Jerusalem Darkness to Light

From Jerusalem will come forth light,

from the Jerusalem light festivals  to Hannukah lights,

it is an old, if not ancient theme.

However, this week we saw some unique lights.

Those red, white and blue lights on the Walls of the Old City

Knesset lit at night flag at half mast

and on the Knesset building, where the Israeli flag flew at half mast.

After Shabbat, the flag was lowered

to symbolize the link with France after the terror attack in Paris.

half mast Israeli flags

Israeli flags over Beit Hanasi were lowered as well,

French flags in Jerusalem

while French flags were unfurled over major Jerusalem streets.

I found it ironic that new signs were posted

Jerusalem sign hebrew

for a new App for Jerusalem night life–

who knows what will happen next?

When I see new signs like this one,

sign for move set

I snap photos of them,

video production on streets

only after did I realize, it was posted for the filming of a TV movie.

Make sure you know whether what you see is real or not.

The Jerusalem municipality posted hundreds of large and small signs

Kahlon budget protest

asking MK Kahlon “Do not forsake Jerusalem”

in the new budget in the Knesset.

This week in Jerusalem, while the weather is cool,

Jerusalem roses bloom in November

the roses are blooming

photo oranges

and the oranges are ripening.

However, I want to share

one other very special light coming out of the darkness.

My friend Varda wrote of the horrific terror attack last erev Shabbat.

We know the Rav of Meitar and his family,

and we have many friends there and visit occasionally.

We have driven the road from Meitar to Otniel.

Such darkness,

to drive to a simcha and get ambushed by murderers.

But, from Jerusalem, came forth light.

On Tuesday night, in the wedding hall,

at the time the wedding of the daughter of the victim was to take place,

hall for wedding

an overflow crowd of women and girls

filled the hall with prayer and music, and words of unity.

Litman Beigel wedding postponed

Tears inside during the sad, slow Shabbat song

Binyunei Hauma

and crowds of girls outside.

The Litman-Beigel wedding is rescheduled for next week,

and this time everyone is invited.

If you want to participate, check this out.

To help the Litman family, you can donate here:

Am Yisrael Chai!

May lights continue to come forth from Jerusalem

to shine and inspire the world.

Jerusalem Autumn Colors

Autumn means beautiful photos of fall foliage

  from the northeastern United States.

There is nothing like that in Jerusalem, Israel.

unusual tree

 This year I found one tree with some fall colors.

But, as those US multi-colored leaves fall to leave bare limbs,

dates on palm tree

Jerusalem palm trees fill with ripe dates,

Israel fall flowers

and fall flowers burst out over the sidewalks

Flower beds are being planted,

flowers planted at Beit Hanasi

and a new flower bed has been added outside

of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence.

Yemin Moshe

The fall flowers of Yemin Moshe are always a favorite.

With a sandstorm this week,

Montefiore Windmill

the Montefiore Windmill was turning briskly,

but hard to see against the white sky.

emek rafaim street

Some streets have been too quiet since tourism has been down.

The German Colony is sponsoring special events

every Monday evening in November and December.

tourists from Australia near Begin Center

Australian tourists were enjoying a free day to see sights.

Not far away a female tour guide was injured in a terror attack.

walking with stroller in Jerusalem

 A friend was out walking a grandchild

with her whistle handy in case of trouble.

People are more wary and careful going about their business.

Jerusalem cat

But oh, those cats, 

While I pass women walking with pepper spray

 in hand ready for whatever might happen,

Jerusalem black cat

Jerusalem cats have a special chutzpah.

Those cats hold their ground no matter what.

And in the fall,

 Jerusalem cloud formations,

with the blue and white sky at sunset.

sunset Jerusalem sky blue rays showing

Ten measures of beauty descended to the world;

nine were taken by Jerusalem.

Talmud Kiddushin 49b

Autumn in Jerusalem,

the seasons change.

Days are shorter and cooler,

the dark hours of night longer.

The cycle of life goes on.

Special Sukkot Sukkah

Like every year, the Sukkot holiday is a busy time

in Jerusalem, Israel.

There is so much to prepare,

Sukkos Jerusalem

and great concentration is invested in

Jerusalem esrog market

every little detail.

I set out to find something new and different,

from the best of sukkot of the past years,

to add to favorite sukkot of Sukkot.

sukka Haas Promenade

The view from the sukkah on the Tayelet,

the Haas Promenade, was one of the best.

Kossel Succos

This huge sukkah under construction in the Kotel plaza,

the Western Wall, was impressive.

large cloth sukka on street

Large cloth sukkot line many streets.

Rova sukka

In the Rova, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City,

in front of the Hurva Synagogue

stands an impressive wooden sukkah.

sukka in Jerusalem Israel

The sukkah in the atrium of the Inbal Hotel

was decorated elegantly.

Jerusalem sukka on a roof

I caught the top of  this sukkah in Yemin Moshe,

peeking over the roof tops.

Jerusalem sukka

There were impressive wooden structures.

sukka Jerusalem

some hidden away in the Geula neighborhood.

But where could I find special and different for this year?

I went on a pre-Sukkot photo walk on Friday morning.

We started out in Mea Shearim,

but on the way to Machane Yehuda market,

I made a mistake and turned up the wrong alleyway.

Jerusalem sukka

There I found what seemed to be another wooden sukkah,

boards in alley in Geula

with a pile of junk nearby.

But sometimes.

one photo does not tell the whole story.

I was told that

Jerusalem sukka

people in the neighborhood had collected

all their old wooden doors and dressers and scraps of wood

walls of sukka Jerusalem

and given them to a group of young yeshiva men

who were living in their neighborhood,

so they could build their own sukkah.

It may not be the biggest or the prettiest sukkah,

 but it is one of my favorite stories.

Maybe the detour was not a mistake after all?

They posted this sign near the entrance:

Sukkot Jerusalem

הרחמן הוא יקים לנו את סוכת דוד הנפלת

May the Compassionate One restore the fallen sukkah of King David.

Western WAll

As the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza fills

with tens of thousands of people for the Birkat Kohanim

and Hakhel prayers this year,

 the buses join in wishing everyone

sukka bus sign Jerusalem

Moadim l”Simcha.

Torah: Bond for Eternity

Last week an amazing event was held at the Kotel,

the Western Wall.

Tens of thousands of people crowded

into the Kotel Plaza and well beyond to get a view.

They filled the stairways and the Old City streets.

torah scrolls at westwern Wall

They came as 75 Torah scrolls were dedicated,

one for each Israeli killed last summer

in Operation Protective Edge.

Laurent Amram from Montreal

started Kesher Lanetzah, a Bond for Eternity,

with a vision that stated

“We cannot get them back, but we can perpetuate their names.”

The international fund raising campaign 

was a huge success with the last two Torah scrolls

coming from International Young Israel Movement

based in Jerusalem, Israel, including one

 from the Leo V. Berger fund.


Shai Abramson

 before IDF Chief Hazan Shai Abramson sang

Presient Rivlin writing letter in Torah

and President Reuven Rivlin wrote one of the last letters,

Kesher Lanetzah at Kotel

and while all those honored to carry a Torah

into the Plaza for the ceremony stood ready and waiting,

another photo-op was happening in the Women’s Section.

There, near the Kotel, a number of dignitaries had gathered,

to mark another Torah’s journey.

Head of IDF with torah from 1967

New IDF Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkot,

Torah from 1967 returns to western wall

Chief Chaplain Rafi Peretz,

Reuven Rivlin holds torah from 1967

and President Reuven Rivlin,

 took turns holding a small Torah scroll with a navy blue cover.

That Torah scroll was the one that Rav Shlomo Goren held

 on that fateful day in June 1967,

when after 19 years, the Jewish people were

able to return to the Old City and the Kotel.

Torah scrolls

כי מציון תצא תורה, ודבר ה’ מירושלים

For Torah will go forth from Zion,

and the Word of God from Jerusalem.

May this be a good start to the new month of Elul.

man blowing shofer

 חודש טוב

Israeli Summer Heats Up

As the summer weather heats up, I slow down.

Sipping an ice coffee while walking

has become a routine.

Jerusalem graffiti

It seems I am not alone, this man who

   walked into my new graffiti photo had a drink in hand too.

It took me a couple of weeks to get to Yoel Salomon Street

Jerusalem umbrellas over street

to see the Jerusalem, Israel streets’ hottest summer display,

dozens of colorful umbrellas strung above the narrow lane.

There used to be so many used book stores lining the streets,

Another used book store closes

but another book store is closing,

and these signs were plastered announcing the sales.

At least on the other side of the street there are happier signs

Beit Avi Chai outside building

of summer children’s programs at Beit Avi Chai.

signs hung for summer programs on Jerusalem  streets

Summer festivals will be starting soon,

summer in Kikar Safra

and posters are up for summer events

in Kikar Safra, Government Square.

But this week leading up to Tisha B’Av

is also ten years since the end of Gush Katif.

I wrote about a visit to the new Netzer Hazani four years ago.

Since that time,

photo of Gush katif community before 2005

beautiful communities like in this poster,

are now remembered in Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan.

gush katif museum

In the courtyard the wonderful sand is displayed.

seats in Gush Ktif Museum made form moving boxes

Moving boxes are used as seats for a video in the museum.

The army was organized and provided everyone boxes

to pack up their lives and leave their homes,

then every last one was knocked down

and every last Jew left the Gaza Strip.

rocket fired from Gaza into Gush Katif

All was not ideal in Gush Katif.

Yaakov Gross keeps a Gazan rocket

that fell into his house in Gush Katif

in his still temporary store.

But after leaving Gush Katif, what have we gotten in return?

The government promised peace,

and instead we got ten thousand rockets

and Israelis have suffered through three wars.

bomb shelter next to park

In southern Israel,

an outdoor meeting place has to have a safe area

five seconds away.

inside of pipe used as bomb shelter

And who can forget

 last summer as millions of Israelis had to run to bomb shelters.

Some in the south had to huddle in cement pipes

as protection from hundreds of Hamas rockets

that were fired at Israeli citizens day and night.

Gush Katif new community

People are slowly rebuilding.

After ten years

new house old house Gush katif

some families have nice homes,

while some are still in temporary living conditions.

green around home from new Gush Katif home

One garden stood out in the neighborhood,

newly rebuilt in the sand.

Garden of Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan

The names of the destroyed towns are listed,

and the pain and division of the nation

are symbolized in this monument.

Tens years on that summer still makes no sense.

Hopefully you will remember,

as there are those who are trying to erase history,

and the Jewish connection to this land.

Shabbat Shalom Special

It was impossible to decide on just one photo

to share as a Shabbat Shalom greeting this week.

Being in Yemin Moshe several times,

path in Yemin Moshe

there were so many Jerusalem, Israel street photos.

For every photo walk,

I say that you never know what you will find,

and this week

child in karate outfits

a Jerusalem community center held its end of year program in

the shadow of the Montefiore Windmill

with the Old City Walls as a backdrop.

flowers special roses

These roses in Yemin Moshe were amazing,

purple flowers Israel

but they were not the only beautiful flowers.

I thought about doing faces.

Lion Fountain Jerusalem

The water is back up and running in the Lion Fountain,

large dog in car

and his face made me stop and look back.

At the Recycling Festival last night,

child having good time

she was just one of the hundreds of children smiling.

children eating messy frozen ices

How sweet it was.

three children in First Station

Oops, the frozen fruit fell and made a mess,

but what a great reaction!

Shabbat is coming soon,

so the rest will have to wait until next week.

shabat shalom poster

שבת שלום