Passover in and out of Jerusalem

  Passover time in Jerusalem, Israel,

sees a population exchange.

Many locals rent (or try to rent) their homes

to holiday visitors for large sums,

and go away for the week.

Even more take day or overnight trips

view from park in Zichron

to one of Israel’s amazing nature spots

like this one near Zichron Yaakov in Ramat Hanadiv park.

Estimates were as high as 75,000 people

for Monday morning’s holiday annual

Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

But huge crowds were at

Kotel on Pesach

the Kotel, the Western Wall all day the next day as well.

 Not only were prayer services held at the Kotel and at regular synagogues,

but impromptu minyanim for the afternoon prayers

mincha minyin

sprung up just about everywhere.

people at Tachna

It was good to see First Station busy again,

Luna Park to be built in First Station

but this was the only sign of the new Luna Park.

parking lot Tachanah

The free shuttle bus service was finally being used,

with a full size buse to accommodate the crowds,

in addition to the special vans.

The route was different and it went to a different Old City Gate.

While walking to Kotel, you could see


people on top of the Walls looking down at Silwan below.

Street blocked in Old City

Streets were closed and blocked to cars,

 while some places were even blocked to pedestrians.

police block way in Old City

I was not allowed to walk up this alley,

but the guy in white shirt was allowed to smoke.

The closings caused a lot of extra walking for people.

Pesach 5775

This little girl is watching a man from an Arabic tour,

who is taking a video of the hasid, religious Jewish man,

while I was taking photos of the Arabic writing on the back of his vest.

Warm, clear weather was perfect for

crowd Passover Jerusalem

 the large and diverse crowds,

Jaffa Gate plaza view of Tower of DAvid

and for photos in Jerusalem on Passover.

Maimilla Mall on Passover

Mamilla Mall had extra balloon people

and we hear they did a great business.

And of course, there was food.

Parks were filled with picnics and BBQ grills,

and the sky filled with smoke.

Many food places were closed for the holiday.

The ones that were open did just about anything with potatoes.

Peasch Potato Pizza


this pizza did not seem to be too popular

with one young family.

But, always popular

is the holiday greeting on Jerusalem buses,

Happy and Kosher passover

Happy and Kosher Passover.

Last Jerusalem International Book Fair?

Could this be the last Jerusalem International Book Fair?

The 27th Jerusalem International Book Fair (JIBF)

was not held in the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

For the first time, it was in a new location, in First Station,

Jerusalem International Book Fair

where some entered from the First Station parking lot.

(In case you are wondering about the sky here,

being inside during a sandstorm was a good idea.)

While others came in through the main area,

past the First Station food mall and shopping area.

image disappearing wall

These people stopped to see the “Disappearing Wall,”

Jerusalem International Book Fair

5000 small blocks of wood with German quotes written,

also in Hebrew and Arabic,

(some of which were lost in the translation) that attracted all ages.

At night the wall was an empty acrylic form,

as people were happy to remove the blocks and keep them.

 Austria, Spain, Romania, Germany, Poland, Russia,

United Kingdom, Italy and United States were represented at the fair,

but it was a small fraction of former years.

Jerusalem International Book Fair

One night, a crowd gathered by the German booth

Jerusalem International Book Fair

for this food and wine.

Opening night of JIBF had more than one event,

that attracted large crowds.

speaker at Jerusalem book fair

There were lectures and programs all week, some held in

 the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Mishkenot Sha’ananim

and the Khan Theatre, all auditoriums that are located near by.

Magazine at book fair

As usual, not just books

but also magazines were for sale.

Jerusalem International Book Fair

Authors were available to meet readers and fans,

Rabbi Adin Steinsalts

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz–Rav Adin Even Yisrael–

was available at JIBF one night.

Jerusalem International Book Fair

Besides Germany, Austria had a nice size display.

But books from the United States and some Israeli sources,

were noticeably missing.

Each time I went to JIBF,

it was great fun to see and talk with friends,

looking at books and even buying some.

But as an international book fair,

it felt like the international and book components

were sadly lacking this year.

Dark Clouds, Smoke Clouds and Much More in Jerusalem

 Almost three weeks ago looking out from Alon Shvut,

we knew Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were there,


but we were not sure if they were still alive.

iamge Gush Etzion

This week the sad news was broken that their bodies were found,

Rav Adin Steinsaltz’s statement is worth sharing:

“A dark cloud has befallen our nation today. Our hearts are broken, yet united with the hearts of the boys’ families, as we mourn and we cry with them. We cannot erase the evil. But we can create good. We can transform the world through goodness by living as Jews and acting as Jews, with our Torah and mitzvot.”

image funeral crowd

The crowd to get on shuttle buses from Modi’in to the funeral,

was so large I had held up my camera to try to get a photo.

image people waiting for bus

Not all those trying to get to the cemetery were young,

but only the quickest  and pushiest could get on a bus.

I kept thinking this would certainly would never do in England.

image walking to crowd cemetery

Buses lined the way to the cemetery, while

 thousands of people walked and filled the road.

image large crowd walking

Short cut? I am not sure,

but more buses and more people were as far as one could see.

It was hot, people were so crowded,

but I heard no reports of violence.

Most reports were of sharing water and food

or lending a hand or literally a shoulder to rest on.

A big thanks goes to the hatzalah driver who gave me water.

image large crowd

This was as close as I could get, and again had to hold my camera high.

I never planned to be out for eight hours until 11:00 pm,

but I am certain many got home much later.

What a week,

smoking forest fires, rioting in Shuafat, and talk of revenge.

Awful news filled much of the headlines,

but as always there is more happening in Jerusalem, Israel.

photo Jerusalem beach

I finally got to the beach,

the Jerusalem beach that opened in First Station.

photo beach Jerusalem

Unlike the last attempt bringing a beach to Jerusalem,

there is not only lots of sand, but also water,

photo playing ball in sand.

and on a quiet night even a place to play soccer.

Also for many this week,

image Mondial

soccer was not just for little kids,

it is Mondial.

 The AACI celebration for Canada Day and July 4th this afternoon

  has expanded to include all olim at a Salute to OLIM Fair.

It is hot and it is a difficult time now, however,

 we have friends who are on their way across the US to make aliyah.

They sold their beautiful home in California,

to follow their dream.

Too bad they will not make it in time for the concert today,

but they can join us next year in Jerusalem.