Busy time and feeling so sad this morning,
but taking a minute to share an old favorite.
שבת שלום וחג שמח
Like every year, the Sukkot holiday is a busy time
in Jerusalem, Israel.
There is so much to prepare,
and great concentration is invested in
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.
The view from the sukkah on the Tayelet,
the Haas Promenade, was one of the best.
This huge sukkah under construction in the Kotel plaza,
the Western Wall, was impressive.
Large cloth sukkot line many streets.
In the Rova, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City,
in front of the Hurva Synagogue
stands an impressive wooden sukkah.
The sukkah in the atrium of the Inbal Hotel
was decorated elegantly.
I caught the top of this sukkah in Yemin Moshe,
peeking over the roof tops.
There were impressive wooden structures.
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.
There I found what seemed to be another wooden sukkah,
with a pile of junk nearby.
one photo does not tell the whole story.
I was told that
people in the neighborhood had collected
all their old wooden doors and dressers and scraps of wood
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:
הרחמן הוא יקים לנו את סוכת דוד הנפלת
May the Compassionate One restore the fallen sukkah of King David.
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
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.
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.
before IDF Chief Hazan Shai Abramson sang
and President Reuven Rivlin wrote one of the last letters,
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.
New IDF Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkot,
Chief Chaplain Rafi Peretz,
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.
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.
As the summer weather heats up, I slow down.
Sipping an ice coffee while walking
has become a routine.
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
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,
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
of summer children’s programs at Beit Avi Chai.
Summer festivals will be starting soon,
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,
beautiful communities like in this poster,
are now remembered in Gush Katif Museum in Nitzan.
In the courtyard the wonderful sand is displayed.
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.
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.
In southern Israel,
an outdoor meeting place has to have a safe area
five seconds away.
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.
People are slowly rebuilding.
After ten years
some families have nice homes,
while some are still in temporary living conditions.
One garden stood out in the neighborhood,
newly rebuilt in the sand.
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.
It was impossible to decide on just one photo
to share as a Shabbat Shalom greeting this week.
Being in Yemin Moshe several times,
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
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.
These roses in Yemin Moshe were amazing,
but they were not the only beautiful flowers.
I thought about doing faces.
The water is back up and running in the Lion Fountain,
and his face made me stop and look back.
At the Recycling Festival last night,
she was just one of the hundreds of children smiling.
How sweet it was.
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.
This week I saw so many colors of Israel.
Sunrise on the Kinneret with the Swim4Sadna,
then sunset from the Carmel mountains,
where the blues of sky and sea blend together.
Along the Jordan Valley Road
were colorful packing grates.
But as wonderful it is to go and see the land,
back in Jerusalem, Israel,
the colors of Yemin Moshe are a favorite.
I love to share its color on photo walks.
But also fun was to meet up with friends
for a new amazing Israel ScaVenture!
I have walked Yemin Moshe countless times,
each time I see and say there is something new.
Families have stopped and posed for photos here,
but I had not noticed this bomb shelter sign.
Near the Jerusalem Press Club
was the “No climbing” sign we needed to finish our hunt.
But did Kate climb or not climb?
The Windmill Dash ends by the Montefiore Windmill plaza,
with an amazing view of the Old City.
I was so glad to have dashed back
from the beautiful colors of the North
to participate in this Blogger ScaVenture Hunt.
We did the Old City,
last year Gush Etzion,
and now another favorite neighborhood.
What will Tali come up with next?
Most impressive is how these events are good
for families, all age groups and knowledge levels.
Dash around Mishkanot Shaananim and Yemin Moshe.
Then when you are ready to go slower,
see more and set up those photos,
There is always something new to see
on and off the Jerusalem, Israel streets.