Malha Mall Rioters Drown out the Music

Malha Mall in Jerusalem is a large shopping center, busy day and night.

"Palestinian women' , "Arab women in Israel picture", "photo Arab women"

  Typical scenes like this one show no hint of apartheid.

Last week a group of Beitar football (soccer) fans made quite a scene

 in Malha Mall that caught international attention.

In no way do I condone their rowdy and obnoxious behavior, 

but sports fans have rioted in Canadian and  US cities also.

 Was the entire country condemned for their miserable behavior?

An Israeli diplomat in Rabat, Morocco had to be rescued from a mob

of tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

I did not hear of human rights activists writing essays against these events.

Once again, an isolated, repulsive incident has been blown out of proportion

 and has drowned out the other sounds coming from Jerusalem:

"J Street', Image "Wall of Old City", "photo of Jerusalem"

the sounds of a three-night music festival called “Sounds of the Old City.”

The city of Jerusalem offered free musical entertainment

"picture of Jaffa Gate", "lights" , "sundown photo"

 to bring more visitors to enjoy the beauty of the Old City at night.

Throughout the Old City and Mamilla Mall, 

"light on wall"  , "photo stone walls"

there were also video art displays…

 much better for a photo blog than music played in the dark.

"narrow streets picture", "sundown photo"

It was easy to follow the lights and art

"lights above narrow street" , "J Street"

through the narrow alleyways of the Old City.

"photo Hurva Synagogue"

The Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, was lit up.

"stage picture", "photo of a stage"

Musical performances were scheduled from 6-11:00pm;

sorry, I only got a program on the way out and missed the shows in the Rova.  

"picture of Cardo", "photo of Cardo at night"

Musicians performed inside the Cardo 

"musicians playing photo", "picture of Cardo at night"

and out, two of many dramatic backdrop locations.

Shows were also performed in the Christian and Muslim Quarters

"sound in the night" , "Arab men photo"

   and along many of the Old City streets.

"music fans" , "photo of stage", "Jerusalem photo"

Comfortable seats were impossible to find,

"Arab food photo", "picture of Fava beans",

but the food for sale near Jaffa Gate was hard to miss.

"Palestinian photo", "apartheid image" , "video art picture"

The crowds grew larger as the night went on.

"photo drum circle", "picture of drums", "Arab boys", "Jerusalem photos"

On the way home, this drum circle near Jaffa Gate caught my attention.

"picture boy dancing", "Arab boys in Jerusalem photo", "image Arabs"

One boy got up and started to dance

 to an audience which gathered to watch and included smiling Arab families.

The sounds of music from the Old City went unnoticed by the media,

drowned out by the noise of a few trouble makers.

There was no violence during the festival…so it is not news.

 The “Sounds of the Old City” was happening in Jerusalem last week.

What did you hear?

Journeys to Jerusalem

Spring is usually the perfect season for a trip to Israel.

However, this year 15,000 runners in the Jerusalem marathon events

"marathon", "runners", "Old City"

ran in the cold and rain as they entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate. 

Marathon runners were not the only visitors to Jerusalem,

as tourists from all over the world have been coming in record numbers.

"J Street", "view", Old City, "steps"

I met up with one tour group called The Land and Spirit Mission sponsored by

 the Jewish Learning Institute, the educational arm of the Chabad movement.

"runner", "crowd at race", "marathon runner photo",

Near Jaffa Gate, they were able to learn about the Tower of David

and cheer on the leaders of the 10 Kilometer race.

Kosel, "men at Wailing Wall"  , "Western wall raining"

No matter the weather, visitors near the Kotel, Western Wall

"wailing wall"

 want to pose and smile for photos.

"men at wailing wall"

As one of the rabbis with the tour group spoke,

"women wailing wall"  "rain"

 some of the women climbed on chairs to see and hear.

 From the United States and from around the world, 150 participants

came to experience and learn more about Judaism and Israel.

"posed photo"

Rain, cold weather and grey skies could not dampen their spirits.

"group photo"

For some participants it was their first trip to Israel;

others had visited many times.  Jerusalem is always changing, 

 every day there is something new to see and discover.

"Mamila Mall", Old City, "east jerusalem"

One stop on the tour of the Old City was Mamilla Mall, 

once part of “no man’s land” during the years under Jordanian rule.

Now the new pedestrian shopping area has many restaurants

and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals.

"Muslim market", "Jews in Muslim Quarter"

It is quite a contrast to the old Arab shuk.

"view", "Dome of the Rock", "muslim", East Jerusalem"

Going through the narrow streets of the Old City,

we found one of the most incredible views …and a bit of blue sky.

"street in Old City", "Hurva Synagogue" , "tour guide'

A few minutes later outside the entrance to the Hurva Synagogue,

while listening to the story of the restoration of the historic building,

it started to hail.

"big shul", "shul door", "open door"

A perfect time to go inside to see the impressive sanctuary.

"view", ""chandelier", "women sitting"

As women listened from above in the women’s section,

"photo Hurva", "Hurva synagogue picture"

 the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch,

spoke to the group.

He began by praising the Chabad rabbis in the audience

and their organization for their important work around the world.

There is wisdom of the head, the rabbi told the group, 

but the “Jewish people also have wisdom of the heart”. 

"Runners" , "running picture"

In the cold rain and hail, it is heart, not the mind, that kept the runners going.

Throughout the centuries the longing for Jerusalem inspired many

to take the difficult journey to Jerusalem.

So how could a little bad weather possibly ruin a trip to Israel?

The Land and Spirit Mission was organized by Zev Jacobson

and his team at Israel Maven Tours.

Israel Maven, dedicated to providing a high-quality trip to Israel

for individuals, families, communities, and corporations,

ran a great program despite the lousy weather.

 It was great fun to see some old friends and former neighbors,

"bag" , "tour bag", "people in the rain"

even if it was hard to photograph them dressed for the weather conditons.

Hope to see you too in Jerusalem…soon.

Hurva…No Longer

When Jordan attacked Jerusalem during the War of Independence and captured the Old City in 1948, the Jordanian Legion destroyed many synagogues, including the largest one in the Jewish Quarter.

In 1967, the Jewish Quarter came under Israeli control. In 1977, an arch was built to remember the Hurva or the Ruined Synagogue, on the spot where synagogues have been successively built and destroyed since the second century.

September 2009

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After years of delay and debate, a week before the March 15, 2010 dedication date, the construction was nearing completion, but there was still plenty of work left to do.

 

However, as the sun was setting on March 14, 2010,

 the synagogue was ready.

 Torah scrolls were brought up from the Kotel, the Western Wall, under a chupah, a special canopy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of men danced in front of the procession.

Thousands of people along the route sang, clapped and took photos.

 

 

A huge crowd filled the central square of the  Jewish Quarter as people enjoyed the live music.

The restored synagogue will not be exactly the same, however,

as this time the building is air conditioned.

The official dedication ceremony marks an historical end and a new beginning;

may this site become a place of prayer and study and see no more destruction.