Dark Clouds, Smoke Clouds and Much More in Jerusalem

 Almost three weeks ago looking out from Alon Shvut,

we knew Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were there,

somewhere,

but we were not sure if they were still alive.

iamge Gush Etzion

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.”

image funeral crowd

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.

image people waiting for bus

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.

image walking to crowd cemetery

Buses lined the way to the cemetery, while

 thousands of people walked and filled the road.

image large crowd walking

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.

image large crowd

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.

photo Jerusalem beach

I finally got to the beach,

the Jerusalem beach that opened in First Station.

photo beach Jerusalem

Unlike the last attempt bringing a beach to Jerusalem,

there is not only lots of sand, but also water,

photo playing ball in sand.

and on a quiet night even a place to play soccer.

Also for many this week,

image Mondial

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.

Shabbat Shalom

Two weeks of searching have passed.

Last night in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel,

image yellow ribbons 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,

image Shabat shalom, photo yellow roses

to wish all a Shabbat Shalom.

Jerusalem in June

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

image Shimon Peres, photo Daivd Horowitz

opened Sunday night with both Israeli President Shimon Peres

image Israeli Prime Minister

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.

085b  Jerusalem light fewstival

If you missed the Light Festival some of the best is here,

image Israel Festival

while the Israel Festival has too many programs to mention.

image shavuah hasefer, photo Israel Book Week

Shavuah HaSefer, the annual Hebrew Book Week

image Hebrew Book Week

was back in its old location near the new First Station.

image shavuah hasefer , photo Book Week

As every year, book lovers came out in droves every night from June 11 – 21

image Hebrew Book Week

to browse and buy at bargain prices.

image Tower of David Museum

The Tower of David Museum has  a new year-long exhibit.

Where else could you find

image Tower of David Museum, photo tool from Second Jewish Temple,

a fire-pan used by the Priests in the Second Jewish Temple,

image Palestine Post, photo 1938 headline

 an ad for  “FIAT the car for Palestine,”

image Tower of David Museum at night

and this scene at sunset.

Over at the Israel Museum,

image Israel Museum, big bambu image.

US twins Doug and Mike Starn and over two dozen mountain climbers

Image Big Bambu at Israel Museum

from the US and Israel crafted this big, really big Big Bambu.

image BigBambu at Israel Museum

Israel Museum visitors are going to love it this summer,

imige Israel Museum

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.

This June,

image kidnapped boys, photo return of kidnapped Israeli teens

“all are with the three terrorist kidnapped teens,

Nafatli, Gil-ad, and Eyal,”

image sign for Three kidnapped Isaeli  teens

“Shuvu Ahim, return our brothers”

is on our signs and on our minds.

Jerusalem Light Festival 2014

Jerusalem, City of Light.

One of the most popular cultural events hosted in the Old City

is the Jerusalem Light Festival.

iamge Old City Christian Quarter

I like to arrive early and wander the alleyways

image Jerusalem Light festival 2014

as the sun set and the colorful lights came on.

Jerusalem Light Festival image

 This was an unique light piece in the Christian Quarter,

image palestine poster

but there were several of these posters.

imsge colorful drinks

Many more Arab shops were open this year,

 these drinks were ready for the large crowds.

The blue lights

image Barber shop in Old  City

 led us past the barbershop which was open, but not busy.

There were 29 stops along four routes.

image Jerusalem light festival

One of the most interesting was in front of the Hurva Synagogue.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Using buildings as screens,

iamge Jerusalem light festival

for projected

iamge Jerusalem light festival

works was big this year.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Easy to know who did “Circus of Light.”

image Jerusalem light festival

Colored lights on the walls were in several locations.

image Jerusalem light festival

This interactive piece changed as people touched it.

image Jerusalem light festival

Nearby outside the walls, these globes changed in color and form.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

This work near Jaffa Gate was an imposing structure,

image Jerusalem light festival

and looked different from the other side.

image Old City Jerusalem light festival

Along the street to the Damascus Gate were actors,

photo Jerusalem light festival

 in costume, in colorful settings,

picutre Jerusalem light festival photo

but when you got close it looked so different.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Inside Jaffa Gate another light show shined on the Christian Information Center.

image Jerusalem light festival

But my favorite was Damascus Gate,

picture Jerusalem light festival

where the 6 minute

picutre Jerusalem light fstival

light show required a video.

photo Jerusalem light festival

Photos of this huge, colorful complex piece

will probably be favorites from this 5th annual event.

Jerusalem photo

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.

Gush Etzion New and Old Views

During the days before the “Oslo Peace,”

we drove through Bethlehem

to get to Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, Israel.

We visited

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.

image Kfar Etzion before 1948

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.

image Arabs in Kfar Etzion.

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,

image lone tree. photo lone tree Gush etzion

the only surviving remnant in the area was

 this one lone ancient oak tree.

This past Friday we participated in Gush Etzion Scavenger Hunt.

image water tower AlonShuvt

From this water tower,

image Gush Etzion, photo alonShvut

we had a great view of the Har Etzion Yeshiva

110b View Alon Shvut Gush ETzion

and the community of Alon Shvut.

During the morning, we heard reports that two high school boys

image Gush Etzion, photo

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

iamge Gush Etzion

   out there.

image Kfar etzion

On Kfar Etzion we saw one of the first buildings built in the 1940s,

 after 1967 it was rebuilt for four families.

image Kfar Etzion,

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.

The Scavenger hunts of the Old City and Nahlaot were fun and educational.

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.