Overcoming Challenges in Jerusalem

Overcoming Challenges in Jerusalem

Challenges.

Every day, we are faced with challenges.

In Jerusalem, Israel, the weather has just changed and challenges us. Challenges range from something so simple as what to wear to the major challenge of how to provide housing to those who need it.

With limitations, both east and west and in green spots, up & up seems the only way to go.

Southern Israelis again were challenged, as hundreds of missiles were fired at civilians from terrorists based in Gaza.

Officially called ‘Operation Black Belt,’ it was more like deja vu – here we go again

I did not go south as I did one year ago, the images were too much the same.

It’s challenging to try to remember which ‘Operation’ my photographs are from since there have been so many similar trips south to visit families in bomb shelters.

colorful balloons in Israeli school

On one recent trip to see the destruction caused by the Gazan fire balloons, these balloons were hanging in a new southern school.  Educators who were challenged to help children not be afraid of red alerts and sirens had another fear to add to the list – balloons.

On a personal level, we all have challenges.

Parents turn to ALYN Hospital, a pediatric orthopedic and rehabilitation center in Jerusalem, to give their children the best treatments.

Baby in ALYN being treated by parents in hospital

ALYN treats a wide range of patients, from babies with illnesses needing constant special attention, to older persons challenged and needing special therapies due to accidents or illnesses.

ALYN Innovation Space in Jerusalem hospital

In the new Innovation Space, unique devices are crafted, such as Yusuf’s feeding device enabling him to eat on his own in spite of a difficulty in movement.

Wheels of Love at ALYN chidlren's hospital

Your daily challenges might look different when put in perspective of ALYN patients and their challenges.

Wheels of Love cyclists arrive at hospital

For the 20th year, ALYN held the ‘Wheels of Love’ charity bike ride.

Wheels of Love Tandem riders in Jerusalem Israel

International participants from 12 countries joined with local riders and patients past and present to raise money for life-enhancing treatments and therapies, not covered by the basic Israeli healthcare.

Please notice the tandem bikes among the 500 cyclists, as they ended their 5-day ride from northern Israel.

Wheels of Love Charity Bike riders arrive at ALYN to end race

Riders are challenged by the last climb up the Judean hills to Jerusalem but excited to pass the finish line.

Wheels of Love special cyclists arrive at ALYN hospital at end of charity ride

This was not your usual challenging bike race. Seventeen members of the Swift and Bold team were patients either riding tandem or hand-powered bikes.

Wheels of Love riders arrive in Jerusalem Israel

Supporters and family crowded around to greet the arriving riders.

Wheels of Love medals given by children from ALYN

Medals were presented to riders by ALYN patients.

Wheels of Love medal given by a child to a cyclist at ALYN

Dozens of patients and parents were ready with medals to present to cyclists.

Wheels of Love ALYNpatient who rode to Jerusalem

Smiles after overcoming challenges to reach a goal.

ALYN charily riders parents and daughter

Father, mother, and daughter teamed up to ride in 2019 Wheels of Love Charity Bike Ride that raised over $2.5 million. While there were first-time riders, many had participated over a dozen times over the years.  Of the original nine cyclists who rode twenty years ago, six participated in this ride.

There could be a long list of challenges, from political to financial, in Israel or around the world. However, I will end with one faced weekly for Real Jerusalem Streets.

Remember 15 Real Photos of Arab Girls?

The RJS photos of Israeli Apartheid?

Two of the most popular, shared and viral posts over the years.

Muslim women and female IDF soldier in First Station Jerusalem

A lone female Israel soldier was standing in First Station.

Arab women walking in First Station in Jerusalem Israel

This group of Muslim women walked by. You can see them in the far top left of the previous photo.

The challenge?

How to share the truth of what is happening in Jerusalem?

Muslim woman at ALYN hospital sign saying Go in Peace in Jerusalem Israel

The sign at ALYN says “GO IN PEACE” in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.

Patients and staff, as in Israeli hospitals, universities, and public spaces are available for all.

The challenge is how to share the many positive things happening on the Jerusalem streets.

How to share the truth of what is happening in Jerusalem?

What do you think? What would you like to see and share?

Charity, Saving a Life or Scam?

It’s that time of year again.

 Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, approaches, and it is time for 

tefilah, and teshuvah and zedakah:  prayer and repentance

charity

and appeals to give money for charity. 

Appeals are blasted on the radio, printed in the papers and sent by email.

Jerusalem photo

Small charity collection boxes and

charity boxes

large collection boxes line many Jerusalem, Israel streets.

charity box

Does 100% really go to Zedakah, to the poor? 

In The 7 habits of highly effective schnorrers

beggars, J Street

a friend discusses the sites of successful Jerusalem beggars 

beggar, Old City

from a business marketing perspective.

Techniques are varied,

beggar, Jerusalem street

from a casual stance using a loud-speaker to get attention, 

beggar

 to sitting passively, appearing down and out.

beggar woman, J street

And there is always the traditional plastic cup collection approach.

Israeli VAT, the value added tax, has gone up 1%, 

so already high prices are certain to rise as is the cost of living.

Money is tight for most everyone,

so how does one decide where to give one’s charity money?

bike riders, Alyin ride

Hundreds of riders do Wheels of Love to raise money for Alyn Hospital. 

biker, Jerusalem street

Then there is this bike rider who seems to regularly need money for 

bus fare to her daughter in Bet Shemesh or a few shekels to buy water.

A few hours after I saw her ride by,

beggar, J Street

 this young woman on the right with a small child slung over her shoulder, 

was approaching English speakers on King George Street

 asking for 35 shekel to get back to Haifa.

I recognized her from last year with the same story

and suggested she go to the synagogue for help.

I am always impressed how many people walking on Jerusalem, Israel 

streets will stop, take out money and give to those out-stretched hands.

What are true opportunities to help strangers or what are scams?

I wish I had an answer to the questions, what do you think?

As the year 5772 comes to an end,

it is time for the new year’s greeting to be back on the buses,

sign shana tova bus

Shanah tovah, Happy New Year. 

May 5773 be a prosperous and healthy one for all.

Too Darn Hot

Tel Aviv was recently rated by the Lonely Planet tour guide

as the third “hottest” city in the world

 with “more bars than synagogues.”

Jerusalem might find it hard to compete in that category.

However,  at the end of the ALYN Wheels of Love charity bike ride,

it was so darn hot that most of the bikes

came into Jerusalem in the back of a truck 

with only some of the riders on the back of their bikes.

The entertainer dressed in the monkey costume,

certainly had to be too darn hot.

The weather is not the only thing in Jerusalem that has been hot of late.

The route of the security fence 

and the construction of a fence near the village

of  al-Walejeh, Walaja,  has been hot news.

 Everyone has heard the expression “land for peace”,

even though it was so darn hot,  the Real Jerusalem  Streets

went to see what some of the “land” really looked like.

A large group met our guide in the new train station at Malcha,

which was very quiet on Friday morning.

  Although some  t-shirts displayed political statements,

we were a diverse group,

with plenty of cameras.

After parking our cars along the road,

the climb began up in the Nachal Refaim, Refaim Creek area.

Several times we stopped for lectures on the nature of the area.

Archaeology and antiquities of the area were also stressed.

The car ride had been only a few minutes long, after a brief walk,

 Malcha and Jerusalem were in full view.

 A military jeep on patrol arrived as soon as we reached the flattened area.

 

A man from the village walked to us along the proposed fence route.

He led us to an old olive tree for shade– finally a cool spot.

We were  told among other things,

how a fence will make it hard for him to visit family graves.

These were the only signs of people living in this area,

other than a couple of boys who wandered

around while we were sitting under the olive tree.

From the road the land looks like most of the land of the West Bank,

but from above, as a train passed, it was hard not to think

of how much damage terrorists could do from such a strategic spot.

 

Finally we drove toward the village.

Al-Walaja sits on a mountain top. 

Some beautiful new homes are constructed along the fence route,

but collecting the garbage would vastly improve the site.

As it was too darn hot and too darn late,

by this time the group had dwindled to a few cars.

We did not follow this woman to hear more about the fence.

  Near al-Walaja is Har Gilo, 

where Israelis live behind barbed wire with an electronic security gate.

Near the top of the mountain there were some beautiful views.

The village wants the fence route to go along the road,

not on the top of the hill.

 This tour was intended to encourage people to demonstrate 

at the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday

in support of the villagers of al-Walaja against the fence route,

which was first approved in 2006.

On Monday morning there were big banners,

but by 9:25 am only ten people were in the protest.

Too darn hot?  

The court postponed a final decision for another 40 days.

 On Monday, as on most days in Jerusalem,

the really “hot” spot was the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There were thousands representing many religions from the around the world.

Tel Aviv may have lots of  bars, 

Jerusalem has The Wall.