After a dark and difficult week,
a little color,
in honor of July 4th holiday in US,
red, white & blue Jerusalem, Israel style.
Almost three weeks ago looking out from Alon Shvut,
we knew Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were there,
but we were not sure if they were still alive.
This week the sad news was broken that their bodies were found,
Rav Adin Steinsaltz’s statement is worth sharing:
“A dark cloud has befallen our nation today. Our hearts are broken, yet united with the hearts of the boys’ families, as we mourn and we cry with them. We cannot erase the evil. But we can create good. We can transform the world through goodness by living as Jews and acting as Jews, with our Torah and mitzvot.”
The crowd to get on shuttle buses from Modi’in to the funeral,
was so large I had held up my camera to try to get a photo.
Not all those trying to get to the cemetery were young,
but only the quickest and pushiest could get on a bus.
I kept thinking this would certainly would never do in England.
Buses lined the way to the cemetery, while
thousands of people walked and filled the road.
Short cut? I am not sure,
but more buses and more people were as far as one could see.
It was hot, people were so crowded,
but I heard no reports of violence.
Most reports were of sharing water and food
or lending a hand or literally a shoulder to rest on.
A big thanks goes to the hatzalah driver who gave me water.
This was as close as I could get, and again had to hold my camera high.
I never planned to be out for eight hours until 11:00 pm,
but I am certain many got home much later.
What a week,
smoking forest fires, rioting in Shuafat, and talk of revenge.
Awful news filled much of the headlines,
but as always there is more happening in Jerusalem, Israel.
I finally got to the beach,
the Jerusalem beach that opened in First Station.
Unlike the last attempt bringing a beach to Jerusalem,
there is not only lots of sand, but also water,
and on a quiet night even a place to play soccer.
Also for many this week,
soccer was not just for little kids,
it is Mondial.
The AACI celebration for Canada Day and July 4th this afternoon
has expanded to include all olim at a Salute to OLIM Fair.
It is hot and it is a difficult time now, however,
we have friends who are on their way across the US to make aliyah.
They sold their beautiful home in California,
to follow their dream.
Too bad they will not make it in time for the concert today,
but they can join us next year in Jerusalem.
Two weeks of searching have passed.
Last night in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel,
yellow ribbons were hanging at an event to show support
to families of kidnapped Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.
As the slow songs started
the names of the suspected Hamas terrorists were released.
I thought this was a good week to use yellow roses,
to wish all a Shabbat Shalom.
June in Jerusalem, Israel,
More than 20 International Mayors were just here,
and now the Jewish Agency Board of Governors are back.
The Jewish Media Summit 2014
opened Sunday night with both Israeli President Shimon Peres
and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in attendance.
The line to get past security moved slower than a snail.
But even without these exclusive events,
the school end-of-year extravaganzas, graduations and conferences galore
could triple book any Google calendar.
If you missed the Light Festival some of the best is here,
while the Israel Festival has too many programs to mention.
Shavuah HaSefer, the annual Hebrew Book Week
was back in its old location near the new First Station.
As every year, book lovers came out in droves every night from June 11 – 21
to browse and buy at bargain prices.
The Tower of David Museum has a new year-long exhibit.
Where else could you find
a fire-pan used by the Priests in the Second Jewish Temple,
an ad for “FIAT the car for Palestine,”
and this scene at sunset.
Over at the Israel Museum,
US twins Doug and Mike Starn and over two dozen mountain climbers
from the US and Israel crafted this big, really big Big Bambu.
Israel Museum visitors are going to love it this summer,
especially when it is free for children in August.
There is lots of sand this year at the Bloomfield Science Museum
and at the new “Jerusalem Beach” at First Station,
but that will be for another time.
“all are with the three terrorist kidnapped teens,
Nafatli, Gil-ad, and Eyal,”
“Shuvu Ahim, return our brothers”
is on our signs and on our minds.
Last week we were in Gush Eztion
as news of two boys kidnapping was developing.
Now we know three are still missing.
We hope for good news this week.
Jerusalem, City of Light.
One of the most popular cultural events hosted in the Old City
is the Jerusalem Light Festival.
I like to arrive early and wander the alleyways
as the sun set and the colorful lights came on.
This was an unique light piece in the Christian Quarter,
but there were several of these posters.
Many more Arab shops were open this year,
these drinks were ready for the large crowds.
The blue lights
led us past the barbershop which was open, but not busy.
There were 29 stops along four routes.
One of the most interesting was in front of the Hurva Synagogue.
Using buildings as screens,
works was big this year.
Easy to know who did “Circus of Light.”
Colored lights on the walls were in several locations.
This interactive piece changed as people touched it.
Nearby outside the walls, these globes changed in color and form.
This work near Jaffa Gate was an imposing structure,
and looked different from the other side.
Along the street to the Damascus Gate were actors,
in costume, in colorful settings,
but when you got close it looked so different.
Inside Jaffa Gate another light show shined on the Christian Information Center.
But my favorite was Damascus Gate,
where the 6 minute
light show required a video.
Photos of this huge, colorful complex piece
will probably be favorites from this 5th annual event.
But I also like this simple photo from the night.
The festival runs from June 11-19.
A lot of walking is involved.
It is hard to see everything in one night.
Some friends said they were disappointed,
but I think it was much better than last year.
During the days before the “Oslo Peace,”
we drove through Bethlehem
to get to Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, Israel.
Alon Shvut, Kfar Etzion, Efrat, Eleazar and Neve Daniel
many, many times over the years.
The way, lined with rocks and brush, was not cultivated,
and was mostly barren hills when we first drove there.
Jews had settled in Gush Etzion before 1948,
but the Jordanian Legions wanted to conquer Jerusalem,
and the Jews were in their way.
The brave defenders of Gush Etzion put up a strong resistance,
but were badly out numbered.
This is the bunker in Kfar Etzion, into which a live grenade was thrown to kill
some of the last of the sick and women.
Today in Kfar Etzion you can see this stone in memory of the ל”ה,
the 35 men killed and their bodies mutilated
while trying to save the communities of the Gush.
Now the area is built up, but from 1948 until 1967,
the only surviving remnant in the area was
this one lone ancient oak tree.
This past Friday we participated in Gush Etzion Scavenger Hunt.
From this water tower,
we had a great view of the Har Etzion Yeshiva
and the community of Alon Shvut.
During the morning, we heard reports that two high school boys
who attended a yeshiva in Kfar Etzion had gone missing the night before.
(Turned out later that there were three teenagers.)
Those boys were somewhere
On Kfar Etzion we saw one of the first buildings built in the 1940s,
after 1967 it was rebuilt for four families.
This man was one of the children born in Gush Etzion.
The children were evacuated and survived the massacres of 1948,
but that is another fascinating story.
He returned after 1967, made his home in Kfar Etzion
and now tells his life story to visitors.
Now with new, faster roads, Gush Etzion, is only minutes away from Jerusalem,
and with the kidnapping of three young yeshiva students,
it is now in the hearts and minds of all Israelis.
That is The Real Jerusalem Streets today.