Jerusalem, Israel is preparing for Pesach, Passover, in a very different way than usual.
Our lives have changed drastically in a short time of a few weeks.
I decided to take time from my Pesach preparations to share some of the good things happening in Jerusalem and beyond.
The lime tree in the garden started blooming yesterday. In spite of Corona, the cycle of spring has officially begun.
In Israel starting on the first of the month of Nissan, on seeing the first blossoms on trees one should say the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם.
Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has withheld nothing from His world, but has created in it beautiful creatures and trees for human beings to enjoy.
President Rivlin went out to the garden at Beit Hanasi to make the blessing.
He and his staff were wearing masks at per official instructions.
President Rivlin’s office also sent out this photo of him and Director-General of Beit HaNasi Harel Tubi selling Israel’s chametz in a video call to the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar.
In Jerusalem, Municipality volunteers handed out over eleven thousand food packages to help the elderly and quarantined residents, three times last week. Thousands of people volunteered daily in Jerusalem delivering food, making phone calls, bringing medicines to the sick, doing good and feeling good, to 12,500 seniors alone at home. Other private volunteer groups have been formed in Jerusalem around the country to assist those in need.
Similar to Tel Aviv municipality, the Jerusalem Ramada Hotel, and empty hotels across Israel lit their windows in the shape of a heart to send a message of solidarity and love to the people of Israel during this difficult time. More and more empty hotels are being converted to “melonit,” locations for those with mild cases of coronavirus to be quarantined.
MDA has set up more and more test sites for testing coronavirus.
A team of over 40 medical experts & engineers from Israel released blueprints for AmboVent, a low-cost, medically tested #COVIDー19 ventilator device, made from off-the-shelf components, to answer the worldwide need for emergency equipment.
In a recent tweet, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh claimed that Israel and its policies thwart efforts to protect Palestinians from the spreading Coronavirus.
While around the world countries closed borders, Israel kept the border to Gaza open. COGAT published its information in an easy to read format. In case the small print is hard to read, 145 tons of medical supplies were sent into Gaza by way of Kerem Shalom Crossing last week. Yet Israel haters have not ceased their campaign of lies against Israel. What they should be questioning is where all the tons and tonnes of materials go.
This photo of Palestinian Authority doctors training in Israel to learn how to treat COVID-19 did make some news sites.
It is interesting that it made the news because, for years, there have been medical training sessions for doctors from Gaza and Arab countries in Israel.
In November 2017, four pediatric emergency room medical specialists from Sydney, Australia came to a Jerusalem hospital to train medical experts from Gaza, Iraq and other Middle East unmentionables.
I have over 500 photos of the Israeli and Arab doctors and nurses working together. The smiling group selfie images to home countries were my favorites. However, for privacy’s sake, I am only sharing this one group photograph.
A big van with loud music playing is making the rounds in Jerusalem as well as other Israeli cities. One day there was loud music coming from the direction of the Israel Museum over the Israeli Scouts base. I tried to get a video for you to hear, but it was difficult over the sounds of traffic and birds.
No moving music truck was spotted on our little street. However, for a second time, the street was sprayed this morning by the municipality.
So I am off the streets for a while, with plenty of Zoom sessions to follow and connect.
Sunday evening Rav Yisrael Meir Lau was the first speaker for a Government Press Office Zoom session live with journalists and rabbis from around the world. Rav Lau stressed we have a common enemy, and with this new enemy the virus, there is no east or west. We have no choice, he said, but to be united. Peace. Friendship. Even love.
At home with my zoom lens, I can get a decent image of Nahlaot.
The Knesset is quiet, as is the Crown Plaza Hotel behind it.
Sorry, still no new unity government to report.
President Reuven Rivlin has gone into a grandfatherly Saba Ruvi mode with another story time.
At least we can all learn the classic Israeli children’s stories and with the English translations, a bit of Hebrew too.
These lights in Tel Aviv were of the Azrieli Tower windows illuminated with “Shema Yisrael HaShem Elokeynu HaShem Ahad – Listen Israel, the L-rd is Our G-d, the L-rd is One.”
Pesach this year coincides with Easter, and Ramadan begins right after.
Tens of thousands will be disappointed not to be on the Jerusalem streets for these religious holidays.
However, here’s hoping for a happy and healthy holiday to all, and one day we can retell the stories of the time of the historic pandemic.