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.


15 Favorites of Sukkot

The seasons have changed,

 days are shorter

and evenings are cooler.

 Children are back in school

 after a long break for holidays.

It was, as always, a busy holiday season,

but before getting back to business,

I want to share a few favorites from Sukkot 5744.

Sukkos in Yerushaylim

Many share photos of Jerusalem, Israel’s religious neighborhoods

where every residence has a sukka,

Unusual sukka photo, image sukkah that is different.

but my favorite this year was this sukka in a forest outside Jerusalem.

So many sukkot are on the streets, one year I did Only Sukkot,

image sukkah with people in it

but it is so nice to pass by a new sukka in a spot which was empty in recent years,

and see someone you know sitting inside. 

Israeli president garden image

Thousands waited to pass through the Presidential sukka,

view of sukkah inside

but be it ever so humble, our sukka is also a favorite.

Eating in sukkah

For some, Sukkot was the holiday of pizza in a hut.

pile of boxes from pizza

I wonder how many thousands of pizzas were consumed over the holiday?

People gathered from all over the world for family celebrations.

It started to rain on this bar mitzvah party,

Sukkah open walls image

and then the wind blew a shade umbrella on top of sukka.

The weather was almost as crazy as we remembered in Melbourne,

but nothing could dampen holiday parties.

Decorated sukkah image, large sukka photo

The huge public sukka in Kikar Safra was again a favorite this year.

For weeks a friend has been asking,  Have you seen the bikes?

bicycles that show energy use, image special bikes

These are the special bikes that share the plaza with the sukka

and they were a favorite for all who came to government square.

The Jerusalem March went from Gan Sacher through Jerusalem,

it was a huge international event.

Jerusalem march Nigeria

There seemed to be fewer participants from Nigeria this year,

but Israel is a favorite destination for Nigerians all year-long.

Many Israeli groups marched also,

Jerusalem March El Al pilots

two of my favorites were the El Al pilots who stopped to dance

Jerusalem March with football club

and the Jerusalem football club members who came dressed in uniform.

There were more rain drops during the parade, 

but spectators did not seem to mind,

people watching a parade

and loved cheering and receiving flags.

spectators with signs image.

Some held signs showing just how much they appreciated the marchers’ support,

tens of thousands watched the parade, see more photos.

view of Jaffa Road, J Street image, photo real J Street

Meanwhile Jaffa Street was still busy.

Two more favorites,

Sukkot in Jerusalem image, photo man and luluv

 were people who carried their lulav and etrog all day

man in Jerusalem with lulav and esrrog

and those who held the lulav and etrog waiting for those who did not.

Teddy Park and view of Old City

As the water fountain at Teddy Park went on at the hour,

you could hear squeals of delight from children.

What a favorite it has become with all!

When there are large crowds,

White and brown police horse

 those beautiful police horses can be seen on the streets;

they always are a favorite.

man smiling for photo, image guy in Bezek shirt

It was great to see Ben Yehuda Street so busy over the holidays.

This man was sitting alone and asked me to take his photo,

Jerusalem Marchers

but there were tens of thousands more smiles.

Sukkot is a favorite time of year in Jerusalem.

Crazy dancing, boys on ground feet up

Thousands sang and danced on the streets all week, 

but these guys with their feet in the air were really something special.

Moedim l'simcha on bus

Jerusalem on Sukkot was indeed a happy season.

Wish there were more?

 See The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Sukkot album.