It’s Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Hanukkah is the time of miracles.

While some things were certainly not the same in Jerusalem, Israel, this year,

Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park autumn colors

there were the familiar winter colors in Liberty Bell Park.

Israeli Scouts build near their club house

The Jerusalem Scouts have finally returned and are building again near their moadon, clubhouse.

Israeli Antiquities in Jerusalem

Workers were even seen entering the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel. After a grand opening in 2016, it was locked for a very long time.

GPO Jewish Media Summit Zoom panel

The Jewish Media Summit was held on December 8, and was a Zoom event this year.

In the past, UN Ambassador Danny Danon brought UN Ambassadors to see Israel, but this pandemic year he will settle for hosting them on Wednesday – online.

I am remembering that a year ago at the Jerusalem Biennale ziara was the theme of the large exhibit in the YMCA.  Ziara: Moroccan Common Wisdom, was curated by Amit Hai Cohen. Along with seventeen other artists of Moroccan descent, the display included a wide range of contemporary pieces. The Moroccan heritage of ziara, the feeling of home, contrasts greatly with other Arab countries where Jews were persecuted and expelled, and this week Israel and Morocco announced that they will reopen their liaison offices and in time, establish diplomatic relations. Expect travel to increase to Morocco, as well as to the United Arab Emirates.

Danny Danon said today that he expects more countries to announce they will establish relations with Israel before January 20. There’s clearly a new paradigm in the Middle East.

Hanukiah in Jerusalem near Museum of Tolerance and Friends of Zion Museum

With Jerusalem under coronavirus restrictions and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, I was afraid that I wouldn’t get new photos for Hanukkah, like these favorites, a huge menorah from an inner Jerusalem city plaza,

Hanukia on top of Hadar Mall for sixth night of Hanukkah

or this one on top of Hadar shopping mall.

But I was wrong!

No tiny viral bug was going to stop lights on Hanukkah in Jerusalem.

Western Wall menorah lighting first night of Hanukkah 2020 corona restricted

Attendance at the lighting of the large golden menorah near the Kotel, Western Wall, is restricted, but accessible to all online. On the first night, people were divided into socially distanced sections, with live music, and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi lit the oil lamps.

Jaffa Gate large menorah on Hanukkah with Tower of David in background

The traditional large Hanukah menorah is back near Jaffa Gate.

Without international tourists due to corona, popular sites are not crowded as usual.

However, again Jerusalem is encouraging Israelis to come and visit.

Jerusalem streets signs to Celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Signs are up for celebrating Hanukkah in Jerusalem – check the website – HERE

Large Menorah near Jerusalem Nayot Park for Hanukkah

Public Hanukkah lightings are held nightly, (well the sign says 4:30 pm) here at Nayot Park, and multiple other community outdoor locations.

But in Jerusalem, even private homes have their menorahs or chanukiot, on display, here on an outer gate to a Jerusalem street, for all to see the lights.

So what’s new?

Two young men walk by Tzahal Square new Hanukkah menorah in background

There’s a large modern chanukiah near the walls of the Old City.

Hanukah menorah in flower bed near Jerusalem Bloomfield Garden

A floral menorah with a dreydel on each side near Bloomfield Park and the Montefiore Windmill. Plus, I hear there is also another on the Tayelet.

Jerusalem traffic circle Hanukkah menorah for holiday

And on Jerusalem traffic circles,

Hanukkah menorah in restaurant table, outside as restaurant closed for COVID10

even with restaurants closed now, there was one on the street where people could take out food and eat outside.

Jerusalem street signs to keep city clean

There are new signs to keep Jerusalem streets clean! That yellow thing is a banana peel and a plastic bottle was on another.

Man sitting in new Jerusalem outdoor area

There are multiple new areas to encourage sitting and enjoying nature.

Three young actresses performing on street theaters closed

With theaters closed during this pandemic year, three young actresses from Nurit Katzir Theater were performing on Jaffa Road on Friday.

So far the weather in Jerusalem has been pleasant to get out and about.

This year, Nes Gadol Haya Po, a special concert for Hanukkah by the Jerusalem Symphony will be broadcast online at 9:00 pm IT, December 15, details can be found HERE.

Restrictions due to coronavirus have limited inside gatherings, but have not stopped Hanukkah celebrations on the Jerusalem streets.

Even in a pandemic, there are plans for the annual candle lighting each night in Mamilla Mall, and tonight there is an event at First Station.

Now is a good time to remember, the famous menorah at Yad Vashem:

Hanukkah menorah display in Yad Vashem of photo and real menorah from Germany with Nazi flag in background

In 1932, Rachel Posner wrote in German, on the back of her photograph, “Their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.” In 1934, the Posners left Kiel, Germany for Israel.
Man and daughter looking at Hanukkah menorah outside

From generation to generation, the Hanukkah candles lit up dark nights.

Jerusalem is hosting events all week, hope to get out at night to the see.

https://youtu.be/4gFfRaR2XyM

The light projections and music near Jaffa Gate from 2016 were special.

Happy Hanukah poster color projection on wall of Jerusalem Old City near Jaffa Gate in 2016.

We still have 5 more nights of Hanukkah. Check back next week to see the best of Hanukkah on the Jerusalem streets.

Meanwhile, stay well.

חג חנוכה שמח

The Week before Hanukkah in Jerusalem

Imagine the sun shining this morning over the Jerusalem streets.

After a gloomy Shabbat with grey Jerusalem skies and light rain in the afternoon, with flooding in parts of Israel, the warmth and light and blue sky were most welcome.

No matter how fleeting, and now back to grey and cold.

The clouds were reflected in the Israeli Museum’s “Upside Down World.”

Israel Museum open again during COVID19 pandemic after being closed more than once

The Israel Museum opened up – again – as coronavirus restrictions changed and allowed small groups inside the museum gates.

Nature spot in Jerusalem, Israel near the Israel Museum

The nature trails near the Israel Museum have turned lush and green.

Jerusalem Israel nature spot near the Israel Museum

This scene is not the Jerusalem Forest, but minutes below the Israel Museum above the Valley of the Cross.

As the nature trails have become more popular, it was time to return to the Jerusalem streets to see what was happening.

A favorite sign of Hanukkah in Jerusalem are the lights over the streets.

Jerusalem streets lined with Hanuka lights

These new ones line Herzog Street, but I have yet to find them lit at night.

Jerusalem holiday street lights on King David Street

It is interesting that the Jerusalem street lights along King David Street are different than others.

Christmas tree in front of Jerusalem YMCA on King David Street

The holiday decorations were up at the YMCA on King David Street as usual.

It was sad to see so many of the stores on the street empty and for rent.

Maybe not such a bad time to close King David Street for repairs. Signs are up notifying the public–for the next year King David Street will be closed and buses will be rerouted.

At least drivers on King David Street have been given notice, smaller Jerusalem streets under construction are just blocked.

Cars enter, and have to turn around and try another way.

The Jerusalem Theater is still closed with all performances online, but outside there’s social distanced seating available on the plaza.

The 29th Jerusalem Puppet Festival is to be held online December 13-17 and in the Liberty Bell Park Train Theater.

Jerusalem new Train Theater in Liberty Bell Park under cnostruction

However, the new theater did not look ready for performances last week.

Jerusalem Film Festival 2020 on line poster on Jerusalem street

Signs were up for the 37th Jerusalem Film Festival to run from December 10-20 online. In days of live events, this festival was held in the summer.

Jerusalem Cinematheque elevator access

The Cinematheque near the elevator access was quiet on Friday.

This is a favorite view of the Old City over the Sultan’s Pool that I like to share with visitors to Jerusalem. The scene was as impressive as ever.

President Rivlin is to participate in the Jerusalem Film Festival opening ceremony to be held with limited numbers at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and broadcast online.

In the past, the big opening event was held in the Sultan’s Pool with international celebrities attending and an Israeli audience in the huge stories-high viewing stands.

View from Cinematheque of Jerusalem toward Old City

There were changing colors in The Hinon Valley below the Cinematheque, but very few people were there even in the pleasant weather.

With few, if any live events, the advertising boards have been empty of new ads for several weeks. Life cycle events of weddings and funerals have been live-streamed due to the coronavirus, but for families with new babies born, there were ads for special birth rooms for the new mothers.

Then this week, new signs were posted.

Man reads poster on street for Jerusalem municipal elections

Jerusalem municipal elections are to be held on December 22, 2020, postponed from November, and only five years late, in eight community councils: Homat Shmuel, Gonenim, Ginot Ha’ir, Baka, Beit Safafa, Pisgat Ze’ev, Bayit Vegan, and Eshkolot.

November 30, was the chosen date to remember the Jews forced from Arab lands. One interesting lesser-known Jerusalem museum, the Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center, is closed now but was an interesting venue last year for the Jerusalem Biennale. Last year? Feels so long ago!

The art, culture, and music festivals have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the protesters near the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem have made themselves at home along the street for months.

Paris Square has new signs and is quieter during the day. The Kings Hotel and other Jerusalem hotels are closed. Sad to see those balcony flower pots with dead plants instead of filled with bright red flowers to welcome guests.

Going past the Netanyahu family home, a new security watch box has been built. Looks like Prime Minister might be planning to relocate to a different Jerusalem street in the future.

I doubt whether they will have the same front porch garden, but a bit of colorful corona humor, a masked garden gnome.

Who would have imagined any of this last year Hanukkah time?

So back to nature, to leave you with the impressive changing Jerusalem skyline, under a pastel sky,

White clouds in blue sky over the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem Israel

and white billowing clouds against a bright blue December sky.

It’s been a great time to be able to get out and walk in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, and on the Jerusalem streets before the winter rains.

Hard to believe Hanukkah starts on Thursday night.

Take care and stay well.

Let’s hope we can all celebrate holidays together next year in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem: November Sights and Colors

Another week went by in Jerusalem, in Israel, in the world, as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and November comes to an end.

A 3-hour commercial flight from Dubai flew over Saudi airspace and landed in Ben Gurion Airport last Thursday.

Who would have imagined that only a few weeks ago?

Thanksgiving was celebrated in the US, under different circumstances.

I certainly don’t miss the HOURS we spent stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike, which turned into one long parking lot with the holiday traffic, no matter what the weather conditions.

In Jerusalem, Israel the winter weather is not the same as we had in the NE US.

When the sun came out on Friday after predictions of rain, it was time to get out and walk in the morning. It had been many months since I had been to the Old City and it was time to take advantage of the beautiful day and see what was happening.

View of Western Wall Plaza from Jewish Quarter stairway, on Friday with police vehicles parked

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza was filled with police vehicles, but Friday was quiet.

Western Wall at night during COVID-19 divided into sections

I had repeatedly seen the Western Wall cam images of the newest sections.

With constantly changing restrictions and regulations for COVID-19, these are the latest divisions. People gather outside before entering and pray in small groups scattered closer to the Kotel.

Jerusalem Israel Old City scene of future elevator to the Jewish Quarter

How long coronavirus restrictions will last is unknown. Which will come first–the completion of this elevator to the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, or the end of the pandemic?

Two Arab women going up stairs in Old City to Jewish Quarter

For now, it’s still walking up the multiple staircases and steps to get from the plaza to the Jewish Quarter.

Jerusalem Israel road into Armenian Quarter quiet on Friday morning during coronavirus pandemic.

It was strange to see the road to the Armenian Quarter so quiet, especially on a Friday.

Friday morning inside Jaffa Gate during COVID-19 restrictions and closings

Sad to see the plaza inside Jaffa Gate so quiet, especially on Friday near midday.

Black Friday lines to shop in ZARA in Mamilla Mall loosening of corona restricitons.

However, Mamilla Mall was all but quiet on Black Friday. With the opening of more stores and malls the end of last week, crowds of shoppers were out.

People eating outside during COVID-19 as takeout food was legal, cut inside dining forbidden.

Dining inside restaurants is still forbidden, but some places are offering takeout and people can find a place to sit and eat outdoors.

I took advantage of the sunny days not to eat or shop, but to walk and see what was happening in Jerusalem.

View of Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem  from Agron Street

The new Museum of Tolerance is visible from Agron Street, but all museums are still closed. The Israel Museum is to open on Tuesday and so are seven other large Israeli museums.

Menorah and Jewish star near entrance to Knesset road

Even found a day with no protesters across from the Knesset and a clear shot of the menorah near the Rose Garden.

View of Israeli Knesset from the Rosh Garden

This is the classic view of the Knesset from the Rose Garden.

Scenes from within the Rose Garden are less familiar and it was perfect for a nature photo walk – BC, before corona.

One family was taking advantage of a photo session in the Rose Garden. Dozens of student groups were spread throughout the park area, and one advantage of corona school closings is seeing young people outside.

Jerusalem path from Israeli Supreme Court Building to the Knesset

On my way out of the Rose Garden, I noticed another view of the Knesset.

From the gates of the Israeli Supreme Court campus, there is a straight path to the Knesset Building entrance.

This short stone path leads directly from the Knesset

into the Supreme Court. How many times had been in the Rose Garden and not noticed this path?

The view of Nahalot from the Rose Garden is still the same, but new buildings are rising daily just beyond it. Construction during this coronavirus time is going at a fast pace.

The new landscaping in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was being prepared.

Jerusalem Sacher Park landscaping during coronavirus limitations

And in one day, hundreds of plantings were put in the ground by work crews after the irrigation was set.

Jerusalem Sacher Park children's play equipment with new access ramp

The refurbished play equipment in Gan Sacher with its new bright colors and ramp are ready after months of work.

Jerusalem Israel Teddy Park with fountain off and quiet on a Friday during coronavirus pandemic.

Jerusalem’s Teddy Park was lovely and green, but quiet for a Friday.

Jerusalem streets are changing and getting ready for visitors whenever that will be in the future, looking forward to tourists from Dubai and Bahrain and more to fill the hotels under construction and those closed now because of COVID.

Colorful autumn sunset over Jerusalem Israel streets

Besides the green nature areas, it’s time to appreciate the colorful autumn sunsets.

As always there was more happening on the real Jerusalem streets, but will save and share next time.

Take care and stay well!