How is this Passover Different than all others?

Passover, Pesach how is this Passover holiday 5784/2024 different from all others?

The new National Library of Israel was open and offered organized tours. This room is filled with unique volumes and ancient works in a modern technological setting.

There is an old colorful illuminated Haggadah used for Passover in the past.

This is the only surviving copy of the first Haggadah printed, in Spain in 1482.

There are also on display two printed in 1952 for the IDF. After 10,000 copies were printed, this secular version which removed Divine deliverance was suppressed at the last minute. Prime Minister Ben Gurion had them collected and destroyed, with only 20 copies surviving.

The National Library was not the only busy place over the holiday time, Mamilla Mall had new art pieces.

Extra security was visible in Mamilla Mall and at other popular tourist locations.

The sign near Jaffa Gate welcomed all with greetings for a Happy Passover.

Once again dozens of museums throughout Israel were open, including the Tower of David Jerusalem.

The Burnt House Museum in the Old City was also one open without an entrance fee.

It was good to be inside on the extremely hot intermediate days of Passover this year.

Despite the intense heat and security concerns, tens of thousands of people arrived Thursday morning for the Birkat Cohanim, Priestly Blessing at the Kotel, Western Wall.

The Kessim, Ethiopian religious leaders were easily spotted standing under their colorful umbrellas with a crowd of followers around them near the live cameramen and the stand for emergency medical care.

The women’s section was especially crowded in the few shaded areas.

However, people were standing in the sun on the rooftops all around the Western Wall plaza for the view.

One man found a quiet spot from the Aish building for a few minutes of private introspection and prayer.

The Chief Rabbis and dignitaries had their vantage point above the crowd.

This year at the end of the morning service with the Birkat Cohanim, special prayers were added for the safe return of the hostages and security in all of Israel.

The family of hostage Eliya Cohen had attended the service at the Kotel and were leaving as more people arrived by way of Jaffa Gate.

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Thousands of people kept coming and going all day and most of the night to the Old City of Jerusalem.

What was different this year was that the crowds were somewhat smaller. Some families who usually come did not. However, other families were in Israel many times, but their first time for Pesach!

This year a cloud hung over the festivities, wanting the hostages to be returned to their families so they too could enjoy the holiday of Pesach, of freedom from bondage.

Everyone is concerned for the safety of soldiers and civilians both north and south and civilians, under constant rocket fire.

More images posted on Facebook HERE

The Haggadah reminds us each year, that enemies arise, but ends with “Next year in Jerusalem!”

Hoping next year to welcome you all to the Jerusalem streets.

What’s Happening for Purim in Jerusalem this Year?

Purim is celebrated in Jerusalem on Shushan Purim – a day after the rest of the world.

As I mentioned most years, it feels so strange to those of us who grew up elsewhere.

Megilat Esther in Israel Museum

Megillat Esther, Scroll of Esther, is read at night and again during the day.

Purim past megillah reading on Jerusalem street corner

Ten years ago Chabad Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg was at a megillah reading on Azza Street.

His initiative AZZA ZAZA has grown to hourly readings, day and night, on more Jerusalem streets.

Strange creatures have been spotted on Jerusalem streets for many days before Purim.

A princess was seen in a park ably managing the play equipment in a big hoop skirt.

Make-up stores were busy before the holiday began.

Wine for the festive Purim meal was on display in Jerusalem shopping malls.

Jerusalem celebrates Purim

Remember the large sign for the Purim parade Adloyadah?

Due to complaints from hostage families, the name has been changed to the United Purim Parade.

As the hostage tragedy drags on into a sixth month, the concerns about their welfare heightens.

Hamentashen

This Purim, the fillings for hamentashen have taken less attention than in some years.

While there are many more IDF costumes this year.

Happy Purim on Jerusalem Montefiore Windmill

The Montefiore Windmill was dressed up during the pandemic when no events were allowed.

This year the Purim events in multiple locations around Jerusalem are too many to list.

Happy Purim bus sign in Hebrew

Purim Sameach!

Happy Purim!

10 New Things to See in Jerusalem

As usual, there is too much happening to share in one Real Jerusalem Streets photo essay.

This week it was again hard to cut down, but here are highlights of just 10 new events that may have not made your regular media headlines.

  1. The first of two Jerusalem Marathon 2024 finish lines is up over the Jerusalem street for all to see.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization’s annual National Leadership Mission, February 18-22, began with Minister Benny Gantz speaking to delegates at the Inbal Hotel.

2. The mission concluded at the StandWithUs Center with Michael Dickson moderating a panel on social media featuring the new success in numbers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Digital Diplomacy.

Check out them out, trying to combat the billions of hate posts out there.

It is worth a visit to the Jerusalem Shalva Center if only for the writings on the walls.

3. But this time a new sign was also worth noticing, happy that one of the hostages has returned home.

4. The Taub Center Conference at Shalva focused on municipal elections, with more women on a panel of experts than men.

5. New advertising boards are showing election posters for the February 27th Jerusalem municipal elections.

6. The new entrance to the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum is to open soon to the public.

7. Also new, is a public area to sit and enjoy the view outside. Notice the entrance is intentionally not visible from the street. The new modern look respects the old stones of the ancient walls.

On a personal note, I was surprised to see my photo in the informative session for media before the tour of the new entrance and Tower of David’s historic galleries.

The Tower of David is an iconic symbol of Jerusalem – used on everything, including cheese.

8. The new technology used in the exhibits could fill a book and fill the galleries.

Of course, a favorite when visiting the Tower of David is to climb to the top for the views.

Especially on a clear day after a few days of rain, the scenes are amazing.

9. But new to the view is the white Dome of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue nearing completion. The Hurva Synagogue is closer on the right side. In the distance, you see the mountains in Jordan over the Dead Sea.

The Tower of David Museum finished its accessible entrance near Jaffa Gate, and now plans are underway for the area revealed under the plaza outside of Jaffa Gate.

Some southern families are returning home, however, there are still thousands of evacuated people living in various hotels in Jerusalem and throughout the country.

An opportunity to be on the roof of the Aish Center Building in the Old City is hard to pass up.

In the dark is the model of the Temple shines, with the Dome of the Rock in the background.

10. New is the gold lighting on the Al-Aqsa Mosque at night, in contrast to how it looks during the day.

Rabbi Eitiel Goldwicht was inspiring a solidarity mission from the West Side Institutional Synagogue. 

11. Nearby on a rooftop, a new couple was posing for photos and video – mazel tov.

Akiva Turgeman and Ishay Ribo were at Aish for a benefit concert for soldiers and evacuated Israelis.

I didn’t get a video of their performance, but I did get a short video of one of the exhibits at the entrance of the Tower of David Jerusalem Museum.

And it was good just to have a chance to walk through the Rova, Jewish Quarter, and see the golden menorah outside the Hurva Synagogue at night.

New things are happening on the Jerusalem streets,

hope you can come soon to see for yourself.