Israel 70 Years: Past and Future

Israel 70 Years: Past and Future

Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, is usually one big celebration from nightfall to nightfall. Since most people are not working, families and friends plan to get together.

It is like one giant Sunday to make up for a year of no Sunday vacation days.

Yom Haatzmaut fly over the Knesset for #Israel70

The flyovers are over.

The coals from tens of thousands of grills have gone cold.

Watching air show in Jerusalem, Israel on Yom Haatzmaut

Those big plastic hammers are put away and kids are back in school.

But this year with Israel 70 events, the celebrating keeps going.

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, Israel, hosted an evening in honor of Israel 70.

After food (of course, this is Israel), and the Prime Minister speaking, there was a panel with three ambassadors. There were remarks by US Ambassador David Friedman, on the good ol’ days in Israel, way before cell phones, which got me thinking about doing another Israel 70 post.

I walked home from the Begin Center past Ester lit up and looking like a giant space pod in the Hansen House garden.

Main garden of Hansen House with Ester wood structure for Israel 70

By day Ester, built in honor of Israel 70, looks like a giant popsicle stick structure.

Hansen Gardens on pleasant afternoon people reading

Hansen gardens, where in the past the most ill of Jerusalem would sit in the sun, are attracting new visitors to spend time to sit and read.

Hansen office as in time of Leper Hospital

In this infirmary, the leper patients were treated.

Old washing machine in Hansen House display of old Jerusalem

On display is what could be the first Uber. To think this was an upscale washing machine not so many years ago, and some of us complain about small size or long cycles of Israel modern machines.

In old setting a woman uses lap top at former Hansen Hospital in Jerusalem Israel

But those are two show rooms to remind us of what was. Now there are tech events held in the building. There is a cafe where old typewriters are on display, while people sit and work on their laptops.

Hansen House now has small natural food store as well as restaurant. Jerusalem Israel

There is a store with health foods and organic vegetables, and cheese in a refrigerated glass display case.

Outhouse from Hansen Hospital Jerusalem Israel

When Hansen Hospital opened it was a show-piece of modernity. It bragged of a foot bridge from the second floor rooms to the large outhouses.

Some people do not listen to music this time of year, but I had to do a very quick video. Today in Hansen House, push a button and there is a music option in the new modern loo.

Ambassador Sallai Meridor warned at the Begin Center, on the panel after Amb. Friedman, a “world major tsunami is coming. Kids who start school today will go into jobs we have never heard of and the demand for ingenuity is just beginning.”

Hansen House is but one example of change in Israel over the last 70 years.

New neighborhood in Modiin Israel

Go to Modi’in. See what has been built in the middle of nowhere. This location selected because it was between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was barren except for dirt and rocks 35 years ago.

Where will Israel be like in 70 years?

Who would have ever imagined what has been developed and accomplished in the past 70 years?


This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

Passover is one of the three festivals

on which there were traditional pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

This year on all the days of Passover

Old City on Easter and Passover

thousands of people walked to the Old City

Buses to Kotel on chol hamoed

or arrived by bus after bus, on the intermediate days of the holiday,

Western wall passover

 dressed in their holiday finest at the Kotel, Western Wall, plaza.

Kossel of Pesach

Prayers started early and

Davenng at Kossel for Pesach tefilla with tora chol hamoed

went well into the day, with participants all ages

Kotel on Pesach, women's section

on both sides of the mechitza partition,

Robinson's Arch Kotel Plaza Pesach

and in the new area where all pray together.

Holiday scenes from the Old City
view of Har Hazetim from Old City

included buses lining the road on the Mount of Olives,

Street scene Jerusalem, Israel Old City

as well as people coming and going as usual.

New to these ancient streets is

Train for tourists in Old City

the colorful tourist train which starts from Jaffa Gate

crowded street in Old City for Pesach

and shares the road with buses, cars, segways,

and pedestrians going in both directions.

This year since Passover and Easter coincided,

I was hoping to find more Easter scenes,

Copts in Jerusalem for Easter

but I came much too late for sunrise services.

I did spot a few men leaving the Old City,

perhaps they were Copts from Egypt.

Jaffa Gate on Pesach with man selling bread

 Easter buns and beigele were being sold by the Jaffa Gate

for anyone craving fresh baked goods on Passover.

However, there were more things to do in Jerusalem

View from gesher at Begin Center

than just going to the Old City.

Gan Paamon skate park

In the roller-blade/skate park in Gan HaPa’amon,

the Liberty Bell Park, Arab parents watched their children skate

along with Jews, both religious and secular.

Nearby, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center

Menachem Begin photo

had activities and free tours all day long.

I did not know that tours

had to be booked in advance.

But since we arrived at the end of the day,

we were able to wait a bit and join a tour.

I usually mention the tour on photo walks in the area.

Now that I finally took the tour myself

I will continue to recommend it

for its important historical information

presented in a modern, moving exhibit.

From old to new,

the evolution of the haggadah

was the theme of this  Kol HaOt event at Inbal Hotel.

Signs of the seder evolution of haggadah

Israeli artists displayed their works,

while speakers elaborated on seder symbols,

design, and the history of haggadot.

The page on the right which reads “Next year in Jerusalem”

illustrated with modern building cranes and trucks.

For me, an illustration of the transition from ancient to modern.

There is so much building in Jerusalem,

things are constantly changing.

Jerusalem Botanical gardens

A place where one can really appreciate the development

is the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,

which also had free admission on Passover thanks to Bank Hapoalim.

The new entrance way

Jerusalem gardens view of pond

leads to the pond

people reflected in pond

where people gathered to enjoy nature.

eat matzah sandwiches and ice cream treats.

Pray Shin-Min

Shin-Min, “pray and and flowers will come out” in Japanese

is carved on this stone, but more than prayers went into

Botanical gardens

turning this old derelict space into

a beautiful, expansive nature area, with comfortable paths.

Tour in Botanical gardens on Pesach

Organized tours were available,

but the gardens are divided into well-marked growth areas,

such as Australia and South Africa,

and all the vegetation is identified.

Group on grass in Botanical Gardens

Groups or individuals could easily

meet, eat, and explore

bath in garden in Jerusalem Israel

this man-made oasis in the middle of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

There was much more to see in the Botanical Gardens,

Flowers, Botanical gardens Jerusalem

but the festive holiday meals involve lots of preparation.

Over the holiday, the overcast skies finally cleared.

Rain was predicted,

but only enough fell to get the dirt out of the air

and cover everything.

Passover greeting on bus

but not enough to ruin holiday outings

or the Passover greeting on the buses.

Inspiration for 2014 in Jerusalem

Inspiration for 2014 in Jerusalem

I was having trouble finding something positive to share,

as the clock ticked to the end of 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Everyone has heard enough kvetching about the snow

and the massive clean up which is still going on.

image protest Jerusalem, Photo Israel protest, picture protest signs.

The protest against prisoner releases was sad enough,

picture protest at night, image Israel protets, photo protest banners.

but the “March with Umbrellasin the cold, wet dark night,

found many depressed by this “gesture of good will.”

The next morning the sun was shining,

image Bell Park , Jerusalem park photo, picture Jerusalem Bell Park

 and the fresh blue paint in the Liberty Bell Park looked good. 

It was interesting to see how 100 years after

 Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Halevi Herzog z”l  wrote on his dissertation 

about Tekhelet, that maybe a “student of chemistry may be interested”

that a conference filled the auditorium at The Begin Heritage Center.

But it was still not what I wanted for an inspiring blog to end the year.

However, I was back at The Begin Center the next day,

for another conference with another long list of impressive speakers.

And then,

photo inspirtational speaker, picture Noam Gershony, image Olympic gold medal winner

 Noam Gershony stood at the podium and started to tell his story.

How he was so close to death the doctors held little hope for him.

How he lost his leg and almost his life in Second Lebanon War.

How his friend Dov next to him was killed.

How he slowly came back to life, 

to play tennis, 

image skiing one leg, photo Noam Grshony, picture disabled skier

 to ski on Mount Hermon,

image disables biker, Noam Gershony riding a bike, photo bike rider with one leg

and to ride a bike.

By the time he finished his story of winning a gold medal

at the 2012 Olympics in London with the music of Hatikvah  playing,

there was hardly a dry eye in the room.

image Noam Gershony, picture Noam Gershony, photo standing ovatiion

After he finished and received a standing ovation,

image Noam Gerhsony, photo man walking with one leg, photo Noam Gershony

Noam walked to the elevator surrounded by admirers.

That was it,

what I want to share,

what the world must see.

Certainly not everyone can win a gold medal in the Olympics,

but Noam Gershony exemplifies the Israeli spirit.

After what happened to him, 

he did not become a suicide bomber,

but he does blow people away.

He inspires them to get up and get going,

no more excuses, too tired, too busy.

Now let’s make 2014 a good and positive year for all.