Shabbat Shalom

Some say Tu B’Av is like a Jewish Valentines Day.

There was so much happening Thursday night in Jerusalem, Israel.

The streets were full of people and cars. Plenty to share, but short on time.

However, the walls of the Old City were colorful for Tu B’Av.

Jerusalem walls colorfully lit for TU B'Av

 

I thought perfect to wish all a Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE

Nine Days of Av

Nine Days of Av

Rosh Chodesh Av starts the annual period of mourning in the Jewish calendar before the fast of Tisha b’Av, the 9th of the month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples and other catastrophic events that befell the Jewish people.

With restrictions on live music, eating meat and drinking wine, there is a more somber mood this week in Jerusalem, Israel.

This year, however, the World Cup final provided and excuse for some to hold large gatherings to watch the game: at the Tower of David, street cafes and many outdoor venues.

Hinnom Valley Food Truck Festival in Jerusalem , Israel

This summer there is something new called Auto Ochel, food trucks in Valley of Hinnom.  The restaurants featured this week provided dairy meals for the Nine Days.

For this week, celebrations are limited, as for example, no Jewish weddings are held, in order to remember the destruction. 

Beit Hamikdash model at Israel Museum

This model of the Second Temple stands outside at the Israel Museum.

Corner stone from Beit Hamikdash in Israel Museum

Inside the museum a stone salvaged from its destruction in Jerusalem so many centuries ago is on display.

This time of year I remember the beautiful town of Yamit which was destroyed in 1981 in order to return every grain of sand in the Sinai peninsula back to Egypt as part of the peace treaty.

photo of photo of Gush Katfi before it was destroyed

Thirteen years have passed since summer of destruction of Gush Katif.  These beautiful homes were in one of the Israeli communities destroyed.

From Gush Katif Museum memorial for destroyed communities.

We are no closer to the promised peace.

Israeli fields have gone up in smoke over past three months. 7,400 acres were burnt.

Today two incendiary balloons from Gaza landed in a nursery school playground.

Sderot JNF playground built inside with bomb shelters

In this photo from Operation Pillar of Defense, November 2012, children in Sderot played inside the bomb-protected playground as missiles were launched at them from Gaza.

Who remembers the Truth about Gaza?

Excavation of new entrance to Western Wall Plaza

Thousands of pilgrims walked up these steps to the Holy Temples of old.

This week we remember the destruction in Jerusalem.

Ir David, City of David, is having a summer festival after Tisha B’Av, with camel rides and workshops.

The 35 th Jerusalem Film Festival begins next week, followed by the annual Wine Festival at the Israel Museum.

Next week we look forward to weddings, music and celebrations, and building new homes, with hope for the future.