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.

Jerusalem Marathon Ready Set

It poured overnight, but the skies are slowly clearing,

and those who prepared early are very happy,

Tomorrow is the big day,

this has to be drier that the first rain soaked Jerusalem marathon.

The Jerusalem Marathon is hard to miss,

and just like last year’s run,

Jerusalem marathon finish line

a finish line has been up and ready

across a major street for a couple of weeks.

ad for Jerusalem marathon

These huge signs are displayed in multiple locations.

Not only will the races close

many Jerusalem, Israel streets all Friday morning,

Sports Marathon at ICC

but there is also a Sports Expo

in the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

Sports Marathon sign up for runners

Runners have three days to come and get their kits,

with their official shirts and numbers.

Sports Marathon 016b

Entering  the Convention Center lobby

Sports Marathon at ICC

it is all about marathons.

Sports Marathon expo

But inside the large halls,

Sports Marathon 011b

it is all about sportswear marketing.

Sports Marathon Aleh booth

Aleh is one of the many organizations with teams of runners

who will raise thousands of dollars for charity.

Sports Marathon pick up shirts and numbers  at ICC

The full marathon attracts runners from around the world.

Sports Marathon ready in Gan Sacher

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is the main venue.

Sports Marathon start times

The times for the different runs are posted here.

Sports Marathon shul in park

With those early morning start times

it is good that the synagogue is easy to find.

Sports Marathon ceremonies

The serious marathon runners will race up and down

the hilly Jerusalem streets in amazing times,

with the first awards ceremony set  to start before 9:00 am.

Sports Marathon Jerusalem finish line

The finish line for the full marathon is in the park,

each year it gets a little better organized,

  the large park is filled with runners and supporters.

Street fair on Emek Refaim during Jerusalem marathon

With major roads closed to traffic,

many residents do not like this sports event

that shuts down the city.

But maybe the music and street theater

on Emek Refaim Street this year

will keep some of those not running and cheering

in a better mood.

What a difference a few years makes:

who even remembers those half marathon runs?

Purim Old, New and Ignored in Jerusalem

Purim Old, New and Ignored in Jerusalem

Purim celebrations went of for days and days,

in Jerusalem, Israel.

bus sign Happy Purim

As usual, the bus signs said, “Purim sameach.”

Purim carnival

Families celebrated with carnivals and rides for the kids.

Purim Jerusalem, Israel

Groups like the scouts had loud parties.

ice skating Israel

For the first year in Cinema City an ice skating rink was open,

image woman with face painted as animal

and this woman had her face painted to purrfection.

image man in skeleton costume

People in costumes,

cinema city Jerusalem

and well, even this whatever it was.

There was a lot happening on the streets,

Purim fun Jerusalem

 with people in a good mood having lot’s of fun.

Celebrations and huge meals,

and yes, many people drank too much.

News film crews were out

and got videos of drunken men on the street.

But, not one international film crew came on Purim

to the Israeli Foreign Ministry Building,

first votes for Israeli elections

where for the first time, some Israelis working overseas

were able to vote in advance of the March 17 election.

Israel elections

A live feed from Tbilisi, Pretoria, New Delhi and Berlin,

showed some of the locations where diplomats were voting.

photo Salim Joubran

Israel Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran,

chairman of the Central Elections Committee,

on Purim, Thursday, March 5, 2015,

visited the situation room in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

to observe the elections taking place at Israel’s diplomatic missions abroad.

A prominent Arab juridical figure overseeing Israeli elections,

discussed Israel’s being a democracy.

This topic may not fit the media narrative,

but it is what was happening in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Prepares for Purim

Purim is a big deal in Israel,

Especially in Jerusalem, where celebrations go on and on,

not for a day or two like the rest of world,

but starting at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Adar

and continuing for two weeks.

This year it has been hard to figure out,

what is real.

What is Purim nonsense?

What is satire?

What is a joke?

truck fro Israeli elections

 You can see trucks like this one driving around

all the time blasting happy music.

This van, however, is also promoting a political party running for Knesset seats.

No joke, and there is an official pot party too,

as in marijuana, in the race for our new government.

This year an Anglo Vote Event was held in Cinema City,

bugs bunner and goofy at Cinema City

 two of my favorite characters were with the hot chocolate cakes.

Some of the political parties were represented

and candidates answered questions in English.

As one friend noted, no female candidates were in attendance.

However, there is one new party where women do have a voice.

haredi women running for Knesset

Ruth Culian (right) and Noa Erez are two of four women

running in a new party of religious women,

בזכותן  B’Zehuton which means “in their merit.”

To their credit, this is trail-blazing effort.

It took a lot of guts for Ruth to go to law school

and start a political campaign in her community,

  maybe even more than for the Prime Minister

to make a speech in Washington, DC.

go in peace sign

.A sign wishing Bibi well was hung on the String Bridge.

There were more talking heads in the media,

for and against the speech,

than I could count.

Fromer ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Here former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

was headed to the Jerusalem Press Club for one pre-speech debate.

The speech is over.

The Prime Minister is back,

but the talking is still going on and on.

And on the real streets,

the snow felt like ancient history, 

ice skating in Jerusalem

as a new ice skating rink opened in Cinema City.

cat resting in sun Jerusalem Israel streets

The cats enjoyed the warm weather,

flowers jerusalem

and wild flowers exploded in open spaces.

Purim treats

However, the real color and excitement was for Purim.

Purim costumes

 Children are wearing their costumes everywhere.

Adults wearing Micky Mouse ears while driving in cars.

People dressed in wild outfits and

crazy hats while eating in restaurants.

Most anything can be seen this week on the streets,

at least through Shushan Purim and the weekend,

we can assume it is all in the holiday spirit.

purim samech

Happy Purim.

Protesting the Histadrut Protest

It is Israeli election season.

Again.

And way too soon for most of the people that I know.

Anglo Voters  are not being ignored for a change.

Among the numerous election banners,

political sign in Hebrew

 was this sign, “Us or Him”

opposing Bibi for Prime Minister

posted across from his house in Jerusalem, Israel.

Mostly I have tried to avoid sharing the unpleasantness.

street closed near PM house protest

But today a large Histadrut rally was taking place,

protest Jerusalem

in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence,

and streets were closed off for more than two hours.

protest near Israeli Prime Minister house

These men were blowing loudly on their whistles.

Pepe Alau

Jerusalem Council member Pepe Alalu

of Meretz political party

Histardut rally

was on his way to join the bus loads of protesters.

I was on my way back home from a meeting

after the protest rally ended,

protest sign by garbage

and I saw this sign by a trash can,

people leaving rally

as bus loads of people wearing white Histadrut hats left.

Freedom of speech.

Protest away, as loud as you want,

block traffic and inconvenience others,

garbage left after Histadrut rally

but how dare they leave our streets lined with liter!

At least one person got employment from today’s event.

Look who was cleaning up afterwards,

histadrut rally 016b

a Jewish man wearing zizit under his yellow safety vest.

Bibi was not even around for the event,

as he was on his way to the airport and his flight to the US.

His parting remarks:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther,

I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission.

I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis,

even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People.

I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis,

for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people

and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

At least the Histadrut could clean up after themselves.