Jerusalem Week of Lows and Highs

The news making international headlines is that

Shimon Peres, שמעון בן שרה,

is in the hospital in serious condition on a respirator.

One of my favorite photos of former President Peres

Shimon Peres and Jams Snyder at Israel Museum

was taken at the Israel Museum 50th Birthday Bash 

Who else would be presented with their own photo

taken at opening of the museum fifty years earlier?

Free entrance to the Israel Museum

is being offered this Thursday night.

I wish I could take advantage of the offer, but there are just too many

things happening in Jerusalem, Israel…again!

All the summer concerts in Jerusalem parks

and the Hansen House special children events have ended,

as it’s time to go back to school.

My favorite posters are up,

sign back to school

like this one of the Jerusalem municipality welcoming boys

sign back to school

and girls with “Hello First Graders.”

Where else is the start of school treated

as bigger deal than college graduation?

mekudshet festival sign

Signs are also up for Mekudeshet, a culture festival

with weeks of extensive music and arts programs.

Plus, the annual Italian Festival is also going on this week.

50 years Jerusalem sign Hebrew

Signs are up as the city prepares to celebrate

50 years since the end of the Jordanian occupation

and the reunification of Jerusalem.

A new wall has been erected at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli Presidential official residence.

construction at beit Hanasi

However, it is a temporary barrier

construction site at Israeli President House new entrance

as construction work for a new visitor entrance has begun.

While work proceeded behind the wall,

Beit Hanasi was busy with international visitors.

World Jewish Congress delegates came on Monday,

World Jewish Congress posed for photo with Presidetn Rivlin

and posed for group photo with President Rivlin.

While on Tuesday the spouses and partners of diplomats

posted in Israel were hosted by the Rivlins.

DEI one phot of foreign spouses at biet hanasi

This is one of the group’s photos,

from 80 countries, 33 nations were represented that day.

Some of those visitors had been to Jerusalem many times,

but for others it was their first visit.

How good it is when people come and see the great things

that are happening on the Jerusalem streets for themselves.

Hope to get to some of Jerusalem’s newly-opened parks,

as the countdown to Rosh Hashannah reminds us,

 the new year is coming soon.

Rio 2016 Israeli Olympic Champions

This summer

Jerusalem streets in the city center are covered

with displays from various countries,

Street decorated with flag of Brazil colors in Jerusalem Israel

with this Brazilian flag being one of the most popular.

 Prince of de Ligne of  Belgium,

Tourist of the Week,

told RJS that his wife is from Brazil.

Brazil seemed to be everywhere last week.

The 2016 Olympics are to be held in Rio, Brazil,

from August 5-21.

Reuven Rivlin hosted a Presidential send off

at Beit Hanasi, the official residence.

The Ambassador from Brazil attended along with

Beit Hanasi sendoff for Israeli Olympic participants

members of the Israeli Olympic Teams.

Israel Olympic team at Beit Hanasi

The participants in the 2016 Paralympic Games

to be held in Rio from September 7-18

were also honored at the event.

Miri Regev at Bet Hanasi for sendoff of Israel Olympic teams to Rio

Dignitaries posed and smiled around

Sports Minister Miri Regev.

The largest teams in Israel’s history are heading to Rio.

Each athlete has an impressive story to tell

of dedication and training to reach their goal.

Audience members rise when the President enters,

but not the Paralympic athletes confined to wheelchairs.

Pascale Bercovitch at Beit Hanasi for official Olympic send off with President Reuven Rivlin

One woman had a special smile,

Athletes for Rio Olympics at official sendoff by President

her look was beautiful, thoughtful, determined.

I wondered what her story was.

After the event I found out.

Pascale Bercovitch, at age 17, was living in France.

She slipped on ice rushing to school to take an exam

and a train ran over her, severing both her legs.

However, she made aliyah,

volunteered in the army,

married and started a family.

Israeli athletes pose for group photo in garden of Beit Hanasi

48 Israeli Olympic athletes are competing

in various sports in Rio 2016.

Pascale Bercovitch,

is competing in her third Paralympic games,

in her third sport, kayaking.

If that is not enough for a double amputee,

she was 40 years old at her first Paralympics Games.

Official sendoff photo Paralympic team from Israel

Each athlete has an impressive story.

Each Para-athlete has a story.

I had wondered about the woman,

with a radiant face and huge smile,

but never could I have imagined such a story.

Her positive attitude shows us how one

can succeed in Olympic proportions.

All the best to to Pascale,

and all the other athletes off to Brazil.

Follow Team Israel 

US Vice-President Biden Returns to Jerusalem

US Vice-President Joe Biden was in town this week.

When he visited five years ago,

it was a blog-worthy occasion, a very no-frills visit,

as compared to a US Presidential visit to Jerusalem, Israel.

But this visit was not like last time.

no parking near Beit Hanasi for Biden visit

The big red no-parking signs were not warnings for the

upcoming Jerusalem Marathon street closings,

but for Vice-President Biden’s visit to

President Reuven Rivlin at Beit Hanasi,

the official residence of the Israeli President.

red carpet out for Joe Biden visit and shade up

The red carpet was unfurled,

and for an extra layer of security, this blue tarp was erected.

Beit Hanasi set for Biden

Flags, flowers and podiums were arranged.

food for press at beit hanasi for Biden visit

Hamentashen were among the sweets served to munch.

There was a long delay and wait,

because the VP stayed longer than planned

 with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Finally, it was show time.

Rivlin waits for Biden to arrive

Key players were in their positions.

The motorcade arrived.

A huge US vehicle with DC license plates

and adorned with US and Israeli flags

Biden in special DC car at beit hanasi

 pulled up along the carpet with swarms of security,

VP Biden greeted by Reuven Rivlin

and the United States Vice-President.

International press lined the way ready to report.

Such coordination,

Rivlin and Bedin walk into Beit Hanasi

 even their ties matched.

I was late for a meeting and left after the speeches,

Biden and Rivlin shake hands

right after the official hand shake.

US cars of motorcade Biden

The waiting cars of the motorcade filled the driveway,

Beit hanasi security screen

while security shades blocked the view.

This was a full scale production,

everyone knew that Joe Biden was here this time.

And don’t you know it,

as soon as I turned around to leave there she was–

another one of those Arab girls!

Arab girl driving lesson

Crazy layers of security, a street lined with police cars,

bomb squads whose photos I cannot share,

and there was an Arab girl having a driving lesson.