Jerusalem after Tisha B’Av: Mourning to Celebrating

Jerusalem after Tisha B’Av: Mourning to Celebrating

Oh, Jerusalem!

Jerusalem has just completed another Tisha B’Av.

Kotel on Tisha B'Av night during COVID-19

Instead of past years with crowds of tens of thousands, there were 1,000 people allowed at the Kotel,  the Western Wall, at night.

Jerusalem, Israel during corona men siting on ground for Eicha

Sections were divided off and marked to permit the small groups allowed to follow the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

Kotel Women's section divided for COVID-19 regulations

The women’s section which in the past was crowded with thousands had barriers also.

Reading Eicha, Lamentations, in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park, had a much smaller attendance.

Jerusalem Damascus Gate at night

Damascus Gate at night was quieter than usual as the 26th annual walk around the Old City Walls, limited this year to 50 participants, passed by.

Walking in Jerusalem at night of Tisha B'Av during COVID-19 regulations

On the other side of the street, the shops were all open late for Eid al-Adha preparations. The Muslim fast day coincided with Tisha B’Av this year, and at sunset they began a 3-day celebration.

Good news. The social workers and nurses are back to work after short strikes.

Israel Museum employees protest prolonged closing and no pay

Israel Museum employees held a peaceful protest holding up signs to passing traffic.

The only loud noises were cars honking in support.

Due to coronovirus restrictions Israel Museum closed

The Israel Museum has been closed since the coronavirus crisis began. On Thursday, museum director Ido Bruno announced a $4million donation from the American Friends of the Israel Museum. Plans to reopen are said to be underway.

Olive tree in Jerusalem Israel park

On the hill below the Israel Museum, olives are on the trees.

Gan Sacher in Jerusalem no Pele in the morning

Last week Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was empty.

The end of school year summer outings were not happening.

This morning, it was good to see children back in the Jerusalem park.

Jerusalem’s usual summer conferences have moved online, to Facebook and Zoom.

StreetBal competition in Bell Park Jerusalem Israel

The annual Jerusalem sport event of Street Ball has been canceled.

Flags from around world in Jerusalem March on chol hamoed Sukkos

Thousands of flags of the Jerusalem Parade will not fill the Jerusalem streets this year. The official cancellation was announced this week.

The day after Tisha B’Av, fifteen years ago, 8,500 Israeli citizens were forced out of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four communities in Samaria.

photo of photo of Gush Katfi before it was destroyed

These beautiful homes were destroyed 15 years ago. The expulsion did not bring peace.

Instead, thousands of rockets, missiles, and destructive burning balloons.

I went to see the rebuilding starts of Gush Katif victim nine years ago 

From Gush Katif Museum memorial for destroyed communities.

and the Gush Katif Museum five years ago.

That is an ongoing unpleasant chapter of Israeli history.

Jerusalem Israel Hurva Synagogue Old City

However, a much more pleasant story is what happened at the Hurva Synagogue 100 years ago. The historic and memorable first visit of the first British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, after his installation.  Samuel was a knowledgeable Jew who participated in the Shabbat morning service.

"photo Hurva", "Hurva synagogue picture"

Today at the rebuilt and re-inaugurated synagogue which was destroyed by Jordanian Legion in 1948, a special ceremony is to be held in honor of the centennial. However, attendance will be extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Coronavirus safety sign in Hebrew

Highs and lows. And new Corona signs have been posted.

Jerusalem First Station sign for Leonardo da Vinci summer 2020 exhibit

New signs were up for “Leonardo da Vinci -The First Start-up entrepreneur,” the theme of a new exhibit at First Station for this summer.

Hebrew sign in Jerusalem for love not hate.

The next day this sign – “Needed Now “Baseless Love” sign was posted.

The protests near the Prime Minister’s residence have gone on unabated.

They are loud and they disturb the residents well past the 11:00 pm noise curfew.

I think the police have used great restraint with these provocateurs.

On to much better news to share, a notice for יריד היין הגדול של ירושלים.

At First Station, the Jerusalem Wine Festival is planned for  August 11– 13, 6 pm – 11:55 pm.

In local sports news, Israeli soccer is to return at the end of August.

Online tours galore can be found for those who are home-bound.

Jerusalem National Library building under construction

The National Library construction site had workers busy on the roof areas.

Now that Tisha B’Av is over, it’s almost Tu B’Av and time for celebrations and music.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

 

Rediscovering Ancient Jerusalem before Tisha B’Av

Rediscovering Ancient Jerusalem before Tisha B’Av

Oh, Jerusalem.

How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people!

So begins Eicha, the Book of Lamentations read at night on Tisha B’Av.

We are in what is known as the Nine Days that end with Tisha B’Av, Wednesday night, and Thursday, August 29 – 30, 2020.

With the COVID-19 restrictions, the Old City will not be teeming with crowds as usual.

Jerusalem Western Wall plaza view

This view from the step toward Plaza of the Kotel, the Western Wall, is well known.

Jerusalem on eve of Hodesh Av leading Israeli rabbis praying during corona virus pandemic

The area inside called Wilson’s Arch is not as familiar. This inside space had been closed much of the time due to coronavirus restrictions.

Jerusalem Israel chief rabbis praying at Kotel on Rosh Chodesh Av

However, this week on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Av, leading Israeli rabbis attended a special afternoon service to pray for health and relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

Underneath the Jerusalem streets, excavations continue with new finds.

Jerusalem Archaeological discovererstorage center from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Manasseh (8th
Photo credit: IAA

A significant administrative storage center from the days of Kings Hezekiah and Manasseh (8th century to the middle of the 7th century BCE) was recently been exposed in an archaeological excavation near the US Embassy in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem City of David Pilgrim Path

Restoration work has progressed on the Pilgrims’ Path.

Jerusalem road excavated City of David

This is the road underground which runs from Shiloah Pool to the Old City, where the Jewish Temples once stood.

Important Pilgrim path from Shiloah Pond to Har Habayit and Temple Mount

The actual old stones remain along what was the busy route on the holidays thousands of years ago.

Excavation of new entrance to Western Wall Plaza

Three years ago when it was first opened to media,

this video was recorded for an official explanation.

Scene of Jerusalem Cardo in time of Rome

The Roman market place might have looked like this scene.

Drainage path under Jerusalem during Roman times

Under Pilgrim Road, the drainage system has also been excavated. This is where the last Jews hid until the Romans found and murdered them.

Looking for any bones or stones or coins sifting project

The earth removed was carefully searched for bits of history, last year we participated in the sifting project. The best we found were nice pieces of pottery.

Ancient Roman coin found by City of David

However, discoveries include this Roman coin issued after the destruction of Jerusalem.

Five years ago the exhibit “By the Rivers of Babylon” opened at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, see HERE – and is still a favorite.

With only limited attendance allowed in museums now due to corona health restrictions, new for this year is a virtual tour of BLMJ exhibit HERE now you can see for yourself,

Bible lands Museum Jerusalem artifacts from Roman destruction of Temple times

The Romans destroyed the Temple and leveled Jerusalem.

The Jewish inhabitants were murdered or exiled.

Jerusalem Israel Western Wall stones of destruction from Rome

Stones of destruction as they remain today.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the first time in many years, I do not plan to walk around the walls of the Old City on Tisha B’Av.

Western Wall Plaza view at night

Crowds will not pack into the Kotel, Western Wall plaza this year.

Old City Jerusalem Menorah for Temple lit for Tisha B'Av

COVID-19 restrictions are limiting the annual walk to 50 people.

How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people!

Next year in Jerusalem, even for those of us in Jerusalem has taken on new meaning.

Jerusalem Streets Go Virtual for Passover Pleasure

Jerusalem Streets Go Virtual for Passover Pleasure

Jerusalem, Israel this time of year is usually one of the busiest.

Pesach, Passover, has many other names, including the holiday of spring, and the holiday of freedom. Streets are usually full of people, rental cars, tour buses, and holiday pilgrims.

This year the yearning for freedom from home isolation was felt around the world as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic kept people inside their homes.

This year with Pesach and Easter coinciding streets should have been packed.

Instead, they are empty.

Three years ago this was the scene at the Kotel, Western Wall for Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing.

Ten men prayed together at the Kotel and recited the blessing today.

A tiny microbe has done what wars, stabbings, suicide bombers, car-rammings and other forms of terror could not accomplish.

However, if nothing else, Israelis are resilient.

Moving off the streets and online, here are five suggestions to experience Jerusalem over this holiday week.

  1.  Instead of sharing places to go and things to do in Jerusalem, Fun in Jerusalem is offering at home ideas.

2. The Tower of David Museum has virtual tours free for this week, check out one introductory tour HERE

Or take time and explore the site for other tours HERE

3. The Jerusalem Cinematheque is closed. Last month when I went to a special performance, already concerned about the virus, I heard a woman coughing. Quickly I went in ahead of and away from her. Hard to believe that was just over a month ago and one of their last events.

However, the Cinematheque is offering a wide variety of entertainment links, from first-rate old US movies to ‘Peter and the Wolf’ performed by the Royal Ballet and Metropolitan Opera mega productions: HERE

4. The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem is also at work getting more content online: HERE you can see the video from Yemen exhibit.

5. Experience the Western Wall Tunnel Tours from home:

Sadly the exciting Jerusalem night shows are on hold.

But here is a bit of the introduction to the Tower of David Night Show.

And the City of David Sound and Light Show Finale.

Hoping all stay well, wishing you a healthy holiday.

Let’s keep in touch virtually, until we can see you again soon on the Jerusalem streets.