International Holocaust Remembrance Day

UN may close for a snow day, but

image for Holocaust Remembrance

 flames are on government buildings in Jerusalem, Israel,

and many remember every day.

Jerusalem Special Visitors

The world seems upside down like Chelm these days,

and if it was not so serious, it would be funny.

This week saw a large delegation from Japan,

led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting Jerusalem, Israel.

image Canada and Israel together

Foreign Minister John Baird of Canada signed the official guest book

at Beit HaNasi, the Israeli President’s residence, while Reuven Rivlin watched.

image US senators visit Jerusalem, israel

Then in the afternoon a group of US Senators led by John McCain,

dropped by for a photo op and to chat with the President.

So much for isolation and BDS, all affirmed their support for Israel.

But government officials and their noisy motorcades

were not the only ones who filled the streets this week.

kossel on Friday am

Extended families gathered to celebrate,

Kossle plaza

and thousands have come daily to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Kossel plaza

Birthright tour groups

Kosel plaza photo

from around the world posed for group photos.

Mount of Olives cemetery view

Tour buses lined up along the road to Har Hazaytim,

the Mount of Olives cemetery.

And at the same time as rabbis in Belgium

were being notified that their synagogues should be closed on Shabbat

for the first time since World War II,

because their safety could not be guaranteed by the police,

Palestinian kids

these Muslim boys were walking through the Jewish Quarter

in the Old City to go to Friday prayers.

Muslim going to prayer

Any doubts? Notice the prayer rug in hand,

so much for apartheid and oppression.

Muslim family going to prayers on Friday

These boys may have taken a second look,

but the man was wearing a long skirt,

as this Muslim family proceeded to prayers on Temple Mount.

And while Muslims of all ages attend regularly on Friday,

(as long as there are no calls for violence)

this group we passed did stand out,

tour group from Turkey

their bags had the name of a Turkish tour company.

Seems not everyone in Turkey is boycotting Israel.

Hope they get to see the real Jerusalem streets,

and take back the truth,

what is really happening.

Holidays Over, What Now?

Hanukkah is over

image lights for Hanukkah on street outside the president house Jerusalem

but the colorful street lights are still up and shine brightly at night

outside Beit HaNasi, the Israeli President’s official residence.

image menorah burning long time

The long-burning oil and hanukiot are stored away,

and those open windows are closed and shuttered until next year.

image menorah

This golden menorah, ready for use in the Temple, stands next to the steps to the Kotel,

the Western Wall, and it is impressive as always.

So what is new now that the holiday season is coming to an end?

image street art

Varda – this urban installation, popped up across from the shuk,

the Machane Yehuda Market: it inflates and deflates,

and attracts the attention of those who pass by.

image sign Hebrew

A new Bible study program was launched

whose goal is for many people to learn the same chapters together every week.

image cute little girl with father who is walking dog

Day in, day out, the dogs need to get out,

image dog park

and now there is a new “dog park” or area for them to run free

in the Sokolov Street Park.

image photographer

Photographers will climb most anywhere to get great

and interesting photos of Jerusalem, Israel,

image woman taking selfie

but newest thing is people taking “selfie” photos which one now sees everywhere.

This woman took one with a group of Israeli soldiers behind her.

image street scene Jerusalem

While the people are back shopping on the streets,

image store for rent

the stores come and go.

Remember those skin eating fish on King George Street,

not sure where they are now.

new hotel in Jerusalem

This new sign went up;

 I wonder how long it will take to develop this hotel project?

image ruined building

This abandoned building, one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in world,

had a fire and since then cement blocks shut the entrance,

but it is open again and remains a very neglected eye-sore.

image construction after years of neglect

However, after over eight years of neglect,

one construction fence came down this week,

and progress on this apartment building is visible.

Yes, I know it is winter and we need the rain,

but I love the mild sunny weather we had this past week,

image December roses budding

 that has caused the roses to bloom,

image lemons growing

 the lemons to ripen on the tree,

image cat

and our neighborhood cat to mellow out.

image water bottled

Time for a drink.

14 Favorite Hanukkah Lights

Hanukkah in Jerusalem, Israel, can be exhausting!

Candle lighting ceremonies seem to be everywhere,

with people arriving from all over the world.

On the first night of Hanukkah,

at the Kotel, Western Wall, at its large chanukiah,

after a lighting ceremony with dignitaries,

image menorah at Kosel

a man was covered in a white talit for the filming of a video.

image chanukiah

Chanukiot in Jerusalem restaurants are always a favorite.

image chanukiah from guitar

First night, first light in the Old City, this was most unusual,

image menorah

while simple can be beautiful.

image menorah lit at night Old City

This large electric-light covered chanukiah was near Jaffa Gate,

iamge Mamilla Mall chanukiah

and this fire-lit one in Mamilla Mall

image Mamilla Mall chanukah

that attracted a crowd below.

image Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

The display of chanukiot in the Waldorf-Astoria lobby was new this year.

image unusual menorah

Candles were burning in the security booth outside the US consulate,

though I received permission to take this photo,

afterwards I was stopped by an over-anxious guard.

Thankfully, he did not try to delete my photos.

image chanukiah

A Chabad Chanukiah can be found on many corners,

but the one near Paris Fountain is a favorite.

image Gpo Hanukkah party

The holiday party for the international press

given by the Prime Minister was held at the Israel Museum this year.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu lit this 19th century brass chanukiah

which had been used in a synagogue in Central Europe.

image menorah in Israel Museum

Not as large as this one,

image israel museum

but also part of the Israel Museum’s extensive collection of chanukiot,

some centuries old and from around the world.

Though not a menorah

iamge old photo in Israel Museum

the lights in their eyes are certainly bright.

This photo of Natan and Avital Sharansky

with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir

as they leave Ben Gurion airport after arriving in Israel

finally free from Soviet prison,

 is one of many in a new Israel Museum photography exhibit.

And from our source of the sukkah on a camel,

image making ice chanukiah

a menorah of ice.

image unusual menorah

It was coming along, but sorry, it was a long day and busy week.

 I did not stay to see what happened when it was lit.

Hanukkah,

Xanuka

no matter how you spell it,

iamge Hanukkah

a great miracle happened here,

eight days to celebrate,

iamge suffganitot

as those suffganiot keep coming..in so many colors and tastes.

image Hebrew sign Hanukkah

Happy Hannukah!

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.