This week in Jerusalem, Israel, had too many lows.
However, here are a few positive stories to balance life on the real Jerusalem streets.
An invitation to the Tower of David Museum is one I always try to accept, not just for the photos at sunset.
Going thru the new entrance is still a novelty, an amazing blend of old and new.
I hope to go back soon to explore the new areas that were visible at night.
As I walked up this well-lit staircase I remembered when it was still a dangerous construction site.
A sign of our times, a sign with directions to one of the protected areas.
There was an evening program, an Israeli sing-along with live music with the words on the screen. Israelis sing sad songs on Tisha B’Av. They sing on Yom Kippur Night. They sing as the day shifts from Yom HaZikaron to Yom Haatzamaut. This night the list of songs included Adon Olam.
The appreciative audience included young children and adults of all ages.
There were lights on the flags on the side of the Jerusalem Theater.
Across the street, the lights were on at the new Theatron Hotel. Instead of the expected international tourists, this hotel, like most in Jerusalem, is hosting citizens from north and south who had to evacuate.
Praying for soldiers, hostages, evacuees, and the injured was first on the agenda for an evening program organized by three Jerusalem synagogues.
With children, grandchildren, sons and daughters, and close friends involved in the war in Gaza and along the northern border hostilities – everyone knows someone in harm’s way. Rabbi Dr. Alex Mondrow discussed coping during the crisis and trauma.
Baking. Yes, one extremely active group has been baking for soldiers. The Baking Battalion should have enough stories and videos to fill a book. Part of my contribution last week were vegan oatmeal cookies.
It is hard to ignore the profound sorrow of families of fallen soldiers, especially lone soldier parents. The family of Rose Lubin came from Atlanta, GA to sit shiva, and thousands came and stood quietly in line waiting to offer a few words of comfort.
It is hard to calculate how many hugs from “strangers” Rose’s mother received.
The tragic deaths are growing and getting closer to home. Yosef Chaim Hershkowitz’s parents live nearby in Jerusalem, and the family sat shiva for one day in Jerusalem.
Again, there was a crowd and a line of people waiting to have a few seconds to mumble a few words of comfort and move along. They barely had time to say the traditional greeting:
המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים
“May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
As we left, more and more people were arriving. And sadly, this will not be the last shiva visit this week.
Signs are up. However, the new Jerusalem pool opening is hardly news now.
There were jugglers on the Jerusalem streets on Friday near the Pillbox. Only when I got home did I notice the poster in the photograph and decided not to edit it out.
People are out eating in Jerusalem street cafes again when the weather is warm. Hostage posters ended up in this image too; they are plastered all around and I have yet to see one taken down.
New long Israeli flags are displayed on buildings.
At first, I was impressed by the flag on the Museum for Islamic Art.
But, wow, the ad space on the side of the building is filled with the #BringThemHomeNow poster.
The red strollers with hostage posters are sad to see.
These children have been held hostage in Gaza for over 6 weeks, and now the weather is turning cold.
The way to Gaza is the name of a small Jerusalem side street.
It is off of Gaza Street, across from the current Prime Minister’s home. I decided though the security was low when I passed by, that it was better to refrain from taking photos of the new security being constructed.
But I also decided to save the best for last to end on a positive note!
The gates for the Hansen House were open on Thursday afternoon.
A new exhibit has opened upstairs “A Smart Home in a Dumb Body” by Guy Goldstein.
And downstairs is the Toldot Printing exhibit.
In the always fascinating space on the lower part of Hansen House.
But where were all the people?
Hundreds of people were outside on the Hansen House grounds.
Piles of produce were brought from southern farmers (most of it picked by volunteers since many foreign workers were killed or captured on October 7 or went home) for sale in Jerusalem.
This is one of the locations where people in Jerusalem are trying to help by supporting southern agriculture.
Even the paper cups are going blue and white, “Together we will prevail.”
Hope to see you soon the the Jerusalem streets.