Jerusalem Remembering in Time of COVID19

Jerusalem Remembering in Time of COVID19

In Jerusalem, Israel, as in most of the world, these have been unusual days,

days during which we have learned not to take things for granted,

Passover holidays in isolation and coronavirus shut-down.

Building cranes moving again after Passover and coronavirus stop

After seeing them upright for days and unlit at night, I was excited to see the building cranes from the Jerusalem Gateway project moving again in the evening sky.

Jerusalem two people walking on path coronavirus time

Slowly people began venturing out, walking on the path in a city.

Kotel on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar during coronavirus

The Kotel, Western Wall Plaza had a new arrangement on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar.

Kotel on Friday Rosh Chodesh Iyar during COVID 19

Prayer sections were set for regulated separation and distancing.

But, I am not sure how they managed in the rain Shabbat morning.

Knesset lights on before announcement of unity government

Oh, the excitement of seeing lights come on in the Knesset building as a unity government was being announced. So excited I only noticed later, that the large flag was down as Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day 5780 was about to begin.

The symbolic memorial flame in place at the edge of the roof and small Israeli flags had been put in place.

However, this year will have little resemblance to last year’s celebrations with flames and flags.

Traffic stop with police wearing masks COVID 19

As I went out on the porch to get ready for the Yom HaShoah memorial siren, police wearing masks and blue gloves were stopping traffic.

Bus stopped for police check during coronavirus

Even the Jerusalem city bus was stopped and did not breeze through.

Some travel and work restrictions have been lifted.

A student driver with the symbol of the learner car was in the lineup.

Seconds before the 10:00 am siren, all the traffic was let by.

The officers stood quietly in respect of the two-minute memorial siren.

Jerusalem Israel street traffic at police check Corona

They then started checking cars again before moving on to another location.

I was so focused on the traffic stop, I did not notice at first that flags were up over the street as usual for the holiday season. At least one thing was “normal” in this year of isolation and coronavirus.

A highlight of the crazy isolation day was a special Jerusalem volunteer project.

plant as a present from the city of Jerusalem.
From Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum

Today every Holocaust survivor in Jerusalem will have a volunteer standing outside their door during the siren at 10am so they don’t feel alone and wii receive a plant as a gift from the city of Jerusalem. Thanks to Mayor Moshe Lion for this moving initiative during times of Corona and well done to Nicky Cregor for executing this great project: as per Fleur Hassan-Hahoun on social media.

Israeli flag for Independence Day

One neighbor had their Israeli flag out for Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day, and Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

However, In light of the restrictions on movement to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the celebrations for Israel’s 72nd Independence Day to be held at Beit HaNasi this year and the other locations will be recorded and broadcast, not live. I was planning to go, those were quite impressive and fun celebrations in the past.

Oh well, more seriously, families will not be allowed to military cemeteries as usual.

Bereaved families have been asked to make reduced visits to cemeteries in the days before Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day, subject to social distancing restrictions.

Independence Day site on Har Herzl in Jerusalem

A general lockdown – similar to that which applied during Passover – will be imposed on Independence Day. The site at Har Herzl for Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day celebration was already well under construction at the beginning of March. That event also was pre-recorded, there will be no huge crowded stands as in the past or all day picnics and trips.

This year it’s back to small private parties and pleasures. We have a new package of hot dogs in the freezer. Maybe it’s time to clean up the backyard grill and just Zoom with friends and family.

Sting Bridge in Jerusalem at entrance to city

The cold winter rains and cloudy skies are over for now and the String Bridge near the entrance of Jerusalem can be seen on a clear day. You never know what will happen (or not happen) next on the Jerusalem streets, as the Municipality is planning major musical productions throughout the city. And fireworks in some neighborhoods. But count on closures for the usual holiday travel time.

When planes fly over Jerusalem to practice for a Yom HaZikaron flyover Har Herzl Military Cemetery, people got excited and ran out to see.  Good thing there were multiple flights and I was finally able to get a bit of video. Oh, they are loud and so very fast.

For Yom Haatzmaut, the President has a special message and a chance to have him come to your home in a hologram. 

For now, you can take a tour of Bet HaNasi garden from anywhere in the world.

Weather extremes. Hot. Cold and wet. Sand filling the air, turning the sky yellow on Friday.

And we can keep on Zooming along, until next time.

Jerusalem: Flags, Flames, Flyovers, Flowers and Finally Fireworks

Jerusalem: Flags, Flames, Flyovers, Flowers and Finally Fireworks

After the Passover holiday flags begin to appear on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets.

Flags for Israeli Independence Day

Flags on supermarket fences,

Israeli flags on private vehicle

and flags on all types of vehicles.

Israeli flag on gate of community center on Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem

Flags large and small are displayed on community and public buildings.

Israel flag large on building

These new apartment buildings win for the longest flag I have seen this year.

Air stunt Israel Independence Day practice

The annual practice flights for Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day, included a new stunt.

That fourth plane was not out of formation, but had turned upside down in a spin.

Airplanes practice for Israel Independent Day in Jerusalem

Look high above the Knesset building, in the clouds to see it coming back in formation.

However, this video clip of one maneuver should give you a better idea.

Helicopter before Israel Independence day

This is one helicopter circling over Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s house.

On Yom Ha’aztmaut the President hosts the first of a long day of events, and helicopters fly over at the opening.

Memorial flame outside Israel President's Residence

Outside of Beit Hanasi, besides the flags there is a memorial flame.

Before the festivities of Yom Ha’atzmaut,  Yom HaZikaron, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism is commemorated.

A siren is sounded for one minute at 8:00 pm and another at 11:00 this morning.

Shops were closed last night. Jerusalem streets were quiet.

Memorial services were held at the Kotel, Western Wall, with President Rivlin, while hundreds of smaller solemn gatherings were held in Jerusalem.

Most Israeli cities have their own military cemetery and memorial, but the largest is in Jerusalem.

Entrance to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

Extra flags were up after Passover at the entrance

Israeli flags on Mount Herzl

to the military cemetery on Har Herzl, where more flags were flying.

Israeli Ethiopian memorial in cemetery on Mount Herzl

There is a special memorial for Ethiopians who lost their lives.

Lone soldier graves on Mount Herzl Jerusalem Israel

A special section for lone soldiers is adorned with military souvenir flags.

The main section was being prepared immediately after Passover.

A shade from the sun and a small white plastic stool was placed by each grave.

I went early to get photos to share.

Cemetery on Mount Herzl close up of white stool for Yom HaZikaron

Today tens of thousands of people, from all over, will fill Har Herzl for Yom HaZikaron.

A photo without crowds of people would be impossible.

Jerusalem Israel military cemetery on Mount Herzl one grave of soldier who died 19 years old

Looking at the age here, I remembered being in the Beer Sheva Military Cemetery on Yom HaZikaron, in 2001, with a group of high school students after the March of Living trip to Poland.  What the teens noticed was how many of the stones had 19 as the age they died. A number so close to their age captured their attention.

On Yom HaZikaron, each grave will have a small flag and flower, as Israelis remember 23,741 fallen soldiers.

Memorial for victims of terror in Jerusalem

The 3,150 victims of terror are also remembered.

Pin for Yom HaZikaron with Red Everlasting flower Dam Hamaccabim flower

Since 1955, as on the traditional blue sticker for Yom HaZikaron, is the Dam HaMaccabim (Red Everlasting) flower.  The flower on a pin is new this year, part of the Dam HaMaccabim Project

“According to legend, every drop of blood of the Maccabees that fell to the ground was absorbed into the land, and from it sprung the beautiful flower with its blood-like red blossom…

The Israeli people have known so much bereavement over the years, and yet we are not a sad people…we have channeled our losses into a national culture of growth, of bringing forth new life…”

So again as the sun sets, the mood shifts.

Independence Day Jerusalem Israel street signs

Signs are up, ready for celebrating 71 years Israel Independence in Jerusalem.

Fireworks at Har Herzl for Israel Independence Day

Fireworks from Har Herzl will be seen over the Jerusalem streets as the festive celebrations begin.

A week of extreme highs and lows, joy and sadness, on the real Jerusalem streets.

Flying High over Jerusalem

Flying High over Jerusalem

Often in Jerusalem, Israel,

you have to wait to see what will happen next.

Every year for the Yoms, a “dress rehearsal”

or “practice run” is a few days before the annual air show

which is held on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

But earlier this week, instead of the usual 4 small planes,

a lone plane flew over and did a daredevil diving loop.

It was so fast and high, I did not get a good photo.

Then one day there were four planes in formation,

with one looping through the other three.

I got a quick video, it was not easy to see,

but you could hear me say “wow” over the noise of the planes.

At a practice flight on Friday morning,

it was clear why there were more rehearsals than usual.

I an not complaining, I love them all.

This time I knew just where to aim the camera, and

decided to share the video instead of the regular Friday photo.

The full show and real deal is not until Tuesday,

but for now wishing all,

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom.