalem gardens view of pond

leads to the pond

people reflected in pond

where people gathered to enjoy nature.

eat matzah sandwiches and ice cream treats.

Pray Shin-Min

Shin-Min, “pray and and flowers will come out” in Japanese

is carved on this stone, but more than prayers went into

Botanical gardens

turning this old derelict space into

a beautiful, expansive nature area, with comfortable paths.

Tour in Botanical gardens on Pesach

Organized tours were available,

but the gardens are divided into well-marked growth areas,

such as Australia and South Africa,

and all the vegetation is identified.

Group on grass in Botanical Gardens

Groups or individuals could easily

meet, eat, and explore

bath in garden in Jerusalem Israel

this man-made oasis in the middle of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

There was much more to see in the Botanical Gardens,

Flowers, Botanical gardens Jerusalem

but the festive holiday meals involve lots of preparation.

Over the holiday, the overcast skies finally cleared.

Rain was predicted,

but only enough fell to get the dirt out of the air

and cover everything.

Passover greeting on bus

but not enough to ruin holiday outings

or the Passover greeting on the buses.