Winter Colors Jerusalem

It happens every, single year in Jerusalem, Israel.

One day it feels like summer, we’re wearing sandals, and the next next day, the temperature drops, it rains hard and we put on the winter boots and take out the sweaters and coats from their storage places.

The clouds fill the sky covering the sun and our stone homes retain the cold.

Out for a quick walk when it stopped raining, I was able to watch a helicopter land, not on, but near the Knesset Building.

The cloud formations were impressive as winter arrived in Jerusalem.

Venturing a bit from home, the last public phone booths had been removed in front of the National Labor Court, and only two white marks remained.

The Jerusalem street near the Prime Minister’s Residence is occupied.

New security barriers line the streets ready for the next protest.

But the coronavirus restrictions are loosening, small on-the-street businesses are allowed to open, joining the recently reopened beauty salons and essential businesses.

Jerusalem children’s playgrounds are getting serious makeovers.

The art at Mamilla Mall was changed, but few were around to view it,

or to take advantage of end of season sales for the last few months.

A pile of masks was on display for sale for the few who passed by.

A cafe had take out food and a few places to sit and enjoy the sun and the view.

Some stores closed, but others were being renovated to open or reopen.

Mamilla Mall wasn’t filled with happy visitors due to the COVID19 closures.

There were grey days – really for the birds.

Heavy rains created new temporary ponds and dampened moods.

But with winter in Jerusalem, new flowers emerged from the ground. It seemed I was not the first one to come by. Someone placed small stones around several of the first blooms.

Today the field had many more flowers and groups of students.

In Jerusalem we do not have the fall colors of the US Northeast, but we have a bit of orange,

and yellow,

and green,

and green with touches of red and light blue,

and fresh new winter greens.

A white US Capitol? was built along Azza Street during the time of closings.

There is blue sky when it peeks out from the clouds.

But in spite of all the closings, some things are happening.

President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Uzbekistan, and Latvia to the State of Israel in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi, the President’s Residence.

The flags were raised and flying for each country. That “thing” hanging under the flag are dates on the palm tree. I decided to leave it for you to see.

The ceremonies were downsized due to coronavirus and weather.

But on a cloudy day, the colors were flying this week with more next week as more new Ambassadors present their credentials to President Rivlin.

So that’s it–another week of trying to make the best in these difficult times, sharing a few of the many colors of Jerusalem.

Wearing more than one hat is not always easy.

The Tower of David Museum is taking advantage of the lull in tourism to do a major renovation, but more on that next time.

Take care and stay well, and hope to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem under Corona Going Up

For months I stayed close to home, so when I ventured out it was a shock.

In Jerusalem, Israel, walking in the park and nature areas had been a daily relief from COVID-19 limitations. But seeing what had been done to the Jerusalem streets in my absence was amazing.

Israel Park with people

Some locations recently renovated have become popular out door spaces.

With the announcement of the renovation, expansion, and renaming of the Jerusalem International Conference Center for Shimon Peres, it was time to go again see what was happening.

It was exciting to see new stairs leading up to where the old parking lot was located. The past years access has been difficult with so many changes in the infrastructure. Every time you came for an event, there was a new traffic pattern and the old stairs were gone.

Jerusalem of old is going and the new is going down and up and up.

The old Kraft Stadium has gone down, just down as seen from the street.

But the housing across the road has gone up and up.

This new Abba Eban Street was one of the first in the neighborhood.

The old Foreign Ministry campus is now a luxury housing project going up.

The bollards are up on the new sidewalk in front the Netanyahu house.

But business in the area is down. This red antique van, parked near Balfour Street for a very long time, was in front of a closed restaurant.

The restaurants and bars are closed, but the bakery is open with patrons waiting outside at a distance, and many food places are selling take out.

Not so easy for a tailor to social distance and survive financially.

But walk up the street and there are new traffic lights and construction.

First time I saw a worker cutting stones on the spot.

The street by the Ohel Nechama Synagogue on the way to the Jerusalem Theater is being redone.

The Jerusalem Theater looks the same, however, it is closed. I just missed a dance class which took place on the plaza outside in front.

This is the new footpath and view from the Jerusalem Theater plaza.

The footpath leads to the new parking lot for the theatre. Seems the builders added a couple of extra floors and now construction has stopped and the action has moved to the court room.

The area around the Jerusalem Theater is very different. Be warned the first time you go to give yourself extra time to figure out which direction is up or down or around.

The Museum of Islamic Art, as are the other museums, is closed and in financial trouble with no visitors. An auction of 200 items from the private museum’s storerooms was halted due to negative publicity.

But there should be more concern for the small business owner who can’t legally open their doors.

Walking around the Jerusalem streets, building after building is going up.

Bus stops have been moved, streets were redone with commercial parking.

The construction fence is gone, and now there’s a new theater in Liberty Bell Park near the rollerblading skating rink and new parking lot.

New seating areas with wooden benches and shade grace more Jerusalem streets since the novel coronavirus crippled the tourism industry.

New paths with fancy wood garbage bins have been installed in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, along with lots of new landscaping.

But walking around Jerusalem, it was good to see some of the familiar sites.

The stairs in Yemin Moshe look the same as before the novel coronavirus.

And the Lion Fountain was back on! No children were splashing and cooling in the water as in past years, but the big lion had the same one drop drip from his chin as before.

So much had changed on the Jerusalem streets over the spring and summer.

The Tower of David is closed to the public for a major renovation. I will share that big project next time. Meanwhile, I will end with a clip from the King David Night and Light Show. Can’t wait to see what they do next!

Hope to be able to share the real Jerusalem streets with you in person soon.

Jerusalem Time is Flying

October the holidays are over. It’s time for Jerusalem and the Jerusalem streets to get back to “normal.”

Sure.

Two weeks after the end of the holiday season and we changed the clocks, falling backward into standard corona time.

I hate changing the clocks any time.

It’s been a time when it’s hard to keep up with the news bulletins.

First the normalization agreements between Israel and UAE and Bahrain. The United Arab Emirates diplomats arrived in Israel to sign trade agreements. Israeli travel companies are busy working out how to proceed with daily flights as an option, even with COVID19.

Sudan has joined the Gulf states making positive connections with Israel. Did you know Golda Meir and Israel were the first to acknowledge Sudan’s independence? The opening of air space alone is a big deal. Other financial deals we will wait and see.

The old holiday signs were replaced new ones from Mayor Lion for a successful new academic year. However, Hebrew University was open for less than a week and closed today, due to a computer problem.

The nursery schools were allowed to open under the new COVID19 restrictions. But most students are still at home, zooming and waiting to get back to classrooms and their friends.

One group was meeting in an outdoor open area under today’s cloudy sky.

Dog school, however, seems to be going strong in spite of corona.

During this time many Jerusalem streets have gotten a new look.

Some streets are unrecognizable with constantly changing barriers and infrastructure improvements.

The Great Synagogue is still closed, but a covering provides shade for limited prayer outside in the plaza.

During the lockdown, I was finally able to get a photo of the horse in Gan HaSoos, the Horse Park. Usually there are people around or on it.

In town was a bloodmobile site and new art pieces, but the clothing stores were closed. The supermarket and WeWork were allowed to be open.

Ben Yehuda Street was basically deserted during the lockdown.

Stores shuttered with people allowed only 1 kilometer from home.

The Light Rail was running, but Jaffa Road appeared midday as quiet as early morning, instead of the busy shopping location it had become.

Too many of the Jerusalem streets and alleyways were too quiet.

The First Station area has announced a development plan but needs the tourists to come back for businesses to reopen.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is walk-library-UAE-Bah-017-b.jpg

Construction has been ongoing.

But too often it seems to be workers redoing areas where work was just done?

With all the challenges and noisy protests, closings and corona, suffering, and death, I am happy to share, young couples have found new ways to meet with theaters and museums, hotel lobbies, and cafes closed.

Walking and talking in nature is new norm, with or without a mask.

So the clocks have changed, the days are shorter, but the clouds make for colorful sunsets.

Today is Aliyah Day. In spite of a pandemic people have arrived home to Israel on a regular basis, and the number of applications is causing inpatient waiting times.

The real Jerusalem streets – good, bad and not so ugly.

Stay well and hope to see everyone here soon. At least flight times from most parts of the world should be shorter now with flights to Israel allowed over so many new Gulf countries.

Next year in Jerusalem! (or Dubai?)