Purim Old, New and Ignored in Jerusalem

Purim Old, New and Ignored in Jerusalem

Purim celebrations went of for days and days,

in Jerusalem, Israel.

bus sign Happy Purim

As usual, the bus signs said, “Purim sameach.”

Purim carnival

Families celebrated with carnivals and rides for the kids.

Purim Jerusalem, Israel

Groups like the scouts had loud parties.

ice skating Israel

For the first year in Cinema City an ice skating rink was open,

image woman with face painted as animal

and this woman had her face painted to purrfection.

image man in skeleton costume

People in costumes,

cinema city Jerusalem

and well, even this whatever it was.

There was a lot happening on the streets,

Purim fun Jerusalem

 with people in a good mood having lot’s of fun.

Celebrations and huge meals,

and yes, many people drank too much.

News film crews were out

and got videos of drunken men on the street.

But, not one international film crew came on Purim

to the Israeli Foreign Ministry Building,

first votes for Israeli elections

where for the first time, some Israelis working overseas

were able to vote in advance of the March 17 election.

Israel elections

A live feed from Tbilisi, Pretoria, New Delhi and Berlin,

showed some of the locations where diplomats were voting.

photo Salim Joubran

Israel Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran,

chairman of the Central Elections Committee,

on Purim, Thursday, March 5, 2015,

visited the situation room in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

to observe the elections taking place at Israel’s diplomatic missions abroad.

A prominent Arab juridical figure overseeing Israeli elections,

discussed Israel’s being a democracy.

This topic may not fit the media narrative,

but it is what was happening in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Prepares for Purim

Purim is a big deal in Israel,

Especially in Jerusalem, where celebrations go on and on,

not for a day or two like the rest of world,

but starting at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar

and continuing for two weeks.

This year it has been hard to figure out,

what is real.

What is Purim nonsense?

What is satire?

What is a joke?

truck fro Israeli elections

 You can see trucks like this one driving around

all the time blasting happy music.

This van, however, is also promoting a political party running for Knesset seats.

No joke, and there is an official pot party too,

as in marijuana, in the race for our new government.

This year an Anglo Vote Event was held in Cinema City,

bugs bunner and goofy at Cinema City

 two of my favorite characters were with the hot chocolate cakes.

Some of the political parties were represented

and candidates answered questions in English.

As one friend noted, no female candidates were in attendance.

However, there is one new party where women do have a voice.

haredi women running for Knesset

Ruth Culian (right) and Noa Erez are two of four women

running in a new party of religious women,

בזכותן  B’Zehuton which means “in their merit.”

To their credit, this is trail-blazing effort.

It took a lot of guts for Ruth to go to law school

and start a political campaign in her community,

  maybe even more than for the Prime Minister

to make a speech in Washington, DC.

go in peace sign

.A sign wishing Bibi well was hung on the String Bridge.

There were more talking heads in the media,

for and against the speech,

than I could count.

Fromer ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Here former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

was headed to the Jerusalem Press Club for one pre-speech debate.

The speech is over.

The Prime Minister is back,

but the talking is still going on and on.

And on the real streets,

the snow felt like ancient history, 

ice skating in Jerusalem

as a new ice skating rink opened in Cinema City.

cat resting in sun Jerusalem Israel streets

The cats enjoyed the warm weather,

flowers jerusalem

and wild flowers exploded in open spaces.

Purim treats

However, the real color and excitement was for Purim.

Purim costumes

 Children are wearing their costumes everywhere.

Adults wearing Micky Mouse ears while driving in cars.

People dressed in wild outfits and

crazy hats while eating in restaurants.

Most anything can be seen this week on the streets,

at least through Shushan Purim and the weekend,

we can assume it is all in the holiday spirit.

purim samech

Happy Purim.

Protesting the Histadrut Protest

It is Israeli election season.

Again.

And way too soon for most of the people that I know.

Anglo Voters  are not being ignored for a change.

Among the numerous election banners,

political sign in Hebrew

 was this sign, “Us or Him”

opposing Bibi for Prime Minister

posted across from his house in Jerusalem, Israel.

Mostly I have tried to avoid sharing the unpleasantness.

street closed near PM house protest

But today a large Histadrut rally was taking place,

protest Jerusalem

in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence,

and streets were closed off for more than two hours.

protest near Israeli Prime Minister house

These men were blowing loudly on their whistles.

Pepe Alau

Jerusalem Council member Pepe Alalu

of Meretz political party

Histardut rally

was on his way to join the bus loads of protesters.

I was on my way back home from a meeting

after the protest rally ended,

protest sign by garbage

and I saw this sign by a trash can,

people leaving rally

as bus loads of people wearing white Histadrut hats left.

Freedom of speech.

Protest away, as loud as you want,

block traffic and inconvenience others,

garbage left after Histadrut rally

but how dare they leave our streets lined with liter!

At least one person got employment from today’s event.

Look who was cleaning up afterwards,

histadrut rally 016b

a Jewish man wearing zizit under his yellow safety vest.

Bibi was not even around for the event,

as he was on his way to the airport and his flight to the US.

His parting remarks:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther,

I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission.

I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis,

even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People.

I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis,

for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people

and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

At least the Histadrut could clean up after themselves.

Good February Signs in Jerusalem

The sun is shining.

The sky is blue,

and it is warm enough to open the windows.

The snow has melted and it is history,

except for some ugly piles of plowed black stuff

and fallen branches that need to be removed.

February used to be the “quiet” time,

down time between holidays and peak tourism seasons,

but not this February,

and it was hard to keep up with all that is much happening.

Jewish Agency

This week the Jewish Agency for Israel had a meeting

of its Board of Governors, with delegates coming

from around the world to Jerusalem, Israel.

chess sign in Hebrew

The International chess championship may not be a great photo op,

but a tour with 500 tourism professionals from India certainly was.

image woman taking photo of Old City

Starting with the view from Hebrew University on Mt Scopus,

this tour went to The Old City.

Within a few minutes while standing outside

the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

image foreign tourists.

 were other groups of Indian tourists,

image European tourists

a large orderly group of Estonians,

image black tourists

and these Christian pilgrims who left too fast to ask where they were from.

Another great view and new to me,

image Jerusalem marathon

was the Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2105  launch,

image Nir Barkat and Rami Levy

on the grounds of the St. Andrew’s Guest House.

image nir barkat

Mayor Nir Barkat, holding his official run shirt for the March 13 race,

was all smiles that morning.

Ilanit Melchior

But so was Ilanit Melchior,

Tourism  Director at the Jerusalem Development Authority.

Though many residents resent the street closings and inconvenience,

 this event has brought thousands of tourists

from all over the world each year.

There are signs for things as diverse as

App contest in Jerusalem

a contest for app developers,

children for Islamic Museum

and special programs for children at Islamic Museum.

But, Purim is a week away.

Inbal Hotel

Perhaps, this sign for Shavuot holiday is a joke.

sign for Purim

There is to be a Purim Spiel at the Train Theater,

purim sign in Hebrew

and a sign for reading the Megillah at First Station–

purim sign

Happy Purim.

Then,

time for that other “P” word – Passover!

16 Photos Snow in Jerusalem

A few weeks ago there was supposed to be a big snow storm

in Jerusalem, Israel,

and the word “blizzard” was used a lot.

A little snow started to fall just as it was time

to light Shabbat candles,

so I only managed to take and share two quick photos,

and by the next day it was all gone.

This week I did not hear the “b” word,

though a heavy snowfall was forecast.

The snow started to fall on Thursday night,

boy throwing snowball in Jerusalem

and this could be one of the first snowballs.

snow covered street jerusalem israel

The streets were slippery

man walking in snow Jerusalem

and mostly deserted.

flower in snow in Jerusalem

I took one flower photo,

imaige snow scene Jerusalem

if the warnings were wrong,

I had one ready for the Shabbat Shalom post.

image snow storm Jerusalem

But by morning the snow had accumulated,

image snow scene in Jerusalem Israel

and the Jerusalem streets looked like a winter wonderland.

image Wolfson towers in fog from snow storm

Heavy fog and a white sky added to the wintry scenes.

snow covering ground by Knesset

When fog cleared the Knesset grounds were covered.

image israel museum in snow

This Israel Museum view shows trees covered.

against the white sky.

street scene Jerusalem under snow

Heavy snow stuck to power lines and branches,

Snow in Jerusalem stuck to everything

and just about everything.

image snow plow lone vehicle on busy streets Jerusalem

Most people stayed off the roads in the morning.

snow scene Valley of Cross

The monastery in the Valley of the Cross,

a beautiful and serene scene,

was like a picture postcard.

lemon tree covered in snow and ice Jerusalem storm

But lemon trees

snow covered plants Jerusalem snow storm

and sabra plants covered in snow?

Only in Jerusalem, Israel!

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

Shemitta in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Most people know there are Jewish dietary laws

which require the separation of meat and milk.

But I just separated sweet potatoes, peppers and carrots,

from cucumbers and tomatoes.

Why?

image Shmitta in Hebrew

Shmita (or spell it shemitta) is Biblical law.

Shmita park sign with source

We are well into the shemitta year,

which takes on special meaning for those who live in Israel.

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon has written books on the subject.

He composed colorful charts and calendars to simplify the laws.

image Botanical Gardens Jerusalem Israel

Now in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,

Shimita park

Rav Rimon has initiated a special section

to show the laws of shemitta.

image Rabbi Lau talking to girls in Shmita park

For the opening ceremony, Chief Rabbi David Lau spoke,

and then took time to speak to a group of students who participated.

garden for shmitta

The park is aimed to get children’s attention,

image shimita park

 and to make things simple enough

image shemitta

for anyone understand.

image shemitta

With information in Hebrew and English,

image in shmita park

there are many examples of what is permissible

and what is not to be done in gardens this year.

shemitta

The Shemitta Park is simple to reach,

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens shmita park

and it is an attractive area

image shmita park

 with more interactive features to come.

Check it out if you are in Jerusalem, Israel.

The Botanical Gardens are a great place to visit.

Once  a garbage dump,

it is now a beautiful and educational outing.