February in Jerusalem – Presidents, Parks, Ponds and Purim Prep

February in Jerusalem – Presidents, Parks, Ponds and Purim Prep

When we lived in Boston, what a surprise it was to learn that there was a holiday in February for Presidents’ Week. February was a time to go skiing. While five years ago, snow fell in Jerusalem in February, this year temperatures during the day have been warm, at least when the sun came out! So much rain this year, but there are signs of spring.

Blossoms on almond tree in katamon Jerusalem

After the almond blossoms burst out, other fruit trees are now blooming – as are allergies from various pollens.

Flowers are appearing. The lilies in the pond at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are starting to open.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Another sure sign of spring, the birds on a nice day chirp away, before dawn.

Those early wake-up calls at 4:14 am are not appreciated.

Main hall of Jerusalem International Conference Center for OurCrowd Global Summit 2020

The annual spring OurCrowd Global Investor Summit has grown bigger and better.

International registration was reported at 23,000 people from 183 countries.

Jerusalem Israel OurCrowd Summit booth for UpnRide

Get up and Ride, the UpnRide was one of many booths. I mentioned how I saw it used at OurCrowd first. It was so amazing to see a person bound to a wheelchair standing at the buffet table.

Amir Gofer using UpnRide at OurCrowd Global Summit

And there was Amir Gofer again explaining his amazing invention!

What a shame Christopher Reeves died too soon to benefit from this Israeli technology.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to Conference of Presidents at Inbal Hotel

February in Jerusalem means the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is back for its 46th Annual National Leadership mission. On opening night PM Netanyahu spoke in the Inbal Hotel ballroom.

Israeli President receives gift from Conference of Presidents

Monday morning President Rivlin addressed the delegates and invited guests. He was presented with a piece of art as a gift by new CEO William Daroff,  with Malcolm Hoenlein and Arthur Stark posing for the photo op.

President Rivlin took off soon after for a long-anticipated trip to Australia. First, he stopped in LA to get the key to the city, then on to Fiji on the way to the Land of Oz.

The Conference of Presidents used to have a printed schedule for their program. This year there is an app which is for delegates only. “We’re back” was all Hoenlein would say on the record about their trip to Saudia Arabia last week. Much of this week is filled with meetings with Israeli leaders, and some off the record, but a few more photos here.

New standard for clean air signs in Jerusalem

But as for the real streets, the municipality wants to clean up not only the streets but the air too. Signs are up. Warnings are out. Fines and enforcement are to be increased. In the campaign to clean up Jerusalem, citations will be served for littering and not cleaning up after your dog.

Gan Sacher Jerusalem Leningrad Memorial

As for the old dog park in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, finally, all the tents are gone and the Leningrad Memorial is visible. I will spare you dozens of photos from the construction mess in Gan Sacher, but they will have to work quickly before the Jerusalem Marathon next month.

Jerusalem Israel memorial across from Cinema City

The Leningrad Memorial in Gan Sacher is across the road from this memorial for fallen soldiers defending Jerusalem, which is located next to the Supreme Court.

Jerusalem parking garage to save space

Land is at a premium in Jerusalem. Every centimeter is scrutinized. Here a parking garage rises to the sky.

Man working on an old house in Jerusalem being renovated

Small old buildings are being renovated and redone daily.

Street in Jerusalem with sidewalk torn up work

Oh and the streets! When they are completed these sidewalks should be nice. But now?

Azza Street in Jerusalem under repair

Some streets are parking lots part of the day as construction stops traffic. All traffic. Pedestrians are not sure where and how to cross to avoid all the equipment.

New sidewalk on Azza Street in Jerusalem Israel

They are almost done here, an important part of the Jerusalem Marathon route.

These streets will be filled with runners on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Bus stop in Jerusalem Israel

At least we did get our bus stop back.

New bike path in Jerusalem Israel has a bike tire pump

This was a pleasant surprise. Along the new bike path, there is a tire pump available.

Jaffa Street near Market music and dancing on nice day

On the Jerusalem streets, always something to surprise. Spontaneous music and dancing.

Winter Music Festival in Jerusalem sign for end of February performances

There are also planned winter musical performances at the end of February.

Jerusalem Israel hosting an international conference on violence prevention education

A first, an international conference on violence prevention education.

Purim costumes in the Jerusalem Israel shuk

Spring means strange faces appear in the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

Purim holiday masks and hats are on display.

Costumes for children and adults, with unicorns big this year.

Hamenstashen, Haman's Ears for Purim

Hamantashen were piled up high. It is interesting that they are packaged and not out in open.

Ah, Jerusalem, Israel, in February, spring, and Purim is around the corner,

Sign on Jerusalem sidewalk

and Jerusalem lights up on Bezalel Street.

 

 

Jerusalem’s Israel Museum plus 4 more you should know

Jerusalem’s Israel Museum plus 4 more you should know

In Jerusalem, the barricades and barriers to keep the public away from world leaders are gone from the streets and sidewalks. People are out again on the streets when the sun appears.

When walking in Jerusalem and someone asks: “where is the museum?”

It is a safe bet to assume they mean The Israel Museum.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel

So I point to the path up the hill to Jerusalem’s largest and best known Israel Museum.

However, there are dozens of museums in Jerusalem, Israel.

In the past week, four museums opened their doors for special events.

Winter day at the Tower of David in Jerusalem Israel

It was a rainy, grey day at the Tower of David Museum.

Over the years, this ancient military fortress has become a popular cultural spot, hosting a wide variety of events, exhibitions, and nighttime shows.

In October 2017, within the ancient stone walls, looking to the future, ToD launched its Innovation Lab.

The ToD is constantly looking for new ways and technology to engage young visitors with Artificial Reality – AR and Virtual Reality – VR, and Apps. Wearing special VR googles was not to be the final answer to get everyone involved with their surroundings.

MARS launch of interactive tour option at Tower of David

The newest storytelling-videos taking AR to a new level, launched last week, come from MARS.

Co-founder and CEO Ori Noam explained how his David and Goliath video, developed at ToD Innovation Lab, make the experience unique to the user.

MARS at Jerusalem Tower of David Museum launch

At the entrance desk, for a small additional extra fee, visitors  receive a tablet and earphones. Because it was raining outside, demonstrations had to be inside.

Tower of David Museum demonstration of MARS new tourist option using AR and MR

MARS lets visitors interact with Goliath as seen on this tablet screen.

Mars at Jerusalem Tower of David using tablet for tour option

Using sub-conscience triggers, MARS creates an experience unique to each family or visitor. And these days, of course, the mandatory selfie at the end.

Did you realize last week was Israeli Space Week?

The Bloomfield Science Museum was open two evenings free of charge in honor of Space Week.

Signs at entrance to Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem

Besides the currently running exhibitions on Leonardo Da Vinci and Journey to Space, Israeli Space Week attracted families with young children to the Science Museum. 

Balloon Astronaut at Jerusalem science museum entrance

A giant astronaut balloon hovered overhead at the entrance.

Leonardo Questions at Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem Israel

‘Leonardo’s Questions’ were displayed and answered in the main entrance area with Leonardo’s wings hanging above.

Space week at Jerusalem science museum

Upstairs on the third floor, I was able to get one image before the room filled with excited children. Oh, to channel all that energy.

Planetarium in Jerusalem Science Museum

The planetarium required registration to enter, but for photography, I think outside was better to see the black starlit dome.

Leonardo exhibit at Jerusalem Science Museum

‘Optics and Observation’ was one of the various rooms on the current Leonardo theme.

Meteor rock from Arizona desert in Jerusalem science museum

What would be a good space exhibit without a piece of rock from outer space?

Marc, a former employee of Griffith Observatory in California, held a piece of a meteor found in an Arizona crater. Visitors were encouraged to feel a piece of material that fell from space halfway around the world, right here in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has multiple private museums on a wide variety of topics.

Front view of Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem on cloudy day

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, BLMJ, is near the Science Museum and across the street from the Israel Museum.

Entrance to YEMEN exhibition at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

Its new exhibit is simply called YEMEN. The historical development of South Arabia over the centuries is shown in detail to cover all the senses. I was so impressed with a tour before it opened, I had to go back on opening night to see the finished exhibit.

A woman looks at ancient artifacts from South Arabia now Yemen at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

First, the visitor encounters ancient statues and artifacts used for burning incense.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem display of three popular fragrances of ancient times.

The Jews of ancient southern Arabia traveled over long distances by camel with myrrh, frankincense, and balsam. Here one can smell the aromas so important and valuable in ancient times and compare them.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem traditional food from Yemen at opening of new exhibit

I said all the senses. At the opening evening was this traditional Yemenite savory biscuit. I must admit it was not to my taste.

Yemenite man reading Hebrew book upside down in Naftali Hilger photo in Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem

This is one of several powerful photographs by Naftali Hilger on display. Note the Jewish man from Sa’dah is reading a prayerbook upside down. Since books were scarce, children learned to read from multiple directions. Hilger’s photographs taken in the late 1980s add greatly to the exhibit.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Yemen exhibition

Rich colors, old ritual artifacts, and scrolls,

A woman looks at wall display at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Yemen exhibit.

and more recent content, such as this Jerusalem Street sign, add to the scope of Yemenite history.

The father of Batya Borowski, wife of BLMJ founder Eli Borowski z”l, came from Yemen to Israel in 1907. Zacharia Jamil was a talented silversmith and jewelry-maker like his father.

The exhibit with its warm hues radiates the warmth and love Batya Borowski and her daughter,  BLMJ Director Amanda Weiss, have invested in sharing a history unfamiliar to many.

Three rings made by father of Batya Borowski iZacharia Jamil on display in the Bible Lands Museum exhibition Yemen

Three rings made by Jamil are included in the Yemen exhibition.

Fourth and last is the L A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art, which also has a new temporary exhibition.

Trespassing exhibit at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Titled “Trespassing” in English, meaning stretching boundaries, here are 3 examples of works by fifteen Israeli women, coming from religious communities:

Trespassing exhibition at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Muslim – Fatima Abu Roomi self-portraits,

Female Druze artist with special shawel on floor LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem Israel

Druze – special shawl over a traditional home rug,

Shira Zelwer wax flowers and diorama

and Jewish -wax flowers and diorama.

The Museum of Islamic Art has historical pieces and a magnificent antique watch collection. 

Shira Zelwer wax figures from grandmother's photograph Islamic Museum

What stood out for me in the new pieces was this item. Shira Zelwer’s wax figures in the diorama are three-dimensional images reproducing a 1960’s photograph. They show her grandmother surrounded by the waiters of her catering business in Australia.

I fondly remember her grandmother in her later retirement years, still an active personality.

You never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets or what memories in its museums.

Scene from YEMEN at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Israel

From ancient artifacts to futuristic technology, from Yemen to Australia, worlds coming together on the Jerusalem streets and explored and shared in its unique museum displays.

Digging Up and Cleaning Up the Jerusalem Streets

Digging Up and Cleaning Up the Jerusalem Streets

Oh, Jerusalem,

Jerusalem, Israel where the very old and new come together.

Where the ancient and the future collide on the streets.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem Israel as seen over the Valley of the Cross

Winter clouds drift over the Israel Museum overlooking the Valley of the Cross.

Old street morning scene in Jerusalem Israel

A street scene in Mea Shearim is another classic image.

Jerusalem Israel sign for construction of Gateway project

However, the Gateway Project at the entrance of Jerusalem seems to be constantly changing.

Jerusalem Israel street near entrance to city

Indeed, new roads and traffic patterns have been a topic in the past. 

Construction in Jerusalem Israel

Rising above a road out of Jerusalem are new housing projects of Ramat Shlomo.

Jerusalem Israel hills where new roads have been built

To build many of the roads, large sections of the Judean Hills have to be blasted away.

Jerusalem Israel tree preservation

When there is a tree to be saved, it is tagged for preservation.

Jerusalem Israel old Kraft Stadium

Remember Kraft Stadium, the scene of countless night football games and the Woodstock Revival?

Digging for new project at site of old Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem Israel

It is now only a memory as digging has begun on a massive municipal project.

The old Kraft Stadium was next to Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sachar Park.

New paths in Jerusalem Israel Sacker Park

The new biking and walking path in Gan Sacher is now complete.

Jerusalem Israel Park pedestrian tunnel painted with colorful graffiti

At night the path is well lit and much more pleasant to use.

Gan Sacher Park with construction

However, the other side of Gan Sacher is one big construction site.

Jerusalem Park Gan Sacher

The clock is ticking for a new memorial to be ready in the park for its dedication with Vladimir Putin attending.

Jerusalem Israel Sache Park

The Russian President is to arrive with 39 other world leaders for a special Holocaust commemoration at Yad Vashem on Thursday, January 23rd.

Jerusalem residents have been complaining and bracing for major traffic delays for days already.

Presidents, the King of Spain, and Prince Charles of Great Britain and their extended entourages are among the expected guests.

Israeli President Formal hall ceiling

The President is hosting a major dinner reception in Beit Hanasi, the official Israeli President’s Residence, on Wednesday evening for the world leaders.

They even cleaned up the panels on the ceiling in the main hall.

Ceiling of Israeli President Residence

The brightness of the colors so noticeable, I had to take a photo.

Road work on Jerusalem Israel street CAT piece of equipment

Jerusalem is famous for its cats, but a new bred of CATs are now all over the Jerusalem streets.

Electric bus on Jerusalem Israel streets

One of the new Jerusalem electric buses went by.

Construction of new sidereal in Jerusalem Israel

Drivers try to maneuver around closed intersections during the construction of new sidewalks.

Ambulance in Jerusalem Israel construction area

Walking along Azza Street has been a challenge. With work done day and night and in the rain, even for emergency vehicles, it is challenging.

This bus stop was removed the next day, people had to stand and wait in the rain.

Jerusalem Israel construction site Muslim man using work vest as prayer rug

But while walking, I discovered an alternative use for those safety vests, a handy substitute for a Muslim prayer mat.

Clean up street in Hebrew on Jerusalem Israel street

Oh, the new Jerusalem streets, and trying to keep them clean.

Jerusalem Israel feel good signs along main road

Feel good signs have been posted along the main street.

Jerusalem Israel cleanup poster to keep city clean

“Jerusalem is your home, keep it clean,” reminds the new bus stop sign.

Oh, there is more, the light rail construction has whole neighborhood streets dug up.

Fire performance on Jerusalem Israel Ben Yehudah Street

You never know what you will find next on Jerusalem streets – this fire dancer was new to see.

Jerusalem Ben Yehudah at night

However, along Ben Yehudah Street and Zion Square – music, a common sight.

Jerusalem is ever-fascinating and changing.

Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel young woman taking a photo

We had a wonderful time in Yemin Moshe on a photo walk.

Tourists on top of Jerusalem Tower of David

Old or new, day or night, whether you look down or up,

millions of tourists have found what’s happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Come see for yourself.