Days go by. Weeks go by.
Time during the COVID-19 pandemic has become a blur.
Jerusalem tourism went from unprecedented highs down to zero.
Chayei Sarah in Hebron in past years became one giant Shabbat celebration with thousands crowding into the area around the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
This year before Shabbat, Chabad of Hebron hosted an online celebration of this week’s Torah reading marking the death and burial of Sarah in Hebron. Three men danced to a downsized band in an area near the walls.
The OUD international music festival is going on line for its 21st year.
Sigd celebrations in the past years were major events with tens of thousands on the Tayelet in Jerusalem for prayers and breaking the fast.
This year there are smaller events being organized for the November 15th and 16th holiday celebration, 50 days after Yom Kippur, one which started in Ethiopia centuries ago.
One year ago, the AYLN Wheels of Love cyclists arrived in Jerusalem at the end of their annual fund-raising ride. This year riders met as a virtual group on a Zoom event and raised funds for the special rehabilitation hospital without the ride up the hills of Jerusalem.
The annual Pianos Festival at the Jerusalem Theater was held online and shown on YouTube and Facebook – for free. No lines to stand in while waiting to enter the concert halls.
Standing in line for parking stickers at the city hall is history. Those cherished parking spot stickers can be gotten from home by registering with the municipality online.
As corona lockdown restrictions were lifted to a second stage, the areas near the Old City walls were still quiet on the sunny first Monday.
The entrance toward Jaffa Gate not crowded as in “normal” times.
Jaffa Gate was open, and guarded by two security women.
Standard and Poor’s, the global credit rating company, left Israel’s credit rating unchanged at its high level during the global coronavirus crisis, as reported by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Construction in Jerusalem proceeded during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Signs for Museum Lane have gone up along the renovated street by the new National Library. One of the huge cranes has been removed from the building site across the street from the Knesset, while the 6th National Library film festival was run online.
Commerce moved online and in-person shopping came to a halt for months.
Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall was filling with eager shoppers as stores on the street were finally allowed to open with four customers at a time.
The longest line at Mamilla was waiting for Nespresso coffee.
Shoe stores also had customers waiting in line.
The store selling eyeglasses had a line. It had been allowed to be open during the lockdown and was often empty of customers.
Walking by Kikar Safra, the Municipal Government plaza, the new landscaping was in full bloom, but the stones below were empty of people.
However, minutes away on Jaffa Road, lines could be found outside many shops. Children need new clothing for size and season.
The longest line award in downtown Jerusalem goes to FOX. I took a Facebook live video to show how far down the block people were waiting in line to enter on the first nice shopping day in town.
Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road was coming back to life with stores open and people strolling in the midday sun.
Ben Yehudah Mall looked so busy and full, I decided to go a different way.
People ate lunches of takeaway food, sitting outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun on a November day.
Shops on Yoel Salomon Street were open, but there were no lines when I walked by on my way home.
The music was playing again on the oversized radio near Kikar Safra.
When the sun comes out, so do people.
Jerusalem, Israel shops and streets are slowly getting back to business and showing signs of renewed life. The youngest school students are back in class, while older students are online.
Hoping the corona numbers will stay down and we can see you soon on the Jerusalem streets.