Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

What’s new in Jerusalem after the holidays?

Looking back at last year it seems much is the same. 

The universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza hit a home in Sderot.

Again, thankfully, the family was able to get to shelter and was not physically hurt.

View of Old City Jerusalem from other side of Yemin Moshe

Winter clouds hover over Jerusalem and the Old City as seen from Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

View from Yemin Moshe of Old City and road to Zion Gate

Holidays are over but tour buses line busy streets, coming and going from Zion Gate.

Houses Within in Jerusalem at Hansen House

The annual Jerusalem ‘Houses From Within’ was held at the end of October.

The sign was up for entry to the old leper hospital grounds, one of 200 sites open to the public.

But it is so different now, unlike the first tour nine years ago when it was in ruin.

Nine years ago the price of tomatoes made headlines, this year it is the scarcity of butter.

Jupiter and Moon in sky over Jerusalem Israel

Jupiter was in line with the moon. Crazy–this photo received hundreds of likes on Facebook.

Amazing. It is so fascinating what gets attention on social media.

The new moon and conferences galore begin as the holidays end.

The Herzl Conference on Contemporary Zionism ‘From Vision to Reality’ was a first-time event.

Jerusalem Har Herzl grave at night

The opening was held at night on Har Herzl close to Herzl’s final resting place, with the gravestone illuminated.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Former US Senator and Vice-Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman was on the opening program, mentioning proudly that he has children and grandchildren who made aliyah.

Stanley Fischer at Herzl Conference in Jerusalem
Dr. Stanley Fischer was another featured speaker on the program, along with President Reuven Rivlin.

Leaders of Jewish Agency Board of Governors after showing of video remembering Pittsburgh

The annual Jewish Agency Board of Governors opened on a somber note with a powerful video remembering those murdered in Pittsburgh one year ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at Begin Center for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors at the Begin Center.

Begin Center security for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

There was security for the Prime Minister, this time I got a photo as they were taking it away.

Stephen Harper in Jerusalem for gala dedication for Hula Lake Park Visitor Center

Security was at a high level at the Waldorf Astoria. But, unlike most events, security let guests at the KKL-JNF Gala get close enough to photograph former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper seated next to the Netanyahus. The new KKL-JNF visitor center in Hula Lake Park is dedicated in Harper’s honor.

Though busy with government and election drama, President Rivlin hosted a special meeting on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence.

Elan Carr and President Rivlin at Beit Hanasi

US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr attended.

Panel on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi

The panel also included the UK – Lord Eric Pickles, France – Frederic Potier, Germany – Dr. Felix Klein, and European Commission – Katharina von Schurbein. The consensus was that education is the key to combating antisemitism. Opinions once considered fringe are becoming mainstream on campuses and they are spreading. The problem is not a Jewish one, but one for all humanity.

BLMJ Glorious Martyr exhibit

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem shared important finds from an excavation in Beit Shemesh. Though no one knows exactly who the ‘Glorious Martyr’ was, the dig exposed a large Byzantine church, filled with hundreds of glass pieces and stone lamps.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem opening of Glorious Martyr

On opening night invited guests arrived to see the exhibition and hear from experts.

Seat of donor or high church official from Glorious martyr exhibit in BLMJ

A favorite object was this marble piece, probably the ‘seat’ of a high church official or donor.

Who knew hundreds of years ago donors had names on plaques in churches?

International Science Centers and Science Museum Day is November 11.

Jerusalem Science Museum play area

Look for free admission to the Bloomberg Science Museum and again the end of November.

The annual Piano Festival at the Jerusalem Theater is from November 13-16.

AniNation in Jerusalem street poster

But first will be the annual international Animation festival in Jerusalem – AniNation.

Science and tech and start-up conferences–always more happening on Jerusalem streets!

In honor of Aliyah Day, celebrated this week, time to share an old favorite.

Sign about learning to speak Hebrew

No government and elections looming.

Years of rockets from Gaza.

Serious threats from Lebanon and Iran.

Jordan, a very cold peace partner.

Rush hour traffic reaching nightmare levels.

Miracle in our times,

Am Yisrael Chai. 

 

Jerusalem Sukkot Highlights

Jerusalem Sukkot Highlights

The fall holiday season in Jerusalem, Israel, has come to a close.

Monday night,  the Jerusalem streets from First Station to the Kotel, Western Wall, to the Gur Hassidic Center, and dozens of other locations were filled with live music and tens of thousands dancing with Torahs for Hakafot Shniot.

Fall flowers in Jerusalem

Tourists prepared to go back to their homes, as Jerusalem fall flowers were in full bloom.

In the first year of Reuven Rivlin’s presidency, there was no line on the street outside of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, for the annual Sukkah Open House.

This year 8,000 people came. For many, it was their first time inside the usually closed gates.

The theme in the President’s public sukkah was Israeli grapes.

Sukkah at Israeli President Residence for open house 5780

Barrels of wine were in the sukkah this year, but no samples were offered. Artificial grapes hung from the top of the sukkah.  A large wheelbarrow outside the sukkah was filled with a variety of grapes that were consumed before I thought to take a photo.

Zeev and Maria Elkin at Beit Hanasi for Sukkot

MK Zeev and Maria Elkin were at Beit Hanasi early for the intermediary days of Sukkot event.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem at Beit Hanasi for Sukkot

Activities for children included making a Bar Kochba coin sponsored by the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.

President Rivlin at Sukkot at Beit Hanasi

When President Rivlin made an appearance, he was surrounded by media.

Reuven Rivlin in main hall Beit Hanasi on Sukkot

Crowds were both outside and inside the main hall,

President Rivlin on Sukkot with public and man takes selfie

in the big sukkah, 

Sukkot at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem with President Rivlin

and outside on the back lawn.

Street closings in Jerusalem for holiday os Sukkot

Crowds. Crowd control. Closed streets. All have becomes constants of Jerusalem holiday seasons.

Crowds walking near Old City walls Jerusalem Israel on Sukkot

Even late at night, tens of thousands of visitors walking to and from the Old City is a common Sukkot sight.

Jerusalem on Sukkot holiday people dressed in holiday clothing.

Families dressed in their best holiday clothing, day or night, head toward Jaffa Gate.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced that 2.5 million people visited the Kotel, Western Wall during the month.

Man holding esrog as big as his head in Jerusalem at night on Sukkot

Perhaps not the best, but surely the biggest etrog I saw, was the size of the man’s head.

Sukka in Kikar Safra Jerusalem Israel

The huge sukkah in Kikar Safra, Municipal Plaza, welcomed the public.

Jerusalem Sukkot concert at Kikar Safra

Free, live musical concerts attracted crowds to Kikar Safra on several nights.

The list of free and fundraising concerts and events in Jerusalem was long and diverse.

Restaurant sukkot on Jaffa Street near light rail tracks Jerusalem Israel

Day and night the sukkot lining the light rail tracks on Jaffa Road welcomed the tired and hungry .

Mafidal sign for Jerusalem arts festival

One Jerusalem festival was set for holiday visitors.

Jerusalem cultural festival signs Manofim

The 11th Manofim Jerusalem Contemporary Art Festival opens soon,

Oud Festival signs in Jerusalem

followed in November by the Oud Festival for the 20th year.

The 4th Jerusalem Biennale which opened October 10 goes through November.

There are 14 locations, 200 artists and 500 works in this Jerusalem contemporary art event.

Jerusalem Biennale sukka at Heichel Shlomo

So I will end with another view of Rabbi Yitzchok Moully’s sukkah constructed of reflective plexiglass exterior panels at Heichal Shlomo.

So many photos from Jerusalem Biennale, it needs a post of its own. Coming soon.

So much happened over Sukkot holidays, so much more happening on Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Season of Holidays

Jerusalem Season of Holidays

What a glorious week in the neighborhood!

The Jerusalem, Israel, streets were lined with fall flowers bursting with color.

After a surprise early rain on Shabbat the air is clear under a blue sky.

Yemin Moshe fall flowers

The streets of Yemin Moshe are more marvelous than usual.

Yemin Moshe tourist walking down steps Jerusalem I

I hope all those tour groups appreciated the beauty as they walked.

Pomegranates and flowers near Herzl in Beit Hanasi garden

After so many times at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, for the first time, this week I noticed the pomegranates growing next to Herzl.

Jerusalem Valley of the Cross

What a view from the new lookout point over the Valley of the Cross!

Shana tova on Jerusalem street sgn

Shana Tova! Have a Good Year! say the signs over Jerusalem streets.

Music in the Sultan’s Pool, music in Kikar Safra, and musical selihot and songs in so many locations.

Tens of thousands filled the Kotel, Western Wall, plaza and the entire area for the annual midnight selihot before Yom Kippur. 

Selihot at Beit Hanasi 2019 with 500 people

For the sixth year, President Rivlin hosted a selihot service with music. Bigger every year, this event had 500 guests in the back garden next to the synagogue.

Selihot at beit hanasi 5780

IDF soldiers, students in pre-military programs, and members of the daily morning prayer group were all invited.

Music before the selihot prayers with Shai Tsabari and Akiva Tourgeman.

Music for selihot at Beit Hanasi

The crowd clapped and often sang along.

Large screens showed those outside what was happening inside the synagogue, and the President came out also.

By the end of the service and singing, it was close to midnight

Yom Kippur this year starts the night of October 8 and goes until nightfall on October 9.

According to IDI surveys, 60.5% of Jewish Israelis plan to fast on Yom Kippur, a significant drop from 73% in 1994.

Only around a quarter of Jewish Israelis (23%) plan on attending all the synagogue services.

But the streets should be quiet with no buses, trains or vehicles, only cyclists.

Jerusalem Israel holiday signs

New signs are up for the holiday season in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem on Sukkos signs on street

Too many concerts and activities to list now.

Holiday Parade signs on Jerusalem streets for Sukkos

The Jerusalem Parade, with thousands of international marchers and hundreds of colorful costumes, will fill the Jerusalem Streets.

So much happening in Jerusalem, Israel, this season of holidays.