Jerusalem Lighting up for Hanukkah

The Jerusalem streets were starting to fill up with holiday visitors. English speakers were asking for directions again. “Back to normal” was in the air.

And then – Omicron –

the latest reported corona variant and Israel’s borders are set to close again to tourists in a few hours. Returning Israelis will have to go into isolation.

The future is out of my control, but, I can share what’s new in the present.

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The lights are on at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens for Hanukkah. The decorated trail is not a long one, but the classical music is lovely, and this display you see over the pond is a real winner.

Thanksgiving night the new Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Center was lit up for a special Thanksgiving dinner for lone soldiers and b’not sherut (volunteers). You could see the festive balloons in the window from the street.

Even the light of the night sky was impressive, but there is much more.

Here at the old Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road is the art installation of Yehudis Barmatz-Harris. Notice the mobile on top of the photo – it is made of dryer lint. The artist takes materials others would throw away and uses them in her new media installations. Here she uses light to form the shadow of a woman by the rocking chair – a piece called Hush.

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Only one bit the of 5th Jerusalem Biennale going on this month titled “Four Cubits.” As we again ponder going back to our homes and isolations, 300 artists have created unique expressions from their time spent at home.

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The old hospital is the proposed location of Canada Israel’s future building.

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But meanwhile for the next four years, until they get all the necessary permits, the halls are to be filled with art and artists.

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With the Biennale App, you could have your favorite piece of contemporary art hang in your home, as this woman uses the code on the wall.

The Jerusalem Biennale artists were so impressive I plan to write up as many of them as possible individually to highlight their creativity.

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Here Motta Brim is showing one of his books – want to take a guess? The designs are baking papers from challah! And I throw mine out each week?

As you have heard many times, I love the night lights at the Tower of David.

Avi Lavian at Tower of David for Jerusalem Biennale

In one of the recently renovated rooms is another Biennale exhibition, this one curated by Ariel Lavian.

Necklace in Tower of David for Biennale

Turkish and Israeli designers joined during the pandemic to create a contemporary jewelry exhibition in a guardroom of the Ottoman-built citadel at the Tower of David.

After many months the lights are on in the Gan Sacher play area.

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The long slides and accessible play areas in the public park were empty before the Tuesday grand opening, but full when we walked by Thursday evening.

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This specially designed Jerusalem lion is one of my favorites.

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There were lots of entertainers, and this pair managed to impressively balance in the grass at the opening event.

The Jerusalem Mayor and Deputy Mayors and representatives of the Kraft family were present for the ribbon-cutting as children crowded around.

The Sacher Park Kraft Family Sports areas were lit up at night. Anyone for tennis? The new courts were empty and the gate was open when I went by.

The entrance to Balfour Street and the official Prime Minister’s Residence was also empty as I went by last night. Oh, how different from the past.

The lights are ready to return to Liberty Bell Park and the Train Theater.

The new campus for the Train Theater is ready to open on Hanukkah with multiple shows and new theater venues, large and small, inside and out.

The large theater has this impressive seating ready to roll out when the lights go on for entertaining hundreds of children over the holiday week.

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So there you have it. Life has become a balancing act. The goal is to keep going and stay healthy as the variants rage and change.

I will leave it to this guy on his unicycle to entertain at the traffic lights.

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Jerusalem is ready for holiday visitors with signs of Hanukkah lights – November 28 – December 6, 2021, festivals, light tours, and more,

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and for drivers, there are warnings not to drink and drive.

I thought to conclude with more colorful lights in the Botanical Gardens.

As children begin holiday week, hopefully, filled with lights and wonder,

may all be blessed with color and lights and good health.

May we see you soon on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Biennale 2019 – For Heaven’s Sake!

Jerusalem Biennale 2019 – For Heaven’s Sake!

What a week in Jerusalem the weather was warm and wonderful.

Many things happened over the Sukkot holiday and even more after the holidays.

But the Jerusalem Biennale 2019,  לשם שמים – For Heaven’s Sake! with 500 pieces of art, by 200 artists in 13 locations began before Sukkot and is still going for another two weeks. The Jerusalem Biennale began in 2013,

grew in 2015,

and was bigger and better in 2017.

After posting a few Biennale photos, I received the following message from Hillel Smith, curator of the Jewish Street Art Festival at First Station:

Jerusalem First Station graffiti for Biennale

“As part of the Jewish Street Art Festival (more info at jewishstreetart.com) street artists from around the world painted 17 murals in three locations around Jerusalem. Besides First Station, we also painted at the Artists’ Colony and the Schechter Institute. All of our artists already work with Jewish themes in their art, and I wanted to highlight this effort by bringing them all together to paint at the Biennale. Unlike the other exhibitions, the art in ours was created on-site and will be permanently displayed, leaving a lasting mark on the city.”

Graffiti in Jerusalem First Station for Biennale

These murals are by artists Yitzchok Moully (reflective sukkah) and Solomon Sousa, of Machane Yehuda Market mural fame.

An 18th mural was being painted this week at First Station, by artist Bareket Kezwer. I didn’t get there to see her paint, but something to check out soon.

YMCA Jerusalem Israel

The Jerusalem YMCA is a new and prominent Biennale location.

Rafi Ozeri at YMCA for Jerusalem Biennale

The initial press tour began at the Y with founder and director Ram Ozeri explaining his vision.

Jerusalem YMCA art Biennale

Inside on one side of the old YMCA pool is an installation Waterfall’ by Marina Abramovic.

Jerusalem Israel 2019 Biennale art fish going against stream

Across from it are hundreds of hand-painted fish by Andi Lavine Arnovitz.

Art at YMCA Jerusalem Biennale

One fish flows in the opposite direction, in her installation titled ‘I’m Not’.

YMCA for Ziara Moroccan art Biennale

The main room in the YMCA hosts Ziara: Moroccan Common Wisdom.

Curator of Ziara at YMCA Jerusalem Biennale

Curator Amit Hai Cohen along with seventeen other artists of Moroccan descent display a wide range of contemporary pieces.

YMCA for Jerusalem Biennale

The Moroccan heritage of ziara, feeling of home, contrasts greatly with other Arab countries where Jews were persecuted and expelled.

Ziara Moroccan exhibition preparations

The day before the opening night, artists were busy at work.

YMCA Jerusalem Biennale exhibit

For the gala opening, it was colorful and ready.

Jerusalem YMCA Ziara Moroccan exhibit

Those glasses on the table filled with arak are not for drinking, but a piece by Marcelle Biton.

The smaller line of frames to the left are fascinating portraits. Check out the feature photo at top of this page for closer look.

There is still much more to share besides Ziara at the YMCA.

Heichal Shlomo for Jerusalem Biennale

The main lobby of Heichal Shlomo, by curator Dr. Shimon Lev, Evolve,

Heichal Shlomo Jerusalem Biennale

is a display of 100 works created over the past 3 years by Jean-Pierre Weill.

Jerusalem Biennale Israel artist Dahan

Upstairs in Heichal Shlomo is an exhibition on the life of Israel Dahan. His fifty years of work in creating Judaica and teaching Bezalel students are recognized.

Israelis are not the only ones featured in the Jerusalem Biennale.

Jerusalem Biennale Argentinian artists

Mirta Kupferminc curated Confrontation-Conversation with fellow Argentinian artists. Here she shows off the work of Jewish and not Jewish artists from Argentina with Dr. Ido Noy, deputy director of Biennale and editor of the impressive catalog for “For Heaven’s Sake.”

Heichal Shlomo Jerusalem Biennale artist used old encyclopedias

Also in Heichal Shlomo, everything from old Hebraica encyclopedias to

Rubber bands in "The Fall" art in Jerusalem Biennale

thousands of rubber bands are used to create unique pieces.

Art in Heichal Shlomo for Jerusalem Biennale

Female Waters curated by Rachel Verliebter is another exhibit in more traditional style.

Much more to see, in the other exhibitions in Heichal Shlomo, but we have to move along.

Jerusalem 2019 Biennale at Val Leer in Polonsky

As in the past, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute – Polonsky Hall is an impressive site of Jerusalem Biennale, with Not in Heaven and Transcendence.

Jerusalem Biennale in Van Leer

Rachel Rotenberg has sculptures outside, plus this one inside Van Leer, as seen at the opening event.

Van Leer garden night of Jerusalem Biennale opening

Two boys caught my attention in the gardens filled with people, dancers, and art installations. I was wondering if an electronic game had captured their attention.

Oh my, all that and more we did in one afternoon!

Jerusalem Begin Center art for Biennale

The Menachem Begin Heritage Center has Hebrew Suffragists:100 Years.

Menachem Begin Heritage Center art for Jerusalem Biennale

Experiments with Truth curated by Gargi Seth is downstairs featuring Indian artists.

Jerusalem 2019 Biennale

Not far away at Mishkenot Sha’ananim are the pieces In the East, where Ram Ozeri curated with Vera Pilpoul.

Jerusalem North African Heritage Center

One of the new and most dramatic locations for Biennale 2019 is the Worldwide North Africa Jewish Heritage Center.

Of Wonder exhibition at North African Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem for Biennale

Attending the opening of Of Wonder, was special as the curator artist Mindy Weisel is a friend.

Jerusalem Biennale art

One of the more difficult venues to access, the works here are by Israeli and American artists.

Curator and artists in Jerusalem Biennale

For American Jewish artists to have their works recognized and displayed in Jerusalem, Israel, is a dream come true.

American artist in Jerusalem for Biennale

The Jerusalem 2019 Biennale For Heaven’s Sake! from the colorful pieces,

Artist with paintings in Jerusalem Biennale

to the darker Holocaust shadowed pieces of art at North Africa Heritage Center,

Moully reflective sukka at Heichal Shlomo for Jerusalem Biennale

to the reflective sukkah outside Heichal Shlomo –

only a fraction of the art and artists on display until November 28, check out the website for more information: www.jerusalembiennale.org

Browse art all day. There is an entry fee of NIS 45 to the Biennale, with the one ticket allowing access to each of the exhibitions.

Then too tired to cook?

Not to worry.

OPENRESTAURANTS™ JERUSALEM – THE URBAN CULINARY FESTIVAL  runs from November 19 – 23, 2019. Many of Jerusalem’s finest restaurants have special offers.

What could be next in art and culture?

Zero One, a digital art festival will cover the Tower of David in lights from November 27-28, from 7:00 pm to midnight.

As always so much happening on the Jerusalem streets!

8 Things to See Now on Jerusalem Streets

Israeli Apartheid? 

 got the most views in one day for a RJS post. 

But, 15 Real Photos of Arab Girls is still going strong 

and will soon go over 100,000 views. 

Too bad all my numbers are not that impressive.

So what is there to see in Jerusalem, Israel, now that the holidays

and municipal elections are over,

picture announcements, image colorful posters

and the campaign signs are slowly coming down?

image street art, grafiti, Jerusalem street art

1. Street art can be found in parking lots

man walking on Jaffa STreet

and lines so many streets,

 but contemporary art in Jerusalem has a new home.

2. The Jerusalem Biennale, which runs from September 15-October 31,

Cultural event Jerusalem Israel art & artists

 had its opening in the galleries of the renovated Templar houses on Emek Refaim Street.

3. For the week of October 17-24,

sign Manofim

there was Manofim, multiple exhibitions of contemporary art in Jerusalem.

image man at podium, picture lecture

Art critic and art history expert, Gideon Efrat,

gave a talk at Mishkenot Sha’ananim as part of the annual Manofim events.

image woman drawing, picture sektcthing

One woman was sketching during the program,

which was great to see at an art lecture.

manofim image, Jerusalem bird sanctuary

Manofim took place in many neighborhoods around Jerusalem,

but I was surprised to find this sign left at the Jerusalem Bird Sanctuary.

Art, art and more art is not what you think of first in Jerusalem,

but I have written before about the galleries in the Jerusalem Theater.

Yithak Greenfield with artists

4.  Israeli artist Yitzhak Greenfield’s students opened a show at the theater.

image woman in art gallery, looking at paintings image.

People of all ages came to see their work.

photo of art display, gallery in Jerusalem Theater

 Displays are constantly changing and open to public at no charge.

But there is more than art.

Cinema City in Jerusalem

5. The Cinema City signs are up,

 now everyone can see where the new theaters are located.

sign for Oud Festival

6. See and hear, another Oud Festival starts soon.

sign Einstein on Azza

7. See and learn on Azza Street from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm,

Einstein on Azza is coming on November 1.

Professors from the Hebrew University will give free lectures, along with live performances.

There is so much more, but the last for today.

sign for Jerusalem Knights

8. The Jerusalem Knights Festival will be held

on four consecutive Thursday nights starting October 31.

I saw the very first Knight night and wrote

who could imagine that the Crusades could be so much fun?

You may hear in the news about protests,

but how about these other events that are happening now? 

There is a big problem though,

with so much to see and do,

how does one see a fraction of the things that are going on?

Now If I could just get people interested in seeing some of this good stuff 

and not just looking for Arab girls….