Jerusalem Prepares for Purim

Purim is a big deal in Israel,

Especially in Jerusalem, where celebrations go on and on,

not for a day or two like the rest of world,

but starting at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar

and continuing for two weeks.

This year it has been hard to figure out,

what is real.

What is Purim nonsense?

What is satire?

What is a joke?

truck fro Israeli elections

 You can see trucks like this one driving around

all the time blasting happy music.

This van, however, is also promoting a political party running for Knesset seats.

No joke, and there is an official pot party too,

as in marijuana, in the race for our new government.

This year an Anglo Vote Event was held in Cinema City,

bugs bunner and goofy at Cinema City

 two of my favorite characters were with the hot chocolate cakes.

Some of the political parties were represented

and candidates answered questions in English.

As one friend noted, no female candidates were in attendance.

However, there is one new party where women do have a voice.

haredi women running for Knesset

Ruth Culian (right) and Noa Erez are two of four women

running in a new party of religious women,

בזכותן  B’Zehuton which means “in their merit.”

To their credit, this is trail-blazing effort.

It took a lot of guts for Ruth to go to law school

and start a political campaign in her community,

  maybe even more than for the Prime Minister

to make a speech in Washington, DC.

go in peace sign

.A sign wishing Bibi well was hung on the String Bridge.

There were more talking heads in the media,

for and against the speech,

than I could count.

Fromer ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Here former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

was headed to the Jerusalem Press Club for one pre-speech debate.

The speech is over.

The Prime Minister is back,

but the talking is still going on and on.

And on the real streets,

the snow felt like ancient history, 

ice skating in Jerusalem

as a new ice skating rink opened in Cinema City.

cat resting in sun Jerusalem Israel streets

The cats enjoyed the warm weather,

flowers jerusalem

and wild flowers exploded in open spaces.

Purim treats

However, the real color and excitement was for Purim.

Purim costumes

 Children are wearing their costumes everywhere.

Adults wearing Micky Mouse ears while driving in cars.

People dressed in wild outfits and

crazy hats while eating in restaurants.

Most anything can be seen this week on the streets,

at least through Shushan Purim and the weekend,

we can assume it is all in the holiday spirit.

purim samech

Happy Purim.

Jerusalem Knights Back in Saddle for Old City Festival

The Jerusalem Knights Festival is back again in the Old City.

Since attending the Jerusalem Knights first night,

I have tried to return each year to see what is new and different.

image Jerusalem Knights, photo people blowing horns, oto

These trumpets and trumpeters greeted visitors

as they approached the Walls of the Old City at the Jaffa Gate.

image inside Jaffa GAte

Upon entering  Jaffa Gate

image dancing girls, Jerusalem knights festival

the plaza was filled with dancing-girls and spectators.

image actor in medivial costume

Many actors were positioned along the route,

image actor in costume, photo old costume and cell phone. man using cell phone picture

but this gladiator with his cell phone has to be my favorite photo.

spider costume photo, image man dressed in costume.

Some costumes were unusual, 

image knights festival. photo stage

and others like these Medieval fashion show costumes

were hard to see, as crowds blocked the view of the stage.

Young children on shoulders have a distinct advantage at this event.

image walls Old City , photo fire, picture Old City walls night

However, this man with a lit torch on top of the walls was easy to see,

 everyone who looked up could see the fire show.

image clown, photo clown, picture jester in costume

Many performances, like this clown act and jugglers,

entertained the thousands of young children who attended.

image sign in Old City, picture Jerusalem signs, photo Jerusalem Knights

The route this year was both through and around the Armenian Quarter, 

sparing the residents of the Christian and Jewish Quarters

the noise of four consecutive Thursday nights,

with thousands of people outside their windows late into the night.

image people posing for picturs

These photo-ops were not just for the kids.

image old instruments, picture old musical intstruments

Medieval musical instruments

image old intstruments., picture medical musical instruments, photo old musical instrument

were featured at more than one site.

Old City walls, image festival, photo Jerusalem knights

Movies screened on the walls of the Old City in Gan Habonim

could never have been predicted by Medieval seers.

iamge old city, photo knights, picture Jerusalem

There were live shows with plenty of tacky costumes,

image man on horse, photo knight

but beautiful real horses.

two men on horses, knights on horses photo, picture real horses

There were also knights in not-so shining armor jousting,

image Old City, photo out side walls old city

colorful lights, the Gravita aerial-acrobats,

and a Knights’ Pub with a bar with real wine.

Though there are those who oppose the idea,

 once again thousands and thousands of people

were out on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets, enjoying the experience.

The last night of Knights, is Thursday night, November 21.

In Jerusalem, Fulfilling the Zionist Dream

As usual, there is much happening in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jewish community leaders from around the world are gathering

 with four major conferences in one week,

including the Board of Governors of Jewish Agency 

and the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly.

There has been a “summit” on Jewish identity

and a talk about Ethiopian Jewry.

But what a shame

these world leaders were not around last week 

on the 29th of Heshvan to experience the annual Sigd holiday,

which falls 50 days after Yom Kippur.

image Sigd, Sigd photo, picture Sigd celebration

They would have seen the tens of thousands of Ethiopian

olim from all around Israel who came

image Sigd, photo Sigd, picutre Sigd on Tayelet

to the Tayelet, on the Sherover Promenade, to celebrate.

photo of Sigd, image Ehtiopian dancers. picture Sigd

There were young people doing traditional dances,

picture Ethiopian men, image Sigd, photo men at Sigd

elders sitting quietly, 

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Sigd holiday picture

and women in traditional white.

image Sigd, Sigd stage photo, picture Sigd stage

The main stage was filled with Kessim, the spiritual leaders, 

under their colorful umbrellas.

image Sigd with umbrella, photo Sigd, picture umbrella

 I am not sure why this one was not on stage.

image Sigd., Sigd photo crowd, picture crowd at Sigd

It was so crowded that only a few could actually see the stage,

and most did not even try.

image Ethiopian man at Sigd,, imge Sigd

Most people were walking and talking,

image food at Sigd, Sigd woman offering food, picture traditional food Sigd

some were fasting, while others offered food.

For centuries in their villages in Ethiopia,

  the Kes went to a hilltop to pray for the return to Zion,

and now their prayers were answered and they are here in Jerusalem.

From this spot with the best view of the Old City, 

 they can pray for the rebuilding of the Temple.

Ethiopian soldiers, Sigd celebration photo, image Sigd

Many faced poverty and discrimination,

image Sigd, photo Israeli soldiers, male and female soldiers

some walked through deserts from Ethiopia to get here,

and everyone had to learn about this new, strange culture and adjust to it.


Sigd image, photo Sigd, Picture Ethiopians in

 some of my favorite scenes were of the young people in uniform,

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Ethoipians in

proud Israeli soldiers.

image Sigd, Sigd photo, Sigd holiday picture

Buses were lined up all around the area for most of the day.

image Arab woman, photo Arab woman walking, Israeli apartheid

Thousand of Israelis of Ethiopian origin filled the streets.

While Jewish world leaders talk,

these Ethiopians ‘just did it.’

They came to Israel

and are living their ancestors’ Zionist dream.