Best of Passover in Jerusalem

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

The Passover holiday in Jerusalem, Israel, is always a busy time with so much to do.

After days of cleaning and shopping, and a late night seder, what next?

This year I decided not to spend hours in the car along with millions of other Israelis going to lush camping sights and sandy beaches, but rather to stay home and explore what Jerusalem has to offer.

Now to share with you some of the best of Jerusalem for Passover this year 5778.

Where else to start, but with food.

Jerusalem Israel humus shop closed for Pesach

Some restaurants like this new humus place were closed tight for Passover.

Kosher for Pesach Holy Bagel and Shwarma in Old City for Pesach

But not to worry, in Jerusalem, there was an abundance of kosher for Passover places to eat. This Holy Bagel in the Old City is not only mehadrin kosher, but “KOSHER without fear of legumes!”

Pesach pizza and matza in Mamilla Mall for Pesach

With baskets of matza on the table, this potato crust pizza looked good enough to eat. People were standing in lines for seats to taste for themselves.

Pesach in Jerusalem food displayed in window for Pesach

Pizza, rolls, sandwiches, pies, cakes and more…one of the best places for Passover food is in Jerusalem, Israel.

Pesach crowd in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem, Israel, with two Muslim women walking through the mall

Mamilla Mall was busy and crowded with local shoppers and international tourists, plus entertainment and performances for children.

Pesach in Jerusalem, people dressed in varied clothing

Another favorite was seeing the clothing in the Old City, with many dressed in their holiday finest, wearing every type of outfit imaginable.

View of Tower of David inside Citadel on spring day of Passover

With so many activities for families, it was hard to decide what to do first, as dozens of museums and sites were free for children. The Tower of David had families walking, touring, and climbing.

Ramparts walk in Jerusalem on Pesach

From the Tower of David you could see the Old City ramparts walk with tourists going along the top of the walls of the Old City.

Volunteers pouring water to give away to visitors to Old City on Pesach

Days were warm and the sun beat down midday. But volunteers were in several locations in Old City offering cups of water, free to all who walked by.

Menorah in Rova in front of Hurva Shul for construction of new elevator to Western Wall Kotel

The Golden Menorah was moved near the Hurva Synagogue, where tourists were busy taking photos.

Construction fence at site of new elevator for access to Kotel near steps where menorah had been before in Jewish Quarter

This menorah is a photo posted near where the gold one was located. The Western Wall elevator is to be constructed here.

Remember I said every type of clothing imaginable? How about a Betar uniform from the 1920’s?

Pesach crowd in Kotel plaza after Birkat Kohanim on Pesach

It was reported 100,000 people were at Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, Monday morning.

Afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach at Kotel

In the afternoon and for most of the week, the Western Wall Plaza was still filled with families.

Visitors to Western Wall Plaza from Rova on afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach

All day long tens of thousands of people came and went from the Old City.

Visitors line up to go to Temple Mount on Passover afternoon

This line was not at the security entrance leading to the women’s section, but just a long line of tourists waiting to access the Temple Mount.

Pesach afternoon and egalitarian space at Western Wall was empty

The egalitarian section, however, was almost empty. On the right of this photo, if you look very closely, you can see children playing near the stones from the Second Temple.

While so many were in the Old City, other Jerusalem locations were also holiday destinations.

Gan Sacher on Pesach with people grilling and lounging

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, smoke filled the air with dozens of extended families grilling meat for large meals, with boxes of matza on the tables.

Passover in Jerusalem, Israel, in Gan Sacher

Children were playing as family members and friends were sitting and talking or playing sports.

Another extremely popular destination was the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens pond on Passover

Thousands of people wandered the grounds over Passover.

Pond lily in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

I was fascinated by these flowers in the pond. There is so much beauty in what was formerly a garbage dump.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens children's activity on Passover

There were planned and supervised activities for children,

Boy and girl looking at flowers in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

as well as colorful flowers to capture their attention.

Jerusalem park on Pesach with people eating and grilling

Nayot Park was one of dozens of Jerusalem parks where grills were going, smoke was rising, and matza was on the table.

One parking spot is worth standing until your car arrives in Jerusalem on Passover

Driving in many locations took much longer than usual. Finding parking was not always easy. A free parking spot in a good location was worth saving.

There were varied musical events at night, too numerous to list.

Old places like Hansen House were full of activity.

So much was happening in Jerusalem this Passover week.

More photos: Old City HERE    Gan Sacher HERE   Botanical Gardens  HERE

I will end with a video of the Birkat Kohanim,

Pesach in Gan Sacher two little boys palying

and one of my favorite photos, of these young cousins getting to know each other at a Gan Sacher picnic.

Wishing all a good holiday and Shabbat Shalom

 

This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

This Year in Jerusalem, Best of Passover

Passover is one of the three festivals

on which there were traditional pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

This year on all the days of Passover

Old City on Easter and Passover

thousands of people walked to the Old City

Buses to Kotel on chol hamoed

or arrived by bus after bus, on the intermediate days of the holiday,

Western wall passover

 dressed in their holiday finest at the Kotel, Western Wall, plaza.

Kossel of Pesach

Prayers started early and

Davenng at Kossel for Pesach tefilla with tora chol hamoed

went well into the day, with participants all ages

Kotel on Pesach, women's section

on both sides of the mechitza partition,

Robinson's Arch Kotel Plaza Pesach

and in the new area where all pray together.

Holiday scenes from the Old City
view of Har Hazetim from Old City

included buses lining the road on the Mount of Olives,

Street scene Jerusalem, Israel Old City

as well as people coming and going as usual.

New to these ancient streets is

Train for tourists in Old City

the colorful tourist train which starts from Jaffa Gate

crowded street in Old City for Pesach

and shares the road with buses, cars, segways,

and pedestrians going in both directions.

This year since Passover and Easter coincided,

I was hoping to find more Easter scenes,

Copts in Jerusalem for Easter

but I came much too late for sunrise services.

I did spot a few men leaving the Old City,

perhaps they were Copts from Egypt.

Jaffa Gate on Pesach with man selling bread

 Easter buns and beigele were being sold by the Jaffa Gate

for anyone craving fresh baked goods on Passover.

However, there were more things to do in Jerusalem

View from gesher at Begin Center

than just going to the Old City.

Gan Paamon skate park

In the roller-blade/skate park in Gan HaPa’amon,

the Liberty Bell Park, Arab parents watched their children skate

along with Jews, both religious and secular.

Nearby, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center

Menachem Begin photo

had activities and free tours all day long.

I did not know that tours

had to be booked in advance.

But since we arrived at the end of the day,

we were able to wait a bit and join a tour.

I usually mention the tour on photo walks in the area.

Now that I finally took the tour myself

I will continue to recommend it

for its important historical information

presented in a modern, moving exhibit.

From old to new,

the evolution of the haggadah

was the theme of this  Kol HaOt event at Inbal Hotel.

Signs of the seder evolution of haggadah

Israeli artists displayed their works,

while speakers elaborated on seder symbols,

design, and the history of haggadot.

The page on the right which reads “Next year in Jerusalem”

illustrated with modern building cranes and trucks.

For me, an illustration of the transition from ancient to modern.

There is so much building in Jerusalem,

things are constantly changing.

Jerusalem Botanical gardens

A place where one can really appreciate the development

is the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,

which also had free admission on Passover thanks to Bank Hapoalim.

The new entrance way

Jerusalem gardens view of pond

leads to the pond

people reflected in pond

where people gathered to enjoy nature.

eat matzah sandwiches and ice cream treats.

Pray Shin-Min

Shin-Min, “pray and and flowers will come out” in Japanese

is carved on this stone, but more than prayers went into

Botanical gardens

turning this old derelict space into

a beautiful, expansive nature area, with comfortable paths.

Tour in Botanical gardens on Pesach

Organized tours were available,

but the gardens are divided into well-marked growth areas,

such as Australia and South Africa,

and all the vegetation is identified.

Group on grass in Botanical Gardens

Groups or individuals could easily

meet, eat, and explore

bath in garden in Jerusalem Israel

this man-made oasis in the middle of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

There was much more to see in the Botanical Gardens,

Flowers, Botanical gardens Jerusalem

but the festive holiday meals involve lots of preparation.

Over the holiday, the overcast skies finally cleared.

Rain was predicted,

but only enough fell to get the dirt out of the air

and cover everything.

Passover greeting on bus

but not enough to ruin holiday outings

or the Passover greeting on the buses.