Jerusalem Conferences and Festivals Returning

In Jerusalem, Israel, where to begin RJS this week is a problem.

Today is September 11th.

September 11 memorial flame off main road to Jerusalem

The day we remember 9/11 – September 2001 when terrorists hijacked jetliners, and crashed into the financial World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, the heart of the US military, murdering thousands of innocents.

Jerusalem memorial to victims of September 11 flowers placed on names of murdered.

On September 11, 2018 – we had a different US Ambassador in Israel, but the Israeli 9/11 Memorial off the main road to Jerusalem, with all the names of the victims of terror, is there 24/7.

Jerusalem is changing. Buildings are to come down and go up higher.

The traffic back-ups. Near the entrance of Jerusalem, the road changes and heavy equipment, always something new to confuse drivers.

But this week outside, and inside the Jerusalem International Convention Center, one could find earth-moving equipment.

AGROMASHOV, Israel’s Largest Agricultural Conference, and CLEANTECH, two international conferences & exhibitions were held in Jerusalem, Israel, on September 5-6, 2022.

Israeli agriculture displays included watermelon of course!

Solar technology was also on display in the large hall.

One area featured the use of sabra cactus as food. The Ambassadors and Embassy representatives heard about various ways to use the fruit on their guided tour of the exhibits.

Angola was not the only African country in Jerusalem for the exhibition. I met a man who came from Nigeria that day who flew in specially for the conference.

I did not hear who won the cherry tomato competition.

But can tell you that 10% alcohol sabra cream was way too strong for me.

With the end of summer, school is back in session, a new bicycle tunnel opened, and Jerusalem festivals have returned to fill the days, nights, and streets.

For the first time, the Hansen House hosted a contemporary dance festival with solo works by choreographers from Israel and overseas. The new Jerusalem International Dance Festival included master classes and discussion panels.

The Takhana Rishona, First Station, is busy with food and entertainment.

At First Station, one can always find something new. I have no idea what this young woman was recording one night near the carousel.

At Teddy Park, the moon was full over the Old City walls and the fountain was on, but people were only passing by, headed to the Sultan’s Pool.

Thousands of concertgoers were headed to their seats at the Sultan’s Pool for the Shlomo Artzi concert.

The mega concerts and Jerusalem festivals have returned to the Jerusalem streets, and after two years, people are happy to be out again.

The Manofim Jerusalem Contemporary Art Festival joins the September Israel Festival in Jerusalem with unusual cultural options.

The postponed Woodstock Fest at Silo, near First Station, off the large parking lot, is set for September 15, 2022.

Plus, Emunah Jerusalem’s first Ethiopian Israeli Cultural Festival Featuring traditional Cuisine; Art; Theater; Drum Workshop and circle; Basket Weaving; Dance; Film, and more, is also at the Silo Cafe, on September 29th, from 4:30 – 8:30 pm.

A Green Inside and Out Festival will be held on the grounds of the Bloomfield Science Museum from September 14-16.

It’s hard to know what to do first!

End of summer clouds covered the Jerusalem streets this week,

and the setting sun setting added impressive colors to the Jerusalem streets, a reminder that the holidays are approaching.

Rosh Hashana, the New Year Selihot crowds have started to gather at the Kotel, Western Wall after midnight. Culminating, October 3, 2022, before Yom Kippur with what should be a huge attendance.

Hope to see you here soon.

From Jerusalem: The Best and Worst of Times

Another week in Jerusalem, Israel with the question of where to begin.

President and Michal Herzog departed for a state visit to the Federal Republic of Germany today, at the invitation of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

On December 6, 2015, President Reuven Rivlin and Nechama Rivlin greeted the President of Germany Joachim Gauck and Mrs. Daniela Schadt marking 50 years of diplomatic relations. It was an impressive positive event.

However, September 5, 2022, marks another 50-year remembrance. The 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich were publicized to be the “Peace Games” but turned out to be anything but peaceful.

Black September, the PLO group formed within Fatah led by Yasir Arafat, turned the Munich Olympics into “the worst of times” as ABC announcer Jim McKay intoned of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes.

The first-ever live broadcast of the summer Olympics started out colorful and exciting to watch on television for millions around the world.

Then two Israeli athletes were butchered in their dorm room, and the others held by the 8 terrorists were killed in a “botched rescue” mission. At an airstrip away from the athletic village, a terrorist threw a grenade into the helicopter as the Israelis were held tied hand and foot.

Even now international media uses “fighter” and “militant” to describe them, starting half a century of deadly international terrorism.

Ankie Spitzer, the widow of the murdered fencer Andre Spitzer has spent the past 50 years trying to get answers to how and what happened in Munich.

December 1974, Black September was dissolved. Most of its membership was reassigned to other PLO groups. Wonder where they went?

Over the course of four years, Canadian Francine Zuckerman documented the stories of four women in the film “After Munich” which was screened at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The timely showing of the film based on the lives of four women directly involved with the Olympic tragedy left me with more questions than answers about the Munich Massacre.

However, in the next few days, the President of Israel will deliver an address at the Bundestag and will participate in the official ceremony marking the 50-year anniversary of the Munich Massacre, with family members of the murdered athletes in attendance.

President Herzog will also visit the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, accompanied by the President of Germany.

Perhaps now the sealed German records will be opened. Time to see how such an attack against Israeli athletes happened on German soil.

From the worst of times – back to the Jerusalem streets.

After over ten years of work, a new Jerusalem street opened up this week.

Until you experience it for yourself, here’s a ride on Ariel Sharon Highway:

Years of blasting out under mountains, Highway 16 circumvents the traffic at the entrance of Jerusalem and goes from Route One to the Shaare Zedek hospital area in minutes, instead of the much longer times we have endured.

Come and see what’s new, it is constantly hard to believe with so many troubles, that there is so much positive happening.

As the end of the year approaches, Beit Avi Chai has a list of Elul programs.

The new school year of 5783 started as the shmita year is ending.

The public flower beds are cleared and ready for planting after Shemita.

It was hotter this week than it was all summer, but a Jerusalem winter sign decorates a local bus stop.

Hope to see you here soon on the old and new Jerusalem streets.

Two Special Events in Jerusalem

As the summer ends in Jerusalem, the school year is set to begin.

I want to share with you these last days of August, two special private events, along with a few of the many public ones.

There were nightly concerts from the Jerusalem Sultan’s Pool with the Old City walls illuminated in the background, but much more was happening on the Jerusalem streets as the summer was ending.

At the Beit Mezia Theater near the Machane Yehudah Market,

The Israel Comedy Festival opened in Jerusalem on August 21, 2022. Inside, lining the walls of the theater lobby were displays in honor of Efraim Kishon.

The first Israel Comedy Festival opening event was held in the theater courtyard with various performances and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.

Nearby at the Beit HaAm Theater, there was an end-of-summer event for yeshiva students who were near the end of their month-long summer holiday.

The annual end-of-summer musical celebrations outside the Jerusalem Theater were open to everyone. The loud music could be heard on many of the neighboring Jerusalem streets.

Inside, First Station was one of the locations for less physical activities. New Virtual Reality shows were advertised for families.

There was a Cocktail Festival at First Station along with the popular musical events at night. And the Wine Festival is back at the Israel Museum.

There were events for almost everyone at multiple locations, such as the Tayelet, with a view worthy of sharing, not so much the “festival” there.

However, this week I want to highlight two special events.

A private VIP screening was held at the Cinematheque.

The Yugo BAFTA Student Awards is an annual award, “the British Oscars,” celebrating the works of the next generation of talented and innovative storytellers from around the globe.

For the first time, an Israeli film entered – and won!

Before the screening, Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan spoke, as did Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and British Ambassador Neil Wigan.

Girl No. 60427 is a powerful film base on a true Holocaust story.

Director Shulamit Lifshitz and Animation Director Oriel Berkovits answered questions about their impressive work after the showing.

They were then joined on stage by the actors in the winning student film. Girl No. 60427 brings the story of the Holocaust to the “third generation.” Tehilla Lifshitz, plays the young girl finding her grandmother’s hidden diary, giving an impressive performance.

I highly recommend the Maaleh Film School student film to all when it has public showings after running the film festival circuit. There is no doubt why this film won first prize.

Each year fewer Holocaust survivors are able to share their stories. The flow in the film was so powerful the translator for the Hebrew film with English subtitles said she had to stop and take breaks. She worked thru Intifada as a translator, but this work connected deeper.

Then the next morning was a Hachnasat Sefer Torah, a dedication of a new Sefer Torah scroll filling the Jerusalem streets with music and meaning.

For those not familiar, first, the new Torah scroll’s last letters are filled in.

Then the Torah is escorted in a joyful procession, with music and song, to the ark where it will be kept.

The Jerusalem streets were closed to traffic along the route.

Cars were stopped, but there was no honking as people had to wait.

As the van blasts the lively music and proceeds slowly, cars wait while

people from the neighborhood join the procession to honor the new Torah.

People are honored to take turns carrying the Torah scroll and holding the poles of the canopy, similar to a Jewish wedding.

Dancing in the Jerusalem streets along with the Torah and music.

In this case, the children dedicated a Torah after their father returned to health from a severe case of Covid.

Inside the synagogue where the Torah was placed to be used, I saw the words “Remember for Good” and thought how good it was for knowledge and traditions to pass and continue to the next generations.

Now to leave you with a short video of one of the light and sound projections on the walls of the real Jerusalem streets this summer week for all to enjoy.

When are you coming to see for yourself on a Jerusalem Photo Walk?