Jerusalem Riding the Waves of August

Jerusalem Riding the Waves of August

From Jerusalem, there is good news and bad news.

Rollercoaster days with ups and downs.

Highs and lows with COVID-19.

Beautiful, happy weddings and sad, sad funerals.

Crazy times with closings and openings.

Yet 140 new Olim arrived from France.  We know that others are arriving daily without a big reception, to go into a two-week quarantine, before starting their new lives in their new home.

The seasonal international tourists are missing from the Jerusalem streets.

The Pianos Festival went online this year.

However, the seasons and nature are consistent.

Jerusalem Valley of the Cross

The days are growing shorter with the end of August rapidly approaching.

Gan Sacher in Jerusalem Israel

The well-watered grass in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is ready for guests.

Jerusalem pizza truck in Gan Sacher

The Jerusalem Mayor’s office announced the removal of public telephones. But Jerusalem has added food trucks in various park locations. Friday morning, pizza was available in Gan Sacher.

Drive-in movies are being shown at the First Station parking lot. Regular theaters are still closed to Corona restrictions.

Shaon Horef, the Winter Noise Festival held on Jerusalem streets on Monday nights in February, got lost in the news of approaching novel coronavirus. Now Jerusalem is trying for Shaon Horef  on August summer nights with music and performances on various streets.

COVID-19 activity in Jerusalem Israel exercise in park

 

The parks are sponsoring Sport and Fitness for retired folks.

Among the other options are biking, flower arranging, yoga and Pilates, and Segway tours.

Family with a flying toy in Jerusalem park

Not sure who was having more fun here, the father controlling the flying toy or the kids who sat to watch.

Corona Hebrew advertisement for party for youth

Parties for the youth are planned in the Jerusalem parks.

Young couple meeting on a date in Jerusalem Israel park

And Jerusalem parks are, as always, perfect for a first date, another sign of this season.

The Jerusalem municipality has offered to host weddings at various scenic locations:

Tayelet Haas Promenade empty on Friday after terror attack

the Promenade at Armon Hanatziv,

I love Jerusalem in flowers.

the Bloomfield Gardens near the Montefiore Windmill,

Jerusalem Israel Bell Park in summer

and the Liberty Bell Park.  They are also some of my favorite Jerusalem locations.

Protesters sitting on Jerusalem street near the Prime Minister's Residence
Photo credit: Shifra G

Those noisy protests near the Prime Minister’s Residence continue.

View of Israel Museum Dome over Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Museum was closed for months but there is some good news there.

People standing outside the Israel Museum entrance in Jerusalem

 Museum galleries are scheduled to open this Thursday.  The employees protesting last week are to return to work.

Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem new landscaping

From a distance I noticed the all-black covering put on the back of city promotional signs along Hazaz Street, part of the black shirt anti-government protest.

Valley of the Cross new landscaping and flowers along exercise path

However, looking closer to the new landscaping along the street, there are new flowers emerging.

Friday afternoon in Jerusalem man selling flowers before Shabbat on street corner

This pink sign is one of the Jerusalem promoting tourism which were covered in black. But I took this photo to share a sign of normalcy. Friday morning flowers were being sold for Shabbat.

Jerusalem Israel sunset

The sun has risen and set.

Lime tree with fruit in Jerusalem Israel

The limes on the tree are growing and almost ready to pick.

Closeup on a rose in full bloom with small insect

I thought I had found a perfect rose for a closeup.

Only when I got home a saw there was an insect crawling on it.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon announced,”Following the global tourism crisis, we decided to advance the upgrade work and infrastructure related to tourist areas throughout the city. Upgrading King David Street is a complex upgrade project that affects transportation throughout central Jerusalem.”

The Israel National Library on Givat Ram announced, including their online sessions, will be closed for lack of funding.

Jerusalem Israel national Library building construction

But, construction on the new National Library is going strong. This is how the roof looked today.

Jerusalem Israel view from city center toward Old City

So there you have it, not all good, part of what’s happening on the Jerusalem streets this week.

I miss attending events at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. The very restricted number of programs now are limited to the Government Press Office only, not open to those of us with GPO cards.

Israeli President on phone
Photo credit: Mark Neyman

Today President Rivlin spoke on the telephone with people who have requested help via the coronavirus hotline opened by Beit HaNasi.

Let’s hope we can all ride these waves safely.

Jerusalem after Tisha B’Av: Mourning to Celebrating

Jerusalem after Tisha B’Av: Mourning to Celebrating

Oh, Jerusalem!

Jerusalem has just completed another Tisha B’Av.

Kotel on Tisha B'Av night during COVID-19

Instead of past years with crowds of tens of thousands, there were 1,000 people allowed at the Kotel,  the Western Wall, at night.

Jerusalem, Israel during corona men siting on ground for Eicha

Sections were divided off and marked to permit the small groups allowed to follow the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

Kotel Women's section divided for COVID-19 regulations

The women’s section which in the past was crowded with thousands had barriers also.

Reading Eicha, Lamentations, in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park, had a much smaller attendance.

Jerusalem Damascus Gate at night

Damascus Gate at night was quieter than usual as the 26th annual walk around the Old City Walls, limited this year to 50 participants, passed by.

Walking in Jerusalem at night of Tisha B'Av during COVID-19 regulations

On the other side of the street, the shops were all open late for Eid al-Adha preparations. The Muslim fast day coincided with Tisha B’Av this year, and at sunset they began a 3-day celebration.

Good news. The social workers and nurses are back to work after short strikes.

Israel Museum employees protest prolonged closing and no pay

Israel Museum employees held a peaceful protest holding up signs to passing traffic.

The only loud noises were cars honking in support.

Due to coronovirus restrictions Israel Museum closed

The Israel Museum has been closed since the coronavirus crisis began. On Thursday, museum director Ido Bruno announced a $4million donation from the American Friends of the Israel Museum. Plans to reopen are said to be underway.

Olive tree in Jerusalem Israel park

On the hill below the Israel Museum, olives are on the trees.

Gan Sacher in Jerusalem no Pele in the morning

Last week Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was empty.

The end of school year summer outings were not happening.

This morning, it was good to see children back in the Jerusalem park.

Jerusalem’s usual summer conferences have moved online, to Facebook and Zoom.

StreetBal competition in Bell Park Jerusalem Israel

The annual Jerusalem sport event of Street Ball has been canceled.

Flags from around world in Jerusalem March on chol hamoed Sukkos

Thousands of flags of the Jerusalem Parade will not fill the Jerusalem streets this year. The official cancellation was announced this week.

The day after Tisha B’Av, fifteen years ago, 8,500 Israeli citizens were forced out of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four communities in Samaria.

photo of photo of Gush Katfi before it was destroyed

These beautiful homes were destroyed 15 years ago. The expulsion did not bring peace.

Instead, thousands of rockets, missiles, and destructive burning balloons.

I went to see the rebuilding starts of Gush Katif victim nine years ago 

From Gush Katif Museum memorial for destroyed communities.

and the Gush Katif Museum five years ago.

That is an ongoing unpleasant chapter of Israeli history.

Jerusalem Israel Hurva Synagogue Old City

However, a much more pleasant story is what happened at the Hurva Synagogue 100 years ago. The historic and memorable first visit of the first British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, after his installation.  Samuel was a knowledgeable Jew who participated in the Shabbat morning service.

"photo Hurva", "Hurva synagogue picture"

Today at the rebuilt and re-inaugurated synagogue which was destroyed by Jordanian Legion in 1948, a special ceremony is to be held in honor of the centennial. However, attendance will be extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Coronavirus safety sign in Hebrew

Highs and lows. And new Corona signs have been posted.

Jerusalem First Station sign for Leonardo da Vinci summer 2020 exhibit

New signs were up for “Leonardo da Vinci -The First Start-up entrepreneur,” the theme of a new exhibit at First Station for this summer.

Hebrew sign in Jerusalem for love not hate.

The next day this sign – “Needed Now “Baseless Love” sign was posted.

The protests near the Prime Minister’s residence have gone on unabated.

They are loud and they disturb the residents well past the 11:00 pm noise curfew.

I think the police have used great restraint with these provocateurs.

On to much better news to share, a notice for יריד היין הגדול של ירושלים.

At First Station, the Jerusalem Wine Festival is planned for  August 11– 13, 6 pm – 11:55 pm.

In local sports news, Israeli soccer is to return at the end of August.

Online tours galore can be found for those who are home-bound.

Jerusalem National Library building under construction

The National Library construction site had workers busy on the roof areas.

Now that Tisha B’Av is over, it’s almost Tu B’Av and time for celebrations and music.

Next Year in Jerusalem!

 

Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

Sounds of Summer in Jerusalem

The birds are chirping.

The sounds of moving traffic fill Jerusalem streets.

An emergency vehicle siren blaring passes by.

The happy voices of children at play can be heard.

Sounds of summer fill the Jerusalem streets.

Magen David from wood constructed by Scouts in Jerusalem

The boisterous sounds from the Israeli Scouts returned to their Jerusalem base.

Jerusalem Western Wall divided for coronavirus

The sounds of prayer at the Kotel, the Western Wall have continued as numbers of prayer gatherings have changed.

View of Wilson Arch by Kotel Jerusalem Israel

The numbers inside the Wilson’s Arch area are limited but worshipers have returned.

Jerusalem Great Synagogue email announcing closed again no prayer services.

Sadly the Jerusalem Great Synagogue has been silent for months.

Beit Hanasi new ambassadors meet Israeli President
Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom (GPO)

The red carpet was out. Signing the guestbook was similar. For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania, and Argentina to the State of Israel.

This could be the last time for Foreign Ministry Chief of Protocol Meron Rueben (far right) to present new diplomats, as he is to become Israel’s next consul-general in Boston.

Jerusalem Ambassadors at Beit Hanasi pass honor guard reduced because of COVID-19
Photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The honor guard, comprised of 8 people with flags, was standing where the band usually stood. The very downsized band to play anthems stood behind in the garden, shielded by bushes.

Beit Hanasi Ambassador from Thailand

Here the police band played for one of the past presidential red carpet welcomes.

Jerusalem Symphony performances broadcast on Facebook during corona closings

Jerusalem Philharmonic performed live and was streamed on Facebook.

Musicians in the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at Jerusalem Theater

Beautiful sounds with distance and masks on stage.

Lights on Knesset at night for summer session

Also late at night, the lights were on at the Knesset, but for a change, the sounds were inside instead of outside from a protest.

Jerusalem Israel path near Israel Museum

Amazing that so close to the Knesset, below the Israel Museum is such a quiet spot.

View of Israel Museum from below in Valley of the Cross

March 1, 2020, I took this photo walking home from the museum.

Piece in Israel Museum

This image was taken the very next day. Who would imagine the only photo I took on March 2nd, would be the last one for months? Sadly, the Israel Museum like the Great Synagogue has remained silent because of COVID-19.

Lizard in Jerusalem Israel park

But in the quiet of these coronavirus days, the lizards and geckos have become regular visitors to the Jerusalem nature paths.

Jerusalem Israel police in Sacher Park

Police on a motorcycle at the entrance of Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was a new sight this week.

Police are handing out 500 shekel tickets to those not wearing masks.

Sign posted in Jerusalem about Netanyahi

New signs. Protest signs.  Sounds of protests are heard and seen.

Jerusalem Festival mekudeshet

Meanwhile, Mekudeshet is trying to provide Jerusalem with cultural events on the Sherover Promenade. Sounds from the big summer festivals are missing from the streets.

With tourists missing the usual sights and sounds and crowds of summer visitors in Jerusalem are missing.

new hotel in Jerusalem Israel Orient

The Orient Isrotel reopened on July 8 with an 85 % occupancy for Shabbat.

With the number of infected people rising, and restrictions changing, it is hard to keep up day to day, let alone week to week.

Red flower in Jerusalem in summer

But one thing that the novel coronavirus pandemic has not affected – the vibrant colors found along the Jerusalem streets.

The colors in nature seem to be thriving, even as the economy dips to new lows.

Flowers in Jerusalem in summer

So I will leave you with this image, and a wish for all to stay healthy and well, on or off the Jerusalem streets where ever you are.

And the sounds from last summer Old City Light Festival, when I wondered what would be next?

Never imagined there would be no festival and the sounds of silence.