There are times that you just have to leave Jerusalem
in order to see something special.
A performance of Tosca at Masada
is really something to see.
Operas are usually about
the stars and their voices,
and the actors on stage.
Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca,
produced by the Israel Opera Company,
is being performed at Masada in the desert.
The seating is constructed in the desert sand,
and stands stories high.
The support pipes inside are amazing.
It is hard to show just how big the stage is.
Stage left, there are stairs.
Do you see them now?
They are under that giant statue.
The stars have a hard time hearing the music
since the stage is so large,
and use special microphones.
From the top of the seating area
there is a view of the Dead Sea overlooking the vast food court
and the huge parking areas for buses.
These are not jobs for those with fear of heights.
During the day workers have to be careful of the heat.
Operas are usually filled with drama.
Tosca, set in Rome in the year 1800,
is full of
Floria Tosca, a celebrated singer, did not have an easy life.
But this stage is also filled with young faces,
and beautiful music,
led by talented Israeli conductor Daniel Oren.
At this dress rehearsal, he repeatedly interrupted
and sang as he conducted the precise way
he wanted this masterpiece to be staged.
The Italian lyrics of this tragic opera
are translated into Hebrew and English.
The production is big and beautiful.
But at the end of the day,
it is all makeup and make believe.
This “tortured” actor can smile in his dressing room,
while the audience winds their way back home,
slowly on the road along the Dead Sea.
More than a show, it is an experience.
Oh, it was hot this week!
But as always the dome of the
Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum looked cool.
So glad it has cooled off before Shabbat,
Everyone is talking about the weather,
the hot, hot weather.
It has been beastly,
like this monster perched outside the Bloomfield Science Museum
even before the intense heat arrived.
On Monday, there was a special event for children
who had no school on the day after Shavuot.
These unusual riding machines are outside the museum.
Science and motion can be fascinating,
and while for some it is a learning experience,
it is a living experience.
ALEH is a very special school for children with severe disabilities.
The annual ALEH March was Monday afternoon.
Teachers, students, volunteers and ALEH families
all walked across the Jerusalem String Bridge.
In the middle of the walk the group released green and purple balloons,
made noise and held banners for cars to honk.
Walkers, special wheel chairs and flags,
all marching forward – to make each day count.
And as with most Jerusalem facilities,
ALEH serves both Muslim and Jewish children, religious and secular.
The holidays are over,
but things are not quieting down,
and even in the mid-day sun tourists were out.
New signs have been posted,
for the Israel Festival’s
Festival season has begun.
For other new events
and festivals we will have to wait and see.
But next week is the Jerusalem Light Festival,
and this big ad was up in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.
I sure hope it cools off when we walk around the Old City.
It will be interesting to see what new light pieces
the international festival can come up with this year,
and how many thousands of people will attend.
The date has passed.
Most flags are removed.
Commentators have spun stories with their biases.
The main stream media focused on a small group.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,
celebrations in Jerusalem, Israel,
are always like no where else in the world.
Today Jerusalem has a flag,
and an official pin.
The ancient Tower of David,
is always impressive.
In the morning of Yom Yerushalayim,
Mayor Nir Barkat and his wife Beverly
greeted the public inside the gardens.
While a live orchestra played music
and visitors sat and enjoyed their program.
Hundreds of families took tours of Yemin Moshe.
Thousands of young people gathered in Gan Sacher,
Sacher Park to march with Israeli flags to the Old City,
to the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Tens of thousands of people, singing, dancing, and
celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967.
This year other events were planned,
as this one for families at the new First Station.
There were prayer services,
and official invitation only ceremonies.
A free concert was held at Kikar Safra, Government Square.
Once again the annual “White Night” celebration
blasted until 4 am from Gan Sacher.
I do not appreciate that one!
In schools and kindergartens there were special programs,
with art projects songs, and even bubbles.
The main stream media missed hundreds of thousands
of people who were not news worthy.
For those who find Jerusalem Day objectionable,
no Jews were in the Old City.
Under control of Jordan from 1948 – 1967,
no Jews could enter ANY of the gates.
this was as close to the Kotel, the Western Wall,
American Jewish tourists could get.
Photos were taken from across No Man’s Land,
safe from Jordanian sniper shots.
Yom Yerushalayim should be appreciated every day.
Our friends have posted on a bench by their home,
a short passage from the Prophet Zechariah,
on his vision for the future,
Jerusalem will be full of boys and girls
celebrating in her streets.
And that is what was really happening
on Yom Yerushalayim,
on the real Jerusalem streets.