Jerusalem in Autumn Colors

While I miss the colorful autumn leaves from the North Eastern United States, it was a very colorful week in Jerusalem.

Different colors, such as the colorful wedding we attended to start the week.

Occasionally an interesting leaf appears on a Jerusalem street.

But it was the bright yellow of the blooming flowers

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and newly planted Jerusalem flower beds that really got my attention.

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Under a bright blue sky with white clouds, Jerusalem was full of color.

The Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor was awarded to President Nicos Anastasiades of the Republic of Cyprus at Beit Hanasi by President Herzog.

During the ceremony, the colorful flowers outside the window distracted me and caught my attention.

But I put together a short video if you want to see more of the event.

Not only are there new colors in the smaller receiving room,

but new colorful Jerusalem artwork is displayed on the walls.

A few hours after the Medal of Honor ceremony the furniture was rearranged in order to receive the representatives of the political parties to recommend a candidate to form the new government.

As in the recent past, the President’s discussions were broadcast live.

The procedure began with Likud, the party with the most votes.

The media has the same view on screens from a reception space off the main room, however, I decided to go to see what was happening.

Here a TV news person reported in Arabic as the Noam party finished their turn with a recommendation to the President.

I waited to see the United Arab List (Ra’am) delegation comprising Mansour Abbas MK, Yasser Hajirat MK-elect, and Iman Khatib-Yasin MK arrive on the red carpet to tell the President they would not make a recommendation.

I did not stay around to see if they made a comment after or were followed out by journalists for comment as I saw for the Noam members.

The media was out in full when President Isaac Herzog assigned the task of forming a government to Benjamin Netanyahu MK at the President’s Residence today. So glad I got a front-row seat and was not standing on a chair in the back of the crowded room.

But more was happening this week than election news.

How appropriate that a book launch for “A Banker’s Journey: How Edmond J. Safra built a global financial empire” was held at the Israel Museum.

The Museum Theater where author Daniel Gross spoke with journalist Matti Friedman was next to the Edmond and Lily Safra Art Wing.

Colorful posters line some Jerusalem streets announcing events and festivals, like the Tower of David’s ZEROline II 1/2 on November 11-13.

Then there is the Israel Music Showcase Festival on November 22-27 and more, such as The Train Theater conference to begin on International Children’s Day on November 20, entitled, “How a child writes.”

Just when I thought I had finally found a place to enjoy a bit of fall color,

further down the path were big blue signs blocking the way.

Oh, the Jerusalem streets! Fix them and then tear them up again?

But to end with one piece of good construction news,

New tunnel on Route 60 to Gush Etzion

remember the Summer street scenes of the tunnel to Gush Etzion?

It was reported that one of the new tunnels is ready to open this week.

Perhaps some of the traffic backed up coming off of new Route #16 we ease up with the traffic flowing better out of Jerusalem.

It has mostly been warm during the day, so the leaves in Liberty Bell Park are still full and green. Love the Jerusalem colors as winter approaches.

It may not feel like it, but it’s time to plan for Hanukah, only 5 weeks away!

New this year is a Hanukkah tour of Nachlaot starting with donuts.

Or for those interested in a Jerusalem walking tour without the calories to see the colors of the real Jerusalem streets and lights check HERE

Jerusalem in November: More than Elections

At the beginning of November when the clocks changed it was dark so early that 7:00 pm felt like midnight in Jerusalem, Israel.

But the long dark nights are good for noticing the new spots where lights have been added, like here on the top of Mishkanot HaSha’ananim with the Montefiore Windmill in the distance.

The work on France Square and Paris Fountain resumed as new sod was brought and placed instead of the fake grass.

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Work went well after dark to complete the landscaping.

Signs on a temporary barrier warned people to keep off the real grass.

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As construction fences come down more new buildings are visible.

The election for the 25th Knesset took over this week’s news and headlines, with commentators around the world projecting opinions.

The boxes of the low-tech paper slips with letters from the various parties were kept filled so as not to reveal what party was more popular.

But in our neighborhood, the letter ל – lamed – filled the streets. Election Day was a public holiday and student drivers were out in droves for lessons.

My first time voting in a new location and I thought that these steps were cute with colors and names in English. However, on closer look when I got home, I noticed that it was “ORENGE” instead of orange.

But more happened this week in Jerusalem than just the elections.

Aliyah Day was overshadowed by the elections, good thing there is another chance to celebrate Olim in the spring on yud Nissan.

The Zalman Shazar Prize for Jewish History was awarded at Beit Hanasi.

The award recipients sat in the front row with President and Michal Herzog in the President’s Residence main reception room.

Chili Tropper spoke at the event, perhaps for the last time with the expected changes of government, as Minister of Culture and Sports.

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Yesh Atid, but what the future will be for Yair Lapid and his administration is unknown.

Also, this week at Beit Hanasi, was an event hosted by the President for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, which he will head this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Significantly, a woman working for better Bedouin living conditions was included in the program along with government ministers.

I missed the photo op outside of the President with tech leaders, as the door to the smaller diplomatic room was open for the first time in weeks. Renovations were completed and the room has a new look in shades of blue, with new furniture and upholstery in the special seating areas.

Looking back at the yellow decor of the past, I found one of the first photos I took in this room almost 10 years ago.

Almost time for new Chief Rabbis–those who are saying that five elections in under four years were enough, should get ready for more elections when 2023 comes around.

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People come and go, however, one constant in Jerusalem at Beit Hanasi, is the Presidential Cat, but even he was up a tree this past week.

The Jerusalem International Animation Festival, the Einstein Festival, and more new signs are along the Jerusalem streets for November events.

On November 9th, for the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Walter Bingham is to be honored near Jaffa Gate with his image projected on the walls during the Jerusalem commemoration. Walter is the oldest working journalist and is busy planning for his 99th birthday in a few weeks.

If you don’t know his story, Google it, it’s a great one, but way too long for now.

November 23-26 is time for the 10th Piano Festival at the Jerusalem Theater.

The new Jerusalem signs are up to warn to prepare for the winter weather.

In Jerusalem in November, winter is approaching with long dark nights. But it also means the vivid colors of the flowers lining the Jerusalem streets are out during the daylight hours.

Come and see for yourself, on a Jerusalem Photo Walk, what’s really happening on Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Selihot and More

For this Jewish High Holiday season, there is no place like Jerusalem, Israel.

Thousands of people converge from around the world at the Kotel, Western Wall, this photo of those gathered after midnight for the late-night Selihot.

For the past weeks, the sounds of Selihot have filled the Jerusalem streets.

Wednesday night after Rosh Hashana at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, President Isaac Herzog spoke prior to the musical Selihot.

The chairs were set in the back garden next to the Beit Hanasi Beit Knesset, the Synagogue in the corner of the President’s residence grounds.

The music was beautiful and well done, and broadcast live on the President’s Facebook page, plus social media posts in English and Hebrew.

For the more traditional part of the evening, a chazan was at the podium.

Rav Benny Lau and his 929 Bible Study organization organized the event hosted by the President and went into the synagogue to open the ark.

The audience included the 929 participants, the regular morning minyan members, IDF soldiers, plus student groups.

The chazan had a powerful voice and passionate delivery.

I had to share a few minutes with a bit of the beautiful sounds.

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When circling the grounds to stay out of the video cameras to get a close-up,

I had time to stop and noticed this stone and sign,

along with the new dramatic blue lighting placed in the garden.

The basalt lintel (4-7 CE) found in Tiberias with relief of menorah, shofar, lulav, and etrog – perfect for this week between the shofar of Rosh Hashana and holiday of Sukkot.

The Herzogs seem to enjoy staying around at the end of events

and posing for photographs. Want more Selihot photos? HERE

The musical Selihot has grown and changed since President Rivlin had Yisrael Meir at Beit Hanasi 7 years ago.

Now there are special Selihot, by women for women.

At the Tower of David, a musical Selihot event filled the outdoor seating.

And the Sultan’s Pool huge stage had a long list of singers for a major musical Selihot also on Thursday night.

And more this week with an evening at Kikar Safra, on October 3, 2022.

Sounds of landscaping power tools needed video, cleaning the overgrowth from shemita. Jerusalem is to plant 340,000 flowers and 10,000 trees.

Sukkot have been popping up already for the Sukkot holiday which starts on Sunday night October 9, 2022.

Colorful lights are on and flashing over the Jerusalem streets.

The Kite Festival is back at the Israel Museum on October 11.

On October 13, the public is invited to the annual President’s Open Sukkah at Beit Hanasi. The Jerusalem Parade is back again at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, and family events are planned for the day before the 4:00 pm start time of the walking participants.

So much is happening on the Jerusalem streets to start the New Year.

Bonus – major tourist venues announced free admission for children.

Hope to see you here enjoying the holiday season.