Jerusalem Day Continuing Celebrations

Jerusalem Day Continuing Celebrations

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, in Yerushalayim, is usually a special day.

However, this year Jerusalem Day was even more special, for many reasons.

Mazel tov Netta, Mazel toy seat covers on ElAl plane

Netta mania goes on. This photo  was posted of an El Al plane for her trip back to Israel from Eurovision, winning with her song “Not Your Toy.” Notice how mazal tov, became MAZAL TOY. It was one thing for thousands to turn out in Tel Aviv to welcome her back, but I saw a video taken in Lisbon, where thousands were singing along with Netta Barzalai during the song competition, was something else.

Wow, just crazy.

Honor guard with US flag at opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem Israel

And then there was the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. It opened with the presentation of colors by a military honor guard and a room full of US dignitaries.

David Friedman US Ambassador to Israel

US Ambassador David Friedman said, “Jerusalem, Israel” and led a live-streamed ceremony with international media coverage.

We will have to wait to see if babies born to US citizens in Jerusalem, Israel, will have that written on their US passports. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” is what was written until now.

The celebrations, feasts and events with officials for the US Embassy opening are still going on.

Oh, Jerusalem.

View from Tower of David to Mount of Olives Jerusalem Israel

Here is one view of the Mount of Olives on Yom Yerushalayim from the top of the Tower of David.

Actors on Jerusalem Day at Tower of David

The Tower of David, open free of charge on Yom Yerushalayim, is a popular destination for celebrating the holiday. Actors dressed as historical figures, included Golda Meir.

Actors dressed as Ben Gurion and Chaim Weixmann at Tower of David on Jerusalem Day

Ben Gurion and Chaim Weizmann were near the entrance, a day for the young and not so young.

Music event on Jerusalem Day in Tower of David

Hundreds came to hear live music and be greeted by the Mayor of Jerusalem.  Oh and thank you Berman Bakery, for the fresh and free sweets all day.

Israel flag on Churva Synagogue on Jerusalem Day

The Hurva Synagogue was draped with an Israeli flag. After the morning rain, you could see the Dead Sea and Jordan in distance.

Women dressed as Israeli flag on Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem Israel

This woman took the prize for best theme outfit of the day.

Jerusalem Day celebrations on Agron Street in Jerusalem Israel

The enthusiasm, singing, and dancing of the Flag Parade filled Agron Street.

Dancing with Israeli flags on Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem Israel

This group stopped to sing and blow the shofar as they proceeded to the Kotel, Western Wall.

Erick Stakelbeck filming at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Israel

Watchman star, Erick Stakelbeck. was filming near Jaffa Gate, with the Tower of David in the background.

Watchman Erick Stakelbeck filming near Jaffa Gate.

The crew was ready and the camera started rolling.

Jerusalem Day filming of Watchman episode by Erick Stakelbeck interrupted by boys singing

When a group of young Israelis danced on to the set and scene.  I asked if that was planned and part of the show. It was not.

Jerusalem Day Israeli boys interrupt filming of Watchman episode by Erick Stakelbeck near Jaffa Gate.

But instead of being overly upset, Stakelbeck joined, smiled and danced around for a few minutes.

Jerusalem Day street closings for Flag Parade

Some streets were blocked for the Flag Parade. This year the gathering points and route were somewhat different.

Yes, it is loud, sometimes very loud. But it is not violent, and not only young males with too much testosterone participating.

Families came to walk and watch. All ages are out on the streets. Young Israeli women were on a different and alternate street.

I did not do the whole walk as in past years. With an earlier start time, and threatening weather, the marchers were spread out and the Old City route was not as congested as in past.  Buses from around the country were arriving all afternoon.

Tens of thousands ended the march at the Kotel, Western Wall, at the end of the day as the sun set. Singing and dancing filled the plaza and overflowed.

On Jerusalem Day three Muslim girls walk in Mamilla Mall

With all of that, Arab girls were out shopping in Mamilla Mall.

Two women wearing hijab sit inside Aroma Cafe in Jerusalem Israel Mailla Mall on Jerusalem Day

Two Arab women were sitting in the Mamilla Aroma Cafe.

The violent protests along the southern border from Gaza were distressing and for Nakba Day, there are reports of new violence.

Cherry season in Israel, Machane Yehuda Market

Life may not be a bowl of cherries. But fresh cherries are piled high in the shuk, Machane Yehuda Market.

In areas under Jordanian occupation from 1948-1967, where Jews did not go, on Yom Yerushalayim there was celebrating and dancing on those streets.

There were so many other local and official celebrations, I cannot begin to list them all. The day ended with prizes, more music and fireworks at the Tower of David at night.

The Embassy of Guatemala is opening and the month of Ramadan is starting.

So much happening on Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem 51, Israel 70 and Netta Number1

Jerusalem 51, Israel 70 and Netta Number1

There are a lot of tired people in Jerusalem, Israel this morning.

But how did I miss something so large and so obvious last week?

Welcome sign for Giro d'Italia in pink flowers near Montefiore Windmill

I walked right by this massive welcome sign and did not notice it.

The huge floral welcome sign with pink flowers near the Montefiore Windmill was to welcome last week’s international cycling event.

I walked right by, looking at the street and obsessed with taking photos of Giro d’Italia. 

The riders and crews have moved on to Italy, and now back to ‘normal’?

No way. No down time in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem and Israel large flags on buildings

Last year for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, 50 years since reunification of Jerusalem, there were large flags, special 50 years and US flags flying.

Trump bus in Jerusalem

There were not only huge and many signs posted by the Friends of Zion, there were buses blessing Trump.

United States flag

This week flags were up again along the entrance to Jerusalem.

Israeli and US flags on building before US Embassy open in Jerusalem Israel

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ready to greet the official US delegation for US Embassy opening in Jerusalem.

Street poster ads for Trump and 12 Points Eurovision

But, besides Yom Yerushalayim and US Embassy opening in Jerusalem, there was Eurovision.

For many Americans, it is hard to understand the appeal, the “music” or the entire event.

Netta Barzali singing at Har Herzl on Independence Day

However, Netta Barzilai who also performed live at Har Herzl for Yom Haatmazut, Independence Day – WON. Israelis stayed up past 2:00 am to watch the results.

Her song “Not Your Toy” was chosen most popular in the voting competition.

The winning country hosts the Eurovision Song Contest the following year. Israel has won 3 times in the past.

So when Netta announced, “Next year in Jerusalem,” even many who hated the song and competition, swelled with pride.

Dream Jerusalem education week sign.

How fitting the signs for this education week in Jerusalem.  Dreams. Do it. Go to school and build on those dreams.

Tours for Jerusalem Day, Zot Yerushalayim

This is Jerusalem, so many faces, free tours and events for Yom Yerushalayim abound, way too many to list.

The US Embassy opening is a closed affair.  It will be live streamed and covered by hundreds of international press who arrived for the historic moment.

Sign for Jerusalem spring events in city parks

However, everyone is invited to celebrate in the city parks.

Yom Yerushalayim may not be observed throughout the world, and even Israelis tend to overlook the day.

But on Shabbat in Jerusalem, 1000 people attended special morning services at the Great Synagogue, where Mayor Nir Barkat was invited to speak.

At night and in the morning, special prayers of praise were sung at the Kotel, Western Wall, Tayalet, and synagogues.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Thankful. Remembering from 1948-1967, this was as close to the Old City as Jews were allowed during 19 years of Jordanian occupation.

Jerusalem reunited, restored, and growing.

To get you in the mood, wherever you are, from last year’s half-century celebration:

Now off to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in Yerushalayaim. 

Significance of Yom Yerushalayim,This Year in Jerusalem

Significance of Yom Yerushalayim,This Year in Jerusalem

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day,

saw tens of thousands celebrating on King George Street,

as it filled with a sea of blue and white Israeli flags.

Yom Yerushalayim on King George Street before Flag Parade to Old City

Afternoon shadows were not good for photos,

but the shade from hot sun was appreciated.

King George Street Yom Yerushalayim

 The Flag Parade, with its singing and dancing,

is mostly known for rowdy young male participants.

Last year I walked the entire route,

and as usual, if RJS is there, nothing bad happened.

This year what was significant was

not the guys, but the girls.

There were so many girls.

Yom Yerushalayim girls dancing on King George STreet

The crowd of girls stretched far into town,

 farther than the eye or zoom lens could see.

There were two bands for separate dancing,

 with their Israeli flags,

King George Street Yom Yerushalayim Flag Parade

 these girls were next to the guys’ circles,

 but the guys seemed to take no notice of them.

Also significant to note concerning this day,

more than just teenage exuberance,

Yom Yerushalayim family in march with flags

is the young families, who were walking,

Yom Yerushalayim

and watching,

hundreds of families, many dressed in blue and white.

Yom Yerushalayim Flag Parade

While thousands of older people lined the streets to watch.

Yom Yerushalayim visitors from overseas

From around the world they came,

Costumes at Yom Yerushalayim from Africa

to join in the celebrations

Yom Yerushalayim 50 years in flowers near Windmill

of Jerusalem being liberated and reunited,

on 28th of Iyar, June 1967,

as Israeli paratroopers reentered the Old City by way of the Lions’ Gate.

All the street closings

for flags and dancing and parades,

and the Trump presidential visit caused less

Traffic came to standstill in Jerusalem, Israel on Thursday May 4, 2017

traffic havoc than two accidents and

an overload of cars on Thursday, causing gridlock,

 making Jerusalem look like one big parking lot.

Tens of thousands of international visitors are still around.

Jaffa Gate Plaza tourists dancing.

A group of Christian tourists were dancing at Yaffa Gate,

to the Hebrew song “Moshiach.”

Rova on spring day

Under a clear blue sky the Old City

was serene and picture perfect.

On Shavuot, 5 Sivan, Tuesday, May 30,

the streets will again be filled, not with cars,

Traffic in Jerusalem at stand still

but with throngs of people walking,

Kotel in afternoon before shavuot

to the Kotel, Western Wall for holiday prayers.

During the Six-Day War, all of Israel was united,

 fearing destruction.

The defeat of the invading Arab armies has often been

described as miraculous.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could come together again,

in good times, not just bad.

Shema Yisrael prayer on back of Jerusalem, Israel public bus

A timely message on this Jerusalem public bus.

Chag Sameach, Happy Holiday.