Shabbat Shalom

Some say Tu B’Av is like a Jewish Valentines Day.

There was so much happening Thursday night in Jerusalem, Israel.

The streets were full of people and cars. Plenty to share, but short on time.

However, the walls of the Old City were colorful for Tu B’Av.

Jerusalem walls colorfully lit for TU B'Av

 

I thought perfect to wish all a Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE

The Secret of Israel’s Success

The Secret of Israel’s Success

Another Passover has passed over.

Burnt chometz in Yerushalayim

In one week we went from burnt bread on the streets,

Matzah crumbs on Jerusalem street end of Passover in Israel

to pieces of crushed matzah.

Passover in Jerusalem Park

Tens of thousands celebrated with outings to Jerusalem parks. Hopefully, each year more and more visitors will clean up after themselves.

Botanical Gardens Jerusalem on Pesach

The best of Passover included the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Parking a car was a problem, as it was such a popular site.

Kosher for Pesach pizza in First Station in Jerusalem Israel

Fresh pizza made out of potato flour, instead of wheat, was available in First Station and at many other locations over Passover. Now it is back to regular flour.

Moment Cafe, Cafe de Paris location

Over the holiday week, the furniture, dishes, and equipment were removed. Now even the sign is gone from what was recently Cafe de Paris. This was the site of the Moment Cafe and a tragic suicide bombing in 2002. It also was one of our favorite kosher pizza places as tourists years ago. Now we hear that this corner location across from the Prime Minister’s Residence, where US secret service agents would hang out on breaks from duty guarding presidents, is to become an apartment building.

Free Avera Mengistu shirts and signs in Jerusalem Israel

Have you heard the name Avera Mengistu? Do you know where Avera is?

Next to the Prime Minister’s Residence, where the Shalit family set up their encampment, is a new protest tent.

Protest tent for release of Avera Mengistu from Gaza held by Hamas

Avera has been held captive in Gaza for over 3 years, over 1308 days. His family and friends are trying to raise awareness and get Avera, who suffers from mental disorder and was a civilian who somehow wandered over the border, home safely.

In the rain yesterday, there were people still under that shelter and there were protest marches in a number of cities. Today for first time I heard his brother interviewed on the radio.

Congrats well done, almost at finish line in Jerusalem Israel leftover from marathon

“WELL DONE, you’re almost at the finish line” was a sign I saw on my way to Gan Sacher on Passover. It was for the full marathon runners as they came near the end of their run. Now that the Passover things are put away and the cleanup is almost over, it feels like I reached the finish line.

However, there is no down time in Jerusalem, Israel,

#Israel70 flags hung on building of Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, Israel

and the large Israeli flags are up on the Jewish Agency Building.

#Israel70 new flags for Beit Hanasi, President's House Jerusalem, Israel

New flags are flying near Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

The upcoming Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, Israel at 70 celebrations are meant to be bigger than ever.

Har Herzl Yom Ha'atzmaut rehearsal female soldiers

Rehearsals for the opening ceremony at Har Herzl have begun.

Har Herzl Ceremony rehearsal soldiers in uniform with flags

Soldiers with flags practice to march for perfection for the live television broadcast.

Opening ceremony of Israel 70 year Independence Day on Har Herzl in Jerusalem , Israel

The huge staging area is under construction.

Israeli soldiers practice for Yom Ha'atzmaut Israel 70 celebration

These are the young men and women proudly serving in the security services to defend the State of Israel.

Israeli soldiers in uniform pose for photo

The secret of Israel’s success?

According to expert strategist Yaakov Amidror, Israelis have a “bad habit” by living life and not stopping with every tension, until the first ammunition is used on other side. The secret is to continue to act as if nothing is happening around us, to live and work and enjoy regular life, to plan and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. 

But when force is needed, as in past wars, to count on the IDF to be prepared and defend us, and to make wars as short as we can.

Light rail train and people out in Jerusalem on Jaffa Street near Zion Square

Israel at 70, going forward and strong.