Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, after the Six-Day War in June 1967. Under Jordanian occupation, from 1948-1967, there were no Jews living in or allowed to visit the Old City.

Jerusalem Saint Louis Hospital over the green line from old city

The story is told of a woman who lost her dentures when they fell from a window of the St. Louis Hospital on the border on May 22, 1956. One of the French nuns retrieved it, requiring the cooperation of both the Israeli and Jordanian forces. “Unfortunately three teeth had melted loose in the Jerusalem sun.”

The hospital is still active and seen here with freshly painted blue trim on its windows. Today, the light rail train tracks run where, for nineteen years, No Man’s Land divided Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel as seen from St. Louis Hospital

This is the view from the hospital roof today.  The walls of the Old City look the same, but No Man’s Land is much different today from 1948-1967.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Under Jordanian control, this was as close as a Jewish person could get to the Temple Mount, so the above photo was taken from a lookout at Notre Dame, which is next door to the hospital.

The inviting modern view approaching the Old City with Mamilla Mall on the left, a stark contrast to the days when the area was under threat by Jordanian snipers shooting.

Image from Tower of David before Mamilla Mall renovation
photo credit: C. Goldberg

Here’s an interesting view looking toward Mamilla after the wire and barriers that divided the city had been removed, but before the area was developed.

Stones fallen from Temple Mount at base of Old City Western wall

The ancient stones thrown from the Temple Mount remain at the base of the Western Wall as a reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple.

under the Kotel excavation
photo credit: IAA

Under the ground near the walls of the Temple Mount archaeologists have carefully continued to work and find layers of history.

Floor found under Western Wall Plaza
photo credit: IAA

A new discovery, an ancient mosaic floor was uncovered and is carefully being preserved.

Yom Yerushalayim is a day to celebrate old and new Yerushalayim.

Going back over previous years on Yom Yerushalayim.

Three years ago President Trump was in Jerusalem,  it seems like a lifetime ago.

Remember two years ago the Giro d’Italia cyclists filled the Jerusalem streets?

Tower of David on Jerusalem Day

The Tower of David in past years hosted huge crowds.

This year the Tower of David will reopen for Yom Yerushalayim to more modest numbers of guests and only outside venues will be open.

Jerusalem Day Israeli flags dancing in street

Tens of thousands young people singing and dancing with hundreds of Israel flags – not this year.

Jerusalem Israel King George Street crowded for Jerusalem Day

Those huge crowds filling King George Street are a scene from the past.

Jerusalem Israel Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day

No marching through the streets of the Old City entering in the Damascus Gate.

Kotel at end of Jerusalem Day

The Kotel, Western Wall plaza overflowing with people will have very limited numbers this year for evening prayers on Yom Yerushalayim.

Jerusalem Day celebration in Jerusalem

Last year with endless huge events who would have imagined this year?

The usual celebrations in Jerusalem are very limited this year due to COVID-19.

The big 50 year celebrations are nice to remember.

Fewer people are to be on the Jerusalem streets to celebrate.

But this year from around the world more can join and participate.

The Jerusalem Municipality, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Office for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Development Authority for the Development of Jerusalem will hold a special festive broadcast on Thursday, 27 Iyar, 5780 (May 21, 2020) from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in honor of 53 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. 

A virtual two hour live broadcast from special sites in Jerusalem, alongside stories of heritage and interviews with those who fought in the Six-Day War of June 1967, will be broadcast on the Facebook Pages and YouTube of the World Zionist Organization and B’nai B’rith International on Thursday, May 21, 2020, between 2 pm and 4 pm Israel time.

There are many other Yom Yerushalayim programs offered online.

From wherever you are in the world, the Jerusalem streets are only a quick click away.

Crowds in the past for major holidays will not be on the Jerusalem streets this year.

Hoping next year we can all be out on the Jerusalem streets together.

 

 

Oh Jerusalem, What Days in May

Oh Jerusalem, What Days in May

In Jerusalem, Israel, waking up on Tuesday morning the official email began:

* From yesterday (4 May 2020), additional businesses and activities will be allowed to open including: Libraries, all kinds of non-medical treatment on the human body, complementary medicine, hotels and guest houses, nature reserves, heritage sites, national parks, zoos and safaris. Activity at swimming pools will be permitted for competitive athletes and therapy.

* Malls, open-air markets and gyms will be allowed to open on 7 May 2020.

Restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 were working. Special intensive care units were closing.

People were looking forward to getting out of isolation and their homes.

Clouds over Jerusalem Israel

Clouds were began gathering over the Israel Museum.

Jerusalem Israel cloudy sky in May

Clouds were filling the sky over the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem cloudy day white clouds over Knesset

The large flag on the Knesset was blowing in the wind.

Jerusalem Israel clouds in sky

The weather forecast had called for rain. Rain in Jerusalem in May?

Jerusalem sky pink clouds

It was raining in the north. Then Tel Aviv, even Beer Sheva had rain. Clouds started to change over Jerusalem.

Dark grey sky over Jerusalem streets

The clouds in the sky turned dark.

Black sky over the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

The sky over the Israel Musem appeared almost black.

Then winter-like weather in May pelted Jerusalem with rain, heavy rain.

Jerusalem Israel during a stormy day in May

Dark enough in the middle of the day for some of the street lights to go on.

Sunset after rainy day May in Jerusalem

But by the time the sun was to set, the sky began to clear.

May sunset with colorful clouds after rainy day

It was a sunset that colored the sky. Facebook was filled with photos taken as the colors changed.

Jerusalem Israel sunset with many colors

After a day of crazy weather, as the sky cleared, the birds came out again.

* The restriction on praying more than 500 meters from the home or workplace is canceled; the restriction of no more than 19 people for prayers in an open space remains in force.

For the next few days, up to 300 worshipers will be allowed to come to the Western Wall plaza simultaneously, contingent on them wearing masks.  Should all of the prayer areas become full, worshipers will be requested to wait outside the entrances to the Western Wall, with the required distances between them, until space becomes available.

Western Wall at night

Late at night the Kotel, The Western Wall had people coming and going again.

Jerusalem Western Wall divided into sections for social distancing opening up

Bar/bat mitzvah families can return to celebrate at the Western Wall in accordance with regulations.

The Health Ministry calls on the public to continue listening to the directives on physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hygiene, in order to ensure public health and continue the common struggle against the spread of the coronavirus.

Old City Lions wearing masks
Photo credit: Joshua Wander

The lions in the Old City are ready with masks, though not social distancing.

Always something new to see on the Jerusalem streets.

Meanwhile another crazy weather day, and new storytime by Pres Ruvi:

Stay well, everyone, and safe inside or outside your house.

 

 

 

Jerusalem Moving Outside – but Aquarium?

Jerusalem Moving Outside – but Aquarium?

Jerusalem, Israel has completed most of the spring exhausting holiday season.

A very different holiday season it was!

Sunday, May 3, 2020, slowly some businesses and classrooms reopened.

Jerusalem Knesset at night

Finally, lights were on inside the Knesset Building, not just holiday lights strung on the street.

View of prayer plaza of Kotel divided for COVID-19 prayers

The Kotel, Western Wall was divided into smaller prayer areas.

Gan Sacher park empty on rainy day

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was empty for Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day,

instead of being crowded with families and friends gathered for the usual mangals, BBQs.

Tourism is a huge factor in life in Jerusalem and its economy.

The municipality is looking for ways to slowly get back to “normal.”

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is one large open area where people could social distance.

Jerusalem Gazelle Valley opening day

Gazelle Park is another large open green space.

Entrance to Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

The Biblical Zoo, as the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem is called, is another popular open area that could be reopened.

Entrance to Jerusalem Israel Aquarium

However, the new Jerusalem Aquarium which is further down the road from the zoo might be one of the last sites to be fully open again to the public.

At the end of January 2020, I finally got to the Aquarium.

I have had it on my list to share and now seems like the right time.

Remember that cute video of penguins walking around an aquarium after it was closed?

Sorry. It was not the Jerusalem Aquarium but could have been.

Near entrance to Jerusalem Aquarium

The Jerusalem Aquarium is an accessible and temperature-controlled space.

The inside venue would have been perfect for a hot summer day visit for all ages.

Fish tank in Jerusalem Aquarium

Beautiful tanks of fish and underwater flora line the walls.

Sections are divided according to Israel’s local bodies of water.

Dead Sea section of Jerusalem Aquarium

The Dead Sea exhibit will have to be updated.

Recently they have found life in the freshwater sinkholes.

Sea Horses in Jerusalem Aquarium

I could have spent hours watching the seahorses.

Large fish tank in Jerusalem Aquarium

There was an area to take a break and rest and listen to trained guides.

Jerusalem Aquarium long horn cowfish

Have you heard of the LongHorn Cowfish before?

Elmo exhibit at Jerusalem Aquarium

Can you find Nemo? Especially for children of any age or size, there is a special tank. You can get inside to search for and be photographed with the real fish that famous animated feature  Nemo was based on.

Jerusalem Aquarium

Coral reefs provide background in one of the seas.

Large fish in tank at Jerusalem Aquarium

Large tanks of large fish,

Colorful fish in Jerusalem Aquarium

and small tanks of colorful fish are inside the Aquarium.

There’s much more to see and to do to keep all ages engaged.

Jerusalem Aquarium

It was a wet wintry-like day when I finally got to the two-year-old tourist site for the first time.

Sure hope it is not another two years until the giant seahorse outside greets visitors.

Who could imagine that an enclosed and interactive space would be a problem?

Large and small roses in a vase

At least the cold wet weather and this most unusual spring was good for the roses.

Stay well and healthy.

Hope to see you all on the Jerusalem streets one day soon.