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?

Jerusalem Light Festival 2014

Jerusalem, City of Light.

One of the most popular cultural events hosted in the Old City

is the Jerusalem Light Festival.

iamge Old City Christian Quarter

I like to arrive early and wander the alleyways

image Jerusalem Light festival 2014

as the sun set and the colorful lights came on.

Jerusalem Light Festival image

 This was an unique light piece in the Christian Quarter,

image palestine poster

but there were several of these posters.

imsge colorful drinks

Many more Arab shops were open this year,

 these drinks were ready for the large crowds.

The blue lights

image Barber shop in Old  City

 led us past the barbershop which was open, but not busy.

There were 29 stops along four routes.

image Jerusalem light festival

One of the most interesting was in front of the Hurva Synagogue.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Using buildings as screens,

iamge Jerusalem light festival

for projected

iamge Jerusalem light festival

works was big this year.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Easy to know who did “Circus of Light.”

image Jerusalem light festival

Colored lights on the walls were in several locations.

image Jerusalem light festival

This interactive piece changed as people touched it.

image Jerusalem light festival

Nearby outside the walls, these globes changed in color and form.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

This work near Jaffa Gate was an imposing structure,

image Jerusalem light festival

and looked different from the other side.

image Old City Jerusalem light festival

Along the street to the Damascus Gate were actors,

photo Jerusalem light festival

 in costume, in colorful settings,

picutre Jerusalem light festival photo

but when you got close it looked so different.

iamge Jerusalem light festival

Inside Jaffa Gate another light show shined on the Christian Information Center.

image Jerusalem light festival

But my favorite was Damascus Gate,

picture Jerusalem light festival

where the 6 minute

picutre Jerusalem light fstival

light show required a video.

photo Jerusalem light festival

Photos of this huge, colorful complex piece

will probably be favorites from this 5th annual event.

Jerusalem photo

But I also like this simple photo from the night.

The festival runs from June 11-19.

A lot of walking is involved.

It is hard to see everything in one night.

Some friends said they were disappointed,

but I think it was much better than last year.

Seeking the Pope in Jerusalem

With preparations fit for a king,

or maybe a US president,

pope in jerusalem

Pope Francis arrived in Jerusalem, Israel.

pope in Jerusalem

The man wearing white shorts and I waited around to get a photo,

but this was as close as we came to seeing a Pope.

We talked long enough at New Gate for me to find out

that he was an Iranian studying physics in the US.

I cannot believe I forgot to ask him what his plans are after he graduates.

My plan to walk home through the Old City failed.

pope in Jerusalem

Inside and outside Jaffa Gate was shut tight, closed to the public.

image street musician

Pretty lonely night, it was much quieter than usual all around.

Then Monday morning nice and early,

security for pope

streets were shut.

security for pope

This is a one-way street, want to guess which way?

security for pope

Traffic was going out any which way, as this double bus blocked the road.

Credit to its driver who could maneuver that huge thing there.

security for pope

But it worked, and this main street was clear of traffic.

security for pope

And then King George Street,

where the Pope was going to meet the chief rabbis, was closed to traffic.

pope in Israel to meet chief rabbis

Though that meeting was not going to be for another hour,

these guys seemed serious,

and no way was I or anyone else going to get by.

pope in Israel

I just wanted to go to Jewish Agency Building down the street,

but we had to walk around a different way.

Pope in Jerusalem

Security had to stand in hot sun all day,

pope in Jerusalem

but we all had to walk around past this line of sitting cars.

pope in Jerusalem

Finally, I did get to here from there.

pope in Jerusalem

After the Pope and Rabbis and the very select guests left,

the Heichal Shlomo lobby was much easier to enter.

Then there was the area around Beit Hanassi, the President’s House.

Again I had to walk all around to get to where I needed to go.

pope in Jerusalem

Residents on the street had no parking for days.

 I arrived to the spot where in May 2009,

I had been able to see the Pope’s limo leaving,

bus blocking street

but this time a special reinforced bus was blocking the road.

pope in Jerusalem

Security was so tight that this is as close as I could get.

pope in jerusalem

This man was holding a sign “Baruch haba Chaver,” Welcome my Friend.”

Pope Francis was given a red carpet welcome,

but certainly many sighed with relief when his visit ended

and he flew safely back to the Vatican.

yom yerushalyim, white nights. lilah lavan

But do not think all will be quiet for long.

לילה לבן

Tonight is White Night,

and music will blast all night in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

as Yom Yerushalyim, Jerusalem Day

celebrations begin at sunset.