9 Favorites of Israel Independence Day

Yom Haatzmaut 5775, Israel Independence Day 2015

will be remembered for its wild weather.

It was stormy and windy, rainy and cold in Jerusalem, Israel.

But the favorite flyovers starting

helicopter

with large helicopters flew in spite of the dark clouds,

flyover

while these planes found a time with some blue sky.

smoke from grill

Before noon, smoke rose from the mangals (grills).

blue and white for Israel independence day

A few adventurous families arrived at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

prepared with large blue and white plastic hammers and more.

volunteers on Yom Haatzmaut

One family came all the way from New Jersey to

help out with a mangal for the

Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.

independence day Israel

With fewer people in the park this year,

these sellers of foam spray had to use it up themselves.

blue and white for Yom Haazmaut

Dark clouds were not going to keep these girls away,

gan sacher yom haatzmaut

nor those with the lone soldiers group.

Yom Haatzmaut 5775 100b

Their Israeli flag was easy to find,

lone soldier mangal

along with lots of good food.

What a little rain?

There was no questionn but to go ahead and celebrate.

air show

The afternoon flyovers added to the fun.

Gans sacher on Independence day

There were tall people with kites,

yom haatzmaut

little people with bubbles and flags,

couple in blue and white

and lots of blue and white.

And if not that was enough,

Nachman truck on streets

these vans going around with music blasting

would stop and share their music and dance.

But then,

just as people were groaning that they ate too much,

and getting around to cleaning up,

a rocket was launched from Gaza landing in southern Israel

and exploded.

 Friday morning in Jerusalem,

the lines in supermarkets are long

and supplies of chicken are short.

They keep trying to kill us.

They fail,

We eat.

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom.

New for Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom HaZikaron

“As long as in the heart, within,

A Jewish soul still yearns,

And onward, towards the ends of the east,

An eye still gazes toward Zion.

Our hope is not yet lost,

The hope of two thousand years,

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

On the eve of Yom Hazikaron,

On Israel’s Remembrance Day for Soldiers and Victims of Terror

flame for memorial days Israel

flames are placed high above on many buildings.

It is a Day to Remember  every year.

military grave

 the young lives lost in too many wars.

There will be 23,320 Israeli flags placed,

one for each of those graves in cemeteries

located throughout Israel.

This past year 116 people were added to the list.

 Year after year much is the same,

as the sadness of Yom Hazikaron,

 is then transformed at nightfall into the celebrations of

sign Israel birthday

Israeli Independence Day.

I love the flyovers.

Knesset building with four planes flying near

 Even the dress rehearsal of the planes

woman looking at sky

attracts attention.

But you have to be quick to get a great photo

view of Jerusalem with 4 planes in formation

 and this year a bird got in my way.

Flags and planes are not the only symbols,

as you can see from this large Star of David hanging on the Chord Bridge.

In Israel, and especially in Jerusalem,

where there are so many ceremonies,

it can be hard to decide which one to attend.

 Some are prayer services.

This new Koren Yom Haazma’ut Mahzor,

with over 900 pages

new Koren mahzor

is a far cry from the xeroxed pages that we

used to use for Yom Ha’azmaut services.

This quality volume not only has all the prayer services

with full English translation and explanations,

but also includes services for

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.

Included in the 248 pages of essays,

are both original writings and some English translations

 of works first published in Hebrew.

The essay “Six Knocks” by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik,

was written for Yom HaAtzmaut 1956,

but all you need to do is change some of the names

and it could have been written today.

This post began with the Koren translation of Hatikva.

It is difficult, even with photos,

to explain,

 year after year,

what happens in Israel on these holidays.

Perhaps this volume will help those in the Anglo world

to better understand the words of Hatikva.

Full disclosure,

I was pleased to see that so many people 

 I know were involved in preparation this book.

חג שמח

Passover in and out of Jerusalem

  Passover time in Jerusalem, Israel,

sees a population exchange.

Many locals rent (or try to rent) their homes

to holiday visitors for large sums,

and go away for the week.

Even more take day or overnight trips

view from park in Zichron

to one of Israel’s amazing nature spots

like this one near Zichron Yaakov in Ramat Hanadiv park.

Estimates were as high as 75,000 people

for Monday morning’s holiday annual

Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

But huge crowds were at

Kotel on Pesach

the Kotel, the Western Wall all day the next day as well.

 Not only were prayer services held at the Kotel and at regular synagogues,

but impromptu minyanim for the afternoon prayers

mincha minyin

sprung up just about everywhere.

people at Tachna

It was good to see First Station busy again,

Luna Park to be built in First Station

but this was the only sign of the new Luna Park.

parking lot Tachanah

The free shuttle bus service was finally being used,

with a full size buse to accommodate the crowds,

in addition to the special vans.

The route was different and it went to a different Old City Gate.

While walking to Kotel, you could see

Silwan

people on top of the Walls looking down at Silwan below.

Street blocked in Old City

Streets were closed and blocked to cars,

 while some places were even blocked to pedestrians.

police block way in Old City

I was not allowed to walk up this alley,

but the guy in white shirt was allowed to smoke.

The closings caused a lot of extra walking for people.

Pesach 5775

This little girl is watching a man from an Arabic tour,

who is taking a video of the hasid, religious Jewish man,

while I was taking photos of the Arabic writing on the back of his vest.

Warm, clear weather was perfect for

crowd Passover Jerusalem

 the large and diverse crowds,

Jaffa Gate plaza view of Tower of DAvid

and for photos in Jerusalem on Passover.

Maimilla Mall on Passover

Mamilla Mall had extra balloon people

and we hear they did a great business.

And of course, there was food.

Parks were filled with picnics and BBQ grills,

and the sky filled with smoke.

Many food places were closed for the holiday.

The ones that were open did just about anything with potatoes.

Peasch Potato Pizza

 However,

this pizza did not seem to be too popular

with one young family.

But, always popular

is the holiday greeting on Jerusalem buses,

Happy and Kosher passover

Happy and Kosher Passover.

New Color in Jerusalem

Passover preparations and Israeli children

  being out of school on vacation all week,

plus the arrival of holiday visitors,

are keeping people very busy.

The 120 members of the 20th Israeli Knesset

were sworn in yesterday,

and then they all went on a month long recess.

There were two special ribbon cutting events

that I want to make sure you know about.

Sunday was the special launch of an

 environmental program called the “Green Knesset.”

The dairy cafeteria inside the Knesset building has

image Knesset inside

 large windows to let sun in to heat the room and floor,

and special shading to keep heat from sun out in summer.

But now the “Green Knesset” has added

image bins to recycle bottles

special bins for recycling,

and at meetings water will no longer be served in bottles,

 saving 60,000 plastic bottles per year.

Water, paper and electricity are to be conserved.

No more large mountains of paper for the budget,

as each member will get a disk on key instead.

Those responsible for the first stage of the

 sustainability project gathered together on the Knesset roof.

image Yuli Edelstiein and other dignitaries at Kneset

 Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, smiling on the left side,

was the featured speaker

Israel Knesset building

and was honored to cut the ribbon on the roof

roof of Israel Knesset solar panel field

in the middle of the 1,406 solar panel field.

The next day a very different green project was opened,

the Jerusalem, Israel, nature reserve – the Gazelle Park.

opening Gazelle Valley nature park

The area where gazelles had roamed free,

did not go to real estate developers,

Jerusalem, Israel new park large water area

but back to nature and the people.

On opening day, thousands of all ages attended,

walking trail in Deer Valley Park

 walking nature trails,

Jerusalem Israel park

and listening to stories near the restored Orchard site.

sign in Valley of Gazelle water system

The water system is designed to sustain the plant and animal life.

Green spot in Jerusalem, Israel

In Israel, the end of winter means green grass,

dotted with colored wild flowers.

gazelle puppet on opening day of Gazelle Park

This was the only gazelle I saw on opening day,

but real ones are to have an area in which to roam free once again.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat smiling with children taking photos

Mayor Nir Barkat was smiling and posing for photos,

Nechama Rivlin cuts ribbon at Gazelle Park

and the ribbon was cut by First Lady Nechama Rivlin.

large nature park in Jerusalem, Israel

This Passover one does not have to drive or sit in car for hours to visit a park,

as the nature reserve is large, free to the public,

and open from 7:00 am to dark, 7 days a week.

Gazelle Valley 302b

Happy Spring Holiday.

פסח שמח

Happy Passover!

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Chodesh Nissan,

Passover in two weeks,

Yemin Moshe neighborhood

beautiful time to be out on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets,

as here on the steps of Yemin Moshe.

שבת שלום

חודש טוב

After Elections and Jerusalem Marathon

The 2015 Israeli election is over.

President Reuven Rivlin has sent letters to the various

political parties inviting their leaders to come to Beit Hanassi, 

starting on Sunday, March 22, 2015

to indicate their preferences for forming a new government.

ballots with Hebrew letters

 Over 4,250,000 of these little slips of paper,

each with Hebrew letters representing a political party,

were put into little blue envelopes

which were then inserted into a slot in

 cardboard boxes,

and were counted by hand.

What a low-tech method for a Start-up Nation!

Some emerging facts are surprising.

Who would think that an Arab village would have

the highest percentage of voters for Bibi?

77% of voters in Al Naim voted Likud.

We knew that the head of elections was an Arab Supreme Court Judge,

and now the Joint Arab list has even more than the

10% representation than they had in the last Knesset–

so much for apartheid.

The last RJS post with 30 photos broke all the rules

of blogging, it was very long,

but the marathon was such a big and colorful event.

Photographers waited at the marathon starting and finish lines

and all along the routes, so that millions of photos were taken.

Arab girls in Jerusalem Marathon

 This photo was by far my most popular in the social media.

Some people may be tired of seeing pictures of runners,

 but there is one photo I want to make sure gets seen.

ALEH in Jerusalem marathon

Team ALEH  posed for photos on the track

at the start of the Community Race.

For this special 800 meter event,

5000 people participated representing many organizations.

start of Jerusalem marathon

Police officers were lined up ready to “run” with

children, all with severe disabilities, from ALEH,

Upsee ready to go at Jerusalem marathon

One police officer was holding a child’s hands,

ready to be the first off the starting line.

Jerusalem marathon special races

Then he stepped off on his way,

using a special harness called “Upsee.”

This child was able to “run” in the Jerusalem Marathon.

We may still be using paper ballots,

but one Israeli mother invented this device,

got it manufactured,

and changed a child’s life-one step at a time.

She has more clever devices on the way,

and I cannot wait to see what Debby comes up with next.

Start Up Nation at its best.

Now that that the marathon is over, it is time to prepare for Passover,

but there is more than just cleaning to look forward to next week.

hebrew sign

There is the Jerusalem Arts Festival

sign for Valley of gazelle

and the long-awaited new nature reserve,

The Valley of the Gazelles, is slated to open.

As always, there is so much happening in Jerusalem,

however, the more things change,

the more some seem the same.