New Year in Jerusalem

Happy and relieved, in Jerusalem, Israel, that the summer temperatures went down for Rosh Hashana, and Shabbat Shuvah was even cooler! We could leave the air conditioning off, open the windows, and open our table up for guests again. A very limited number, but 5782 started so differently than last year.

I went all out for the first night of Rosh Hashana, even took time for a photo. Who even remembers last year–it was so uneventful. One short strange week, but slowly getting back to ‘normal’.

Selihot, prayers said late at night, or early in the morning are the norm for this holiday season before Yom Kippur.

Thanks to the Western Wall live stream I could watch while sitting at my desk at home past midnight when they begin.

The crowd at the Kotel, Western Wall grew larger as the clock turned to 1:00 am. I took this image to show how many women were out in the middle of the night for the special prayers.

And here you see some of the divisions on the Kotel Plaza to keep with the changing and challenging corona limitations and regulations.

Last year selihot at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence was canceled due to COVID. But this year it was back again – though limited in number.

In the Beit Hanasi back garden near the synagogue, the pomegranate tree planted in memory of Nechama Rivlin z”l was bent over from its ripe fruit.

President Isaac Herzog hosted the annual Selihot at Beit Hanasi that Ruvi Rivlin started during his term as Israeli President.

Popular singers were back to perform and lead the prayers. This year pa’aytan  Lior Elmaleh and singer Uriel Shay were selected.

President Herzog spoke to the socially distanced audience, IDF soldiers in uniform, and the Beit Hanasi Synagogue regular minyan goers returned to attend selihot. The entire program was live-streamed on his social media channels.

The President was honored to open the ark of Torah scrolls as in the past.

No one sat inside this year, so it was easier to get a clear photo in the small empty synagogue.

Will people return to synagogues after so long attending outdoor street services? Many people in Jerusalem have become comfortable just walking out their front door or listening over the back fence for services, some daily, and many on Shabbat, and including this past Rosh Hashana.

The Presidential cat made an appearance at the late-night selihot.

These attendees were mostly soldiers. However, there are multiple large selihot planned for this week, the Jerusalem Municipality at Kikar Safra and of course the Kotel, and plenty of selihot tours.

Yesterday was September 11th which marked twenty years since terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon. The thousands of lives taken by the suicide plane hijackers are remembered annually at the 9/11 Memorial location off the main road to Jerusalem.

The memorial commemoration is very limited this year.

Jerusalem memorial to victims of September 11 flowers placed on names of murdered.

However, before the corona, Remembering September 11 was typical.

All the names of the murdered are recorded on the walls of the monument.

United Airline pilots place flowers at memorial for victims of September 11

Pilots would place flowers near names they remembered.

Sobering.

Sad.

Twenty years later.

I cannot remember last year, but I remember the week prior to Rosh Hashana after 9/11 so well. We lived near Washington, DC, and the Pentagon. Our son was coming to spend the holidays with us, and was on a Lufthansa flight from Israel to Dulles Airport, due to land around 1:00 pm on September 11, 2001. His plane diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, and he was fortunate to make it out of Canada on the last flight, in order to be home for the holiday. Others were not so fortunate.

Now to end on a positive note!

A short video clip of selihot at Beit Hanasi this week.

And resharing a favorite from years past…

May all have a sweet and healthy year.

Here’s hoping to see you soon on the Jerusalem streets!

גמר חתימה טובה

May you be sealed for a good year

Jerusalem Gateway Project Closes Shazar Street

Jerusalem Gateway Project Closes Shazar Street

Oh, Jerusalem, Israel.

Does anyone remember chugging up the Judean mountains on old winding Route #1,

slowly, painfully riding in an old bus or open lorry to sleepy Jerusalem of old?

Today new buildings are going up, and all with elevators.

Jerusalem Israel Agrippas Street new building

These old shops on Agrippas Street are the site of new renovation in the center of town.

Jerusalem street near Yaffa Road and Machane Yehuda Market

In Jerusalem, street closings for construction occur often and without notice on these small roads.

But for the new Jerusalem Gateway project construction, ads were placed weeks in advance in both the Hebrew and English media for this important street closing on July 14.

Jerusalem Israel route one at night before Shazar closed to private vehicles

The Route #1 entrance to Jerusalem by the bridge on Sderot Shazar will be closed to private vehicles until the year 2022.

So of course, I had to take one last photo at night.

Construction for Jerusalem Gateway near Prime Minister's Office

Building up and up in Jerusalem has become a recurring theme.

Jerusalem Gateway construction

Building up at the Jerusalem Gateway project for the new government offices is seen here.

Building apartments in Kiryat Moshe Jerusalem Gateway project

This Kiryat Moshe building site has been cleared and new housing towers are set to go up.

Jerusalem Israel String Bridge

Down Herzl Boulevard the light rail trains run regularly over the Chord or String Bridge.

I decided to go to the bridge two hours after the road closed on the 14th to see what was happening.

Sderot Shazar closed for Jerusalem Gateway Business Center

This was the view from the pedestrian part of the span walkway.

See the yellow ambulance near the center of the photograph?

It was finally able to maneuver around the traffic, equipment, and workers.

Sderot Shazar Jerusalem Israel closed until 2022 for new road

Private vehicles will not be allowed to drive straight.

They must turn right onto Herzl Boulevard or make a left turn on to Yirmiyahu Street before the bridge.

Jerusalem Gateway traffic changed men painted arrows on road

Workers were busy painting new arrows for the new traffic patterns.

Street change for Jerusalem Gateway Business center

Traffic lights were out and will be changed as well.

There were crews in multiple locations directing confused drivers and pedestrians.

Street first day of closing for Jerusalem Gateway

Sderot Shazar by Binyanei HaUma, the Jerusalem International Conference Center, was indeed cleared of cars. In the past, this was one of the most congested areas near the bus stops.

Construction for Jerusalem Gateway Shazar closed to private cars

Now only buses and a few taxis will be allowed to drive here.

Jerusalem Israel Navon Train station

The new Navon Station for the fast train has access also from Jaffa Street.

But folks with luggage who want to be dropped off by private car?

I did not see a way to do it near the entrance.

Well, the plan was to encourage public transportation.

Navon is across from the main bus station and also a Jerusalem light-rail stop.

Jerusalem Israel construction site for Gateway Business Center

The Jerusalem Gateway project is huge. This bit of construction can be seen through one of the fences.

Construction for Jerusalem Gateway

The Jerusalem Gateway closing of Sderot Shazar is for three years.

The construction of the government and business sectors will continue longer, meanwhile, Jerusalem’s skyline and traffic patterns are changing daily.

Drivers are advised to take Route #443 or the HaArazim Tunnel road of Route #1 in and out of Jerusalem until the year 2022.

Good timing, at least we have Waze, Moovit, and WhatsApp – 054-884323, now to help us get around town.

Who could have imagined any of this not so long ago slowly winding up the old Route #1 to Jerusalem?

 

After Hail on Passover, What Next?

Hail in April,

in Jerusalem, Israel?

Not only was there a hail storm as the holidays ended,

April hail storm in Jerusalem

but this was the scene the next day also.

It looked and felt like winter, not spring.

scene of Jerusalem String Bridge during hail storom

The city looked black and white,

Hail stones from April storm

as 4 mm hail stones fell.

But now,

the Passover things are put away,

and visitors have returned home.

The Happy Passover signs on buses have changed,

bus sign in Hebrew

to wish Jerusalem riders “have a good trip.”

 The skies have cleared

Street near Kikar Safra

and people have returned to the streets,

two Muslim Girls walking in Jerusalem

 some of which are lined with flowers.

Pres and Mrs Rivlin

Two hundred and fifty invited guests associated with OneFamily

filled the main room

at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Home,

with President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin,

Tastes of Life

to launch a new cookbook.

“Tastes of Life” features foods that mothers made for their

children who were victims of terror.

Each mother shares not only a recipe,

but memories of their loved ones that are gone.

Very different,

but still another way to remember a lost loved one,

St Lousi French Hospital Jerusalem Israel

a new Healing Garden was dedicated by a New York family

in the Hosptial Saint Louis Francais.

In the sunshine, supporters of Kashouvot,

an organization advancing Pastoral Care,

heard the story of Randie Malinsky z”l

who passed away in October

after losing a battle with cancer.

Now hospice patients and families can sit in the garden,

French Hosptial Jerusalem

to talk or watch the light rail and the rest of the world go by.

The “French Hospital” was built in the mid-19th century

and stands next to the Notre Dame,

across from the Old City Walls, near New Gate.

It boasts the only strictly kosher nunnery in world.

Also this week for all to see,

car flag for Yom Haatzmaut

the first Israeli flags are flying from car windows.

Flags over Jerusalem Israel streets

And the large trucks have gone around hanging Jerusalem,

Blue and white flag

and large Israeli flags over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

The radio is playing sad, slow music,

as soon it will be Yom Hashoah,

Holocaust Remembrance Day,

and the beginning of another busy holiday season.