Thankful for the Rain

Yesterday the sun was shining,

image flowers on street

and even though the sky was not blue,

these gates were very blue.

photo street scene Yemin Moshe

Yemin Moshe was picture perfect,

only the streets were empty,

and much too quiet without the usual tourists.

photo sign colorful

 I was looking at the new signs for Hamshushalayim,

an annual Jerusalem tourist weekend discount offer,

and I wondered how it would do with so many people staying away,

image people walking near streets

and just then a group of tourists walked by.

Things have been slower this week,

but work has gone on.

photo construction workers

 The Isrotel luxury hotel construction is finally above ground.

In the US as people prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday,

in Israel, thankfully it has started to rain,

woman crossing street in rain

and rain.

image rain in Jerusalem, Israel

We are thankful for rain for it is an answer to our prayers,

wet streets and splashing cars

but one which involves flooded streets

traffic accident near light rail

and accidents galore.

However,

Jerusalem Israel bus banner from Berman Hebrew Academy

 rain or shine,

sleet or snow,

or terror threat,

the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy High School from Rockville, Maryland,

is in Israel again for their Israel mission.

Every four years the entire high school gets a trip to Israel

over the Thanksgiving holiday week.

It can be a life changing experience to see

the real Jerusalem, Israel, streets, even in the wet and rain.

 And

 a group of 1000 pilgrims is on their way from Lagos, Nigeria,

so things go on.

I just hope I do not rust.

Shabat Shalom: Bitter and Sweet

Recently on Fridays,

there has been a simple Shabat Shalom poster,

but this was not a simple week,

this was a difficult week.

Har Nof

The walls in Har Nof were plastered with mourning posters.

On Thursday the streets were mostly empty and quiet,

the air was so clean, but it felt heavy.

image Har Nof

Cars filled the street in front of the synagogue,

where five men were murdered.

The shiva houses were overflowing, with standing room only.

Those paying sympathy could only walk by the mourners,

and some who knew the families said a word or two.

Many who came did not know either victim or their family personally.

I could not look at the couch filled with young boys

who had just lost their father in such a horrific way.

Instead of revenge one widow told me,

“we cannot change the Arabs,

but we have to change ourselves.”

They want unity of the Jewish people

and an end of sinat chinum.

Then,

Sigd 018b

as we drove home past Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

image Jerusalem Park

we saw a large group of young people who were enjoying a sports day.

image Jerusalem part

The weather was perfect for a family outing.

New security in Jerusalem, Israel after Arab murders

A balloon hovered above the Begin Center,

where Yehudah Glick was recently shot,

as segway riders went by on their tour,

image segway

and the next tour was getting ready in First Station.

image Hebrew sign

  A new sign announced an organic food market to open in the tourist location,

image First Station

but First Station was deserted at lunch time,

a sad sign of the events of this week.

But,

banner of Sigd celebration on Tayelet

at the same time on Haas Promenade in Armon Hanaziv

tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered for

their Sigd Holiday celebration.

Sigd 102b

Old

image man with Old City in background

and young

Ethiopian girls in IDF unifroms

and many more each year wearing IDF uniforms.

tayelet for Sigd

They enjoyed the weather and the day on the Tayelet.

 A beautiful day

image Sigd

for many family reunions,

Ethiopian family at Sigd

food and photos.

image Israel flag

Thousands celebrated just being in Jerusalem, Israel.

To end this crazy week,

we were at a simhat bat brunch today,

to celebrate birth of a new baby girl.

Besorot tovot were everyone’s parting words.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

New Free Shuttle Bus in Jerusalem

Driving in Jerusalem, Israel, can be difficult,

with too many cars on too narrow roads,

especially in the Old City.

image traffic old city Jerusalem

Today four cars wanted to drive in the same small place at the same time,

I did not even notice the little child

in the scene until I saw the photos at home,

I had been watching a boy on a bike go through the cars.

During holidays the situation gets worse

when traffic is restricted

and entry is forbidden to non-residents.

But there is something new for the new year 5775,

image free bus to Old City

located in the parking lot adjacent to First Station,

image free shuttle bus Jerusalem

easy to find stations

image shuttle bus to Dung Gate

for free shuttle buses to the Dung Gate,

which is near the entrance to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

image shuttle bus to Dung Gate old city

The buses leave every 20 minutes,

Sunday to Thursday,

8:00 am to 8:00 pm,

Friday until Shabbat and after the end of holidays.

The van I took only had two other passengers, but it left on time.

image near City of DAvid

On the way we got to see the construction near Ir David, the City of David.

image bus stop for free shuttle Jerusalem near Dung Gate

Outside the Old City Walls near the Dung Gate, the station was easy to find.

The service is meant to encourage parking at First Station,

and at least for now it is free for anyone.

Thanks for the tip Fun in Jerusalem.

fun and free in Jerusalem–

what could be better?

No stairs!

Did You Hear about Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim Street?

It did not make headlines.

Afternoon traffic was heavy and slow Monday in Jerusalem, Israel,

image no traffic

with some streets like this one blocked to traffic for hours.

Emek St Fair 063b truck blocking st

No one was driving onto Emek Refaim Street with this truck parked,

 buses were rerouted and taxis blocked.

Emek St Fair 060b street c;losed

There was a large blue arch on the other side of the truck,

Yad2 street fair

a blue man,

image crowd of people

blue balloons,

image police marching band

and men in blue too,

as the police formed a brass marching band.

image US colors

The US Embassy had a booth in red, white and blue.

image Emek Rephaim sTreets

It is estimated that as many as 30,000 people attended this community street fair,

image Emek REfaim STreets

where second hand goods were for sale.

image choir singing

Choirs performed,

many musical groups played,

image little girl dancing

and here one little dancer is moving to the music.

image street fair entertainment

Actors on platforms,

photo street acts

standing on stools above the street,

image Jerusalem streets

and sitting on chairs performed to young audiences.

image cooking lesson unusual

This group was learning about cooking.

image lots of people

Thousands of people took photos.

Emek St Fair crowd

This usually busy neighborhood street

Emek St Fair 020b

was full of barriers blocking side walks.

image cute kids

It was grid-locked by people and double strollers.

image street fair and wheelchairs

There are so many places in Jerusalem and on Emek Refaim Street

that are impossible and impassible for disabled,

it was great  to see so many out for this event in wheel chairs.

image chairs

Please let me know if you hear of anyone who actually

paid 50 shekels to sit in these chairs.

The sign asks for 50 shekels to sit.

That is what was happening on the real Jerusalem streets

and it all went on well into the night,

but no violence, not news,

What’s New in Jerusalem

Nothing about this week was regular.

As I started this blog Fatah and Hamas were competing

to see who can shoot the most rockets into Israel.

Besides hundreds in the south near Gaza,

they also aimed at the civilian center of Bet Shemesh.

Operation Protective Edge has begun,

and Israel finally responds.  Listen for calls of restraint.

Meanwhile, the weather has been hot

and I had not been walking enough lately.

Time to get out and see what was happening.

image Jaffa Street

Yesterday morning Jaffa Road was too quiet,

image people walking in Jerusalem

but later, more people were out walking.

image shuk Jerusalem,Israel

Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk had customers and visitors.

image fresh figs, photo figs, picture fresh fruit

These fresh figs were the largest I had ever seen,

and I could not believe how popular this photo was when posted on Facebook.

Bread in machane yehuda marktet

 After getting a much needed ice coffee, I was glad someone offered to hold it for me,

so I could take this photo of piles of fresh bread.

image young tourists

And more American teens were on their way to explore the amazing market.

image ol d knesset building.

This man seemed as surprised as I was at the

Old Knesset Building  on King George Street.

For years it had been the home of the Rabbinical Court,

but they moved,

and this historic site is to be the site of a new Knesset Museum.

image Hebrew sign

Music and children’s films,

image Hebrew sign

Jerusalem Film Festival

and

image Hebrew sign

Jerusalem Season of Culture and so much more.

The funeral for Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali seems like so long ago.

 I have not used other photographers’ work in a long time,

but this photo was made to be shared.

“Our eyes were wet when hearing about their cruel fate,

I wanted to reflect upon this once again via a photograph.”

 — by Andrei Schwartz.

Now I am off to a meeting in center of Jerusalem.

What will happen next?