Jerusalem 7 New Signs and Colors for Elul

Jerusalem 7 New Signs and Colors for Elul

Jerusalem is working its way back.

It almost feels like a “normal” end of summer on the Jerusalem streets.

Parents are worried about school supplies, but even more about school openings.

Rosh Hodesh Elul was last week and religious schools have started.

Sacher Park in Jerusalem summer day

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, children played by day, and families filled the park in the evening.

Sacher Park clean up in morning after big night for Rosh Hodesh Elul

But by the morning of Rosh Chodesh, it was cleaned up and ready for the families to return.

Jerusalem street next to Sacher Park

The street along Gan Sacher which was filled with cars the night before was back to normal.

End of Summer events sign posted near Wolfson center across from Sacher Park

It’s lined with new Jerusalem signs for the end of summer events,

Hebrew sign Jerusalem stands with all of Israel during coronavirus pandemic

and this new one stating: Jerusalem stands with all of Israel.

Trying hard to get back to “normal” after COVID-19 closures.

Menachem Begin Center and Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem signs displayed on Jerusalem street corner

New end-of-summer signs for the Menachem Begin Heritage Center and the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem were posted among other museums cautiously reopening with new entrance policies.

Giro stage in Safra Square for opening of cycling event

It was announced that Jerusalem’s Safra Square  is now a new  coronavirus-safe venue for cultural events, allowing concerts and performances to return after months of such events being prohibited.

One of many previous events, the Giro d’Italia opening was held in the large plaza area of the Jerusalem Municipal Building. Numerous concerts have been held there as well.

Cyclists from United Arab Emirates in Jerusalem for Giro d'Italia

The announcement of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to sign a normalization agreement made headlines. However, for the Giro, UAE riders–and Bahrain–were on the Jerusalem streets two years ago.

Jerusalem Israel view from top of Kikar Safra municipal building

One of the great views from the 6th floor of the Municipal Building is the Mount Of Olives

Jerusalem Har Hazetim grave stone of HaRav Avraham Kook

Gimel Elul was the memorial of the 85th anniversary of the passing of Abraham Isaac Kook z”l, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine in the Land of Israel.  Today’s commemoration was unlike other years and was a socially distanced and very limited event.

Rav Kook’s house has been kept as a museum, offices, and synagogue, while the area around HaRav Kook Street in Jerusalem has been built up.

Lion Fountain in Jerusalem Park near First Station with water

The Lion Fountain near First Station was a fun place during past summers.

bird in Jerusalem photo

Some of my favorite photos were taken there. This past week though,  the fountain was dry.

This has been a summer when most everyone has had to deal with changes.

Near Jerusalem Israel Museum sculpture The Struggle

I often pass “The Struggle” by Samuel Bar Even on my way to the Israel Museum.

Jerusalem path near the Israel Museum above Valley of the Cross

Israeli officials trying to keep the virus under control without lockdown is more of a struggle than my deciding which path to take each day.

Jerusalem Israel Museum open again after closing for months of coronavirus

A new welcome sign was posted at the Israel Museum. After being closed for months, it is open part-time, with restrictions and prior ticketing.

But no entrance fee for children in August as usual.

Jerusalem Israel Old City Western Wall Tunnel

Also, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced that the Western Wall Tunnel site was reopening after having been closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kotel in August 2019

Preparations are underway for Selichot, penitential prayers, at the Kotel, the Western Wall. It will NOT look like this photo from last August!

The first two weeks of the month of Elul will be a test for managing Selichot services at the Kotel prior to the upcoming peak-crowd days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Jerusalem sehilchos

The  Jerusalem Great Synagogue with its 1,200 seats is not to reopen for the High Holidays.

It is also not planning to open its doors for ShabbatSelichot, or the Sukkot holidays.

Water bottle disposal sign in Jerusalem to keep streets clean

The campaign to keep Jerusalem clean has been going strong all summer. New signs were posted for everyone to clean up their mess.

Jerusalem Israel pickup truck for things left on street

Here’s a new truck collecting discarded items along the street.

The truck stopped. A man jumped out and grabbed a sweater on the side of the road.

He tossed it into the back of the truck and drove off.

The days of furnishing your Jerusalem apartment with other folks abandoned property could be much harder now. Everyone will have to move quickly before that truck comes by.

Workers in Jerusalem filling a pot hole in street

This large truck and work crew arrived. They stopped traffic and blocked the street.

They repaired a pothole in a few minutes while I watched.

Jerusalem woman crossing street as traffic waits

Near the same spot the day before, this frail woman crossed the street.

What was newsworthy and worth sharing about that?

She stepped off the curb into traffic, not near crosswalks. However, cars in both directions stopped. They waited until she safely crossed to the bus stop. And, not one car behind them honked!  I wished I had taken a video.

Exit of Jerusalem Israel Museum toward the Knesset

This is the view on the way out of the Israel Museum. The Israel Knesset Building is across the way. “LAST HOPE” is painted on the pavement. Tonight we will find out if the “unity” government can agree on how to proceed with a budget or if we go to a fourth election this year.

It has been a crazy year, with struggles not only to cross the street but for many to survive.

Much of Jerusalem’s economy is based on international tourism.

The closed skies due to the coronavirus pandemic have led to extremely dire financial situations.

Selihot at the Kotel, will not be the same as in the past. There are planned Selihot tours in the Old City, limited in numbers and with social distancing precautions. As with all tours and sites, check ahead to make sure you have a spot and a ticket.

It’s been an unusual summer with few tourists on the Jerusalem streets.

Flowers planted near Jerusalem street

However, as we enter the month of Elul and look forward to a New Year, colorful flowers are blooming to brighten the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Riding the Waves of August

Jerusalem Riding the Waves of August

From Jerusalem, there is good news and bad news.

Rollercoaster days with ups and downs.

Highs and lows with COVID-19.

Beautiful, happy weddings and sad, sad funerals.

Crazy times with closings and openings.

Yet 140 new Olim arrived from France.  We know that others are arriving daily without a big reception, to go into a two-week quarantine, before starting their new lives in their new home.

The seasonal international tourists are missing from the Jerusalem streets.

The Pianos Festival went online this year.

However, the seasons and nature are consistent.

Jerusalem Valley of the Cross

The days are growing shorter with the end of August rapidly approaching.

Gan Sacher in Jerusalem Israel

The well-watered grass in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is ready for guests.

Jerusalem pizza truck in Gan Sacher

The Jerusalem Mayor’s office announced the removal of public telephones. But Jerusalem has added food trucks in various park locations. Friday morning, pizza was available in Gan Sacher.

Drive-in movies are being shown at the First Station parking lot. Regular theaters are still closed to Corona restrictions.

Shaon Horef, the Winter Noise Festival held on Jerusalem streets on Monday nights in February, got lost in the news of approaching novel coronavirus. Now Jerusalem is trying for Shaon Horef  on August summer nights with music and performances on various streets.

COVID-19 activity in Jerusalem Israel exercise in park

 

The parks are sponsoring Sport and Fitness for retired folks.

Among the other options are biking, flower arranging, yoga and Pilates, and Segway tours.

Family with a flying toy in Jerusalem park

Not sure who was having more fun here, the father controlling the flying toy or the kids who sat to watch.

Corona Hebrew advertisement for party for youth

Parties for the youth are planned in the Jerusalem parks.

Young couple meeting on a date in Jerusalem Israel park

And Jerusalem parks are, as always, perfect for a first date, another sign of this season.

The Jerusalem municipality has offered to host weddings at various scenic locations:

Tayelet Haas Promenade empty on Friday after terror attack

the Promenade at Armon Hanatziv,

I love Jerusalem in flowers.

the Bloomfield Gardens near the Montefiore Windmill,

Jerusalem Israel Bell Park in summer

and the Liberty Bell Park.  They are also some of my favorite Jerusalem locations.

Protesters sitting on Jerusalem street near the Prime Minister's Residence
Photo credit: Shifra G

Those noisy protests near the Prime Minister’s Residence continue.

View of Israel Museum Dome over Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Museum was closed for months but there is some good news there.

People standing outside the Israel Museum entrance in Jerusalem

 Museum galleries are scheduled to open this Thursday.  The employees protesting last week are to return to work.

Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem new landscaping

From a distance I noticed the all-black covering put on the back of city promotional signs along Hazaz Street, part of the black shirt anti-government protest.

Valley of the Cross new landscaping and flowers along exercise path

However, looking closer to the new landscaping along the street, there are new flowers emerging.

Friday afternoon in Jerusalem man selling flowers before Shabbat on street corner

This pink sign is one of the Jerusalem promoting tourism which were covered in black. But I took this photo to share a sign of normalcy. Friday morning flowers were being sold for Shabbat.

Jerusalem Israel sunset

The sun has risen and set.

Lime tree with fruit in Jerusalem Israel

The limes on the tree are growing and almost ready to pick.

Closeup on a rose in full bloom with small insect

I thought I had found a perfect rose for a closeup.

Only when I got home a saw there was an insect crawling on it.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon announced,”Following the global tourism crisis, we decided to advance the upgrade work and infrastructure related to tourist areas throughout the city. Upgrading King David Street is a complex upgrade project that affects transportation throughout central Jerusalem.”

The Israel National Library on Givat Ram announced, including their online sessions, will be closed for lack of funding.

Jerusalem Israel national Library building construction

But, construction on the new National Library is going strong. This is how the roof looked today.

Jerusalem Israel view from city center toward Old City

So there you have it, not all good, part of what’s happening on the Jerusalem streets this week.

I miss attending events at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. The very restricted number of programs now are limited to the Government Press Office only, not open to those of us with GPO cards.

Israeli President on phone
Photo credit: Mark Neyman

Today President Rivlin spoke on the telephone with people who have requested help via the coronavirus hotline opened by Beit HaNasi.

Let’s hope we can all ride these waves safely.

Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

The birds are chirping.

The sounds of moving traffic fill Jerusalem streets.

An emergency vehicle siren blaring passes by.

The happy voices of children at play can be heard.

Sounds of summer fill the Jerusalem streets.

Magen David from wood constructed by Scouts in Jerusalem

The boisterous sounds from the Israeli Scouts returned to their Jerusalem base.

Jerusalem Western Wall divided for coronavirus

The sounds of prayer at the Kotel, the Western Wall have continued as numbers of prayer gatherings have changed.

View of Wilson Arch by Kotel Jerusalem Israel

The numbers inside the Wilson’s Arch area are limited but worshipers have returned.

Jerusalem Great Synagogue email announcing closed again no prayer services.

Sadly the Jerusalem Great Synagogue has been silent for months.

Beit Hanasi new ambassadors meet Israeli President
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)

The red carpet was out. Signing the guestbook was similar. For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania, and Argentina to the State of Israel.

This could be the last time for Foreign Ministry Chief of Protocol Meron Rueben (far right) to present new diplomats, as he is to become Israel’s next consul-general in Boston.

Jerusalem Ambassadors at Beit Hanasi pass honor guard reduced because of COVID-19
Photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The honor guard, comprised of 8 people with flags, was standing where the band usually stood. The very downsized band to play anthems stood behind in the garden, shielded by bushes.

Beit Hanasi Ambassador from Thailand

Here the police band played for one of the past presidential red carpet welcomes.

Jerusalem Symphony performances broadcast on Facebook during corona closings

Jerusalem Philharmonic performed live and was streamed on Facebook.

Musicians in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at Jerusalem Theater

Beautiful sounds with distance and masks on stage.

Lights on Knesset at night for summer session

Also late at night, the lights were on at the Knesset, but for a change, the sounds were inside instead of outside from a protest.

Jerusalem Israel path near Israel Museum

Amazing that so close to the Knesset, below the Israel Museum is such a quiet spot.

View of Israel Museum from below in Valley of the Cross

March 1, 2020, I took this photo walking home from the museum.

Piece in Israel Museum

This image was taken the very next day. Who would imagine the only photo I took on March 2nd, would be the last one for months? Sadly, the Israel Museum like the Great Synagogue has remained silent because of COVID-19.

Lizard in Jerusalem Israel park

But in the quiet of these coronavirus days, the lizards and geckos have become regular visitors to the Jerusalem nature paths.

Jerusalem Israel police in Sacher Park

Police on a motorcycle at the entrance of Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was a new sight this week.

Police are handing out 500 shekel tickets to those not wearing masks.

Sign posted in Jerusalem about Netanyahi

New signs. Protest signs.  Sounds of protests are heard and seen.

Jerusalem Festival mekudeshet

Meanwhile, Mekudeshet is trying to provide Jerusalem with cultural events on the Sherover Promenade. Sounds from the big summer festivals are missing from the streets.

With tourists missing the usual sights and sounds and crowds of summer visitors in Jerusalem are missing.

new hotel in Jerusalem Israel Orient

The Orient Isrotel reopened on July 8 with an 85 % occupancy for Shabbat.

With the number of infected people rising, and restrictions changing, it is hard to keep up day to day, let alone week to week.

Red flower in Jerusalem in summer

But one thing that the novel coronavirus pandemic has not affected – the vibrant colors found along the Jerusalem streets.

The colors in nature seem to be thriving, even as the economy dips to new lows.

Flowers in Jerusalem in summer

So I will leave you with this image, and a wish for all to stay healthy and well, on or off the Jerusalem streets where ever you are.

And the sounds from last summer Old City Light Festival, when I wondered what would be next?

Never imagined there would be no festival and the sounds of silence.