Sunset at the Western Wall,
pleasant weather with flag blowing in slight breeze.
Wishing all a Shabbat Shalom.
Last night as the sun was setting,
traffic around the Old City was heavy and slow.
Mamilla Mall was crowded with people.
The usually deserted Artists’ Colony was alive for
Hutzot Hayotzer, the annual international arts festival.
Security was tight for this mega rip-off, but hugely popular
international fair of merchandise and food.
This man was taking advantage of the crowds,
hoping to raise money for sick people.
I walked through Teddy Park,
across from the Walls of the Old City, this former No Man’s Land,
packed with people.
I imagine the designer of the special water fountain
thought of it as a place where people would come together,
but this corner as a place for afternoon prayer services?
Jaffa Gate was unusually quiet, the Arab vendors were not around,
and one of the major gifts shops was closed.
Israelis were out to enjoy the last of summer evenings,
but tourists have been scared away this summer.
Too bad they are missing the sights,
like the beauty of Hurva Synagogue as the sun sets,
the Old City views,
and seeing the majesty of the Kotel, the Western Wall, up close.
But my favorite scene was nearby on the Kotel plaza.
A soldier just back from reserve duty, still wearing his gun,
had come to the Kotel with his young family.
He was surrounded by young admirers.
All was calm.
Hamas broke a cease-fire for the 11th time,
and for the second day in a row southern Israel
was pounded by rockets and mortars from Gaza.
last night the warning siren went off
as we were on way home from the Old City.
We had to get out of the car
and run to stand near a wall with no glass windows.
We then heard a boom in the distance.
It was a quiet street, with nothing special to photograph.
But the family members who were at the Kotel,
had to first go up against the wall,
then were sent into the tunnels to wait out the ten minutes.
Hamas was trying to hit Jerusalem, Israel,
with their rockets…again.
100 rockets launched at southern Israel since midnight
and 30 targets attacked in Strip overnight,
for way too many sleepless nights.
Rocket sirens now in Beer Sheva,
too many places to list.
How did so many thousands of rockets get into Gaza?
How did so little else get accomplished by Hamas?
This summer was not normal.
Rockets were falling and tourism was way down
But those tourists who did come had a great time.
The Tourism Ministry recorded 218,000 visitor entries in Israel in July 2014.
Groups from southern Israel were brought to Jerusalem for fun days.
President Reuven Rivlin and his wife hosted more children this week.
Slowly we are returning to “normal.”
The last two weeks in August there is no regular child day care,
which makes some workplaces look like day care centers.
or any family member or friend can be called to help out.
A popular summer activity was the view from Big Bambu at the Israel Museum.
Some ‘seniors’ finding out they had to go up with their young children,
were not so thrilled about having to make the climb.
The new play area at the Israel Museum was much easier to experience.
The Bloomfield Science Museum, an old favorite, is always great for a day outing.
The water activities on a hot day are always a winner.
The new sand area is usually a busy place,
but not this early morning in July,
though learning activities led by staff were well under way.
I wonder how many of the children ever saw a meat grinder like this,
or would have any idea what it is?
It was seen on my way to a new building for a special exhibition:
The Machine Within: Bio-mechanics,
the machine inside is built to survive.
Using small screens
and large ones,
and animals to attract attention and teach.
This shows the outside of a pouncing animal,
but walk around it,
and the exhibit shows how it works inside.
One of my favorite scenes was this boy,
who figured out how to interact
with all the right moves.
During the month of July with all the troubles and tensions you heard about,
at places like the Science Museum, where this Muslim girl is on staff,
and in the Israel Museum where Muslim men worked and rested on Ramadan,
life went on as “normal.”
That was the real Jerusalem, Israel streets.
Will the cease fire and quiet hold?
We will all have to see what happens next.
The last week has been another roller coaster one,
with so much attention centered around Gaza,
which in Hebrew is Azza.
There were even jokes about Azza,
Street that is, which is near where we live.
No jokes, as 64 Israeli soldiers died,
and one went to this Jerusalem, Israel school.
The death notices posted and displayed inside are in his memory.
Many more soldiers were injured.
You could spot the hospital rooms of injured soldiers
by the collection of gifts near the room and
the well-wishers in the hall waiting to enter.
The banner reading
“Soldiers of Israel, we are with you the whole way, return in peace,”
was displayed on many Jerusalem buses this week.
This synagogue had its flag flying at half mast.
Small Israeli flags were flown from cars,
and the Jewish Agency Building brought out their large flags
and this special sign, all in support of Israeli Army.
Flags and signs were hung in Paris Square,
even hand painted ones were allowed to stay.
Children’s summer activities were moved inside,
while signs announced free admissions in August.
In spite of everything, there were signs of development,
as construction continued deep into the ground.
Tisha B’Av with its signs of mourning,
sitting on the ground
while reading Eicha, in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park.
Hundreds joined the 20th walk around the Walls of the Old City
on Tisha B’Av night, with many waving Israeli flags.
The route was changed this year.
A funeral was being held on Mount of Olives for a young father
who was killed by a terrorist driving an excavator on a Jerusalem street.
Security was high,
but the crowds were not as large as usual
near the Western Wall, the Kotel,
a sorry sign of these times.
And this sign,
it was just announced that Hussam Kawasma,
the Hamas terrorist who planned and commanded the terror cell
that kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel
has been arrested.
“We Are Strong Together,” in bold letters on another sign.
What a time it has been.
Today the strange winter clouds have lifted,
the sky is again a clear summer blue.
From people passing on the street you hear the words
“shooting” and “ceasefire,”
but tension felt in the air seems to be lifting too.
Next time we plan to share photos from the new exhibit
at the Bloomfield Science Museum,
as everyone gets back to ‘normal’
on the real Jerusalem, Israel streets.
Photos of happy, smiling family reunions as soldiers return home
are filling Facebook pages.
Oh well that was quick, red alerts are going in the South,
36 hours into 72 Gaza is firing rockets again!
Now saying false alarms.