Snow and Light in Jerusalem

Snow!

Snow in Jerusalem, Israel.

What is it about snow in Jerusalem that gets the world’s attention?

Wednesday night a blanket of white covered the Jerusalem streets.

After flurries during the day, the snow came down rapidly after dark.

Palm trees sagged under the weight of inches of snow.

I gave up trying to get clear images of people who were out walking.

The streets were full of sounds of excited children, many seeing snow for the first time, who ran out to play in the streets.

Thursday morning a significant amount remained, though not like my memories of snow storms in the northeastern US, and not as much as in Jerusalem in 2013.

But more than enough snow for the Middle East, and the cactus plant.

Friday piles of snow remained, this one in the park much to the delight of two little boys, was much prettier than the grey stuff left behind along the major streets.

What an upside-down week of weather in Jerusalem!

The beginning of the week it was warm enough to walk barefoot.

Young families still with no school could hike in the sunshine.

Spring flowers were popping up in nature areas.

The almond blossoms were out and already beginning to fall off the trees.

Work was proceeding on the roof of the new National Library.

It was a great time for letting the dogs out for a walk.

On the Knesset snow photo taken as the fog cleared, I noticed strange black things on top on the roof?

And along Hazaz Street, more lighting equipment was set up last week.

It’s for “Follow the Lights!” – February 21- March 3rd.

Special illuminated Jerusalem sites are planned to be viewed from moving vehicles. The huge projectors were placed along the road last week in preparation and I was told not damaged by the snow.

Get ready to follow the lights!

Will have to go and see if this is how it really will look tonight.

Most of the lighted sites are located where I usually walk.

The setup at the Israel Museum today was extensive.

Large structures are in place to be viewed from private cars.

Will see if everyone driving the route thru the Israel Museum parking lot really stays in their cars as instructed?

Near the Israel Museum, these bicycles line the bike path off the road across from the Knesset. Now they should be interesting lit up at night.

The snow was pretty while it lasted. But now it has melted.

Schools and malls and businesses are reopening. President Rivlin is to attend the Kahn Theater tonight to mark its reopening. The Prime Minister is headed to Eliat where hotels are to open.

The poppies were out again in Jerusalem in the sunlight.

Hopefully signs of spring and hope for a better year ahead.

Purim starts on Thursday, February 25th this year.

For one way to get into the Purim mode and mood, Tower of David has a program on Wednesday night.

Jerusalem Municipality neighborhood events are from February 22-28, not only Triple Purim – but a week, even though some coronavirus restrictions are still in place.

Dozens of Megilat Esther readings sponsored by various groups will be held. Already last year I avoided the large synagogue megillah reading for a small one, and downsized the holiday.

Hopefully next Purim we will all be back joyfully celebrating on the Jerusalem streets. But for now, you can come and enjoy the light shows.

Jerusalem Comes Out from Lockdown

Jerusalem, Israel streets began to come alive. Slowly people came out from the latest coronavirus lockdown, as from the safety of a cave or like a butterfly from its cocoon.

Each day last week I walked a different route to see what was happening on the Jerusalem streets with the lessening of corona restrictions.

People returned to the Old City as soon as the gates were again reopened.

Yes, school? No school? No Red or Orange school. Yes, Green preschool?

Confused? Here was the start of the new answer to the constant question:

Question #1 from a 6-page official document:

Does the return outline apply to all schools and nurseries throughout the country?

Answer: The outline distinguishes between localities and authorities that are in green and yellow areas and those in orange traffic light areas where physical learning has been allowed, and between authorities that are orange and red according to the traffic light model.

So? Most schools were not open, especially in Jerusalem this past week.

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, had a holiday appearance, and the sounds of laughter and smells of grilled food filled the air.

With spring-like winter weather, families flocked to green open spaces.

While many people drive south to see the flowers, I am happy to walk closer to home for those annual red anemones, the sign of spring.

Zion Square provided a place to sit, as Ben Yehudah and Jaffa Road eating places provided takeaway food. As I walked around I kept thinking of bears coming out of hibernation and hungrily looking for a first meal.

Stores were still closed on Mamilla Mall, and this was the last cyclist allowed to pass through, as people were slowly returning and walking on Mamilla Ave.

Not sure where these two women carrying bags made their purchases.

Rimon, the only cafe open, was back in business, with outside eating only.

I was disappointed to find not one hamentashen displayed in the window.

Purim is less than two weeks away, but the usual holiday excitement was not apparent this year as I walked around Jerusalem.

People were in line for eyeglasses, interesting as they were one of a few businesses allowed to be open throughout the strict corona lockdowns.

The hair salons were allowed to reopen and here a customer was having their hair done with the door open. However, next door the small clothing store was gone, out of business.

Too many small business owners forced to close for repeated corona lockdowns have given up and their vacated stores now display for rent signs.

This appeared at first to be a sorry sight on Ben Yehudah Street.

But when I looked up, new buildings towered above. Thousands of new hotel rooms should be ready when tourists come back to Jerusalem.

As for the new hotel going up on King George Street, I was wrong, it’s over 15 stories tall, not ten as I mentioned last week.

The renovation of the Knesset Museum on King George Street though is still in a very sorry state of disrepair.

The road work on Jerusalem streets continues, with closings to traffic and detours becoming the new normal.

As these new signs were going up, the street was closed briefly. There are so many new signs I may have to do a piece on some of the ones I collected.

I was relieved that these oversized signs were for phones. As the March election date approaches, we anticipate some politicians’ oversized faces will again appear here near the main entrance to Jerusalem.

King David Street is closed for repaving. However, a new sign for George Washington Street was up in time to share for the US Presidents’ Day on February 15th this year.

This Abraham Lincoln Street sign is next to the YMCA on King George Street.

But where the two US presidents’ streets meet there are no signs to share.

The YMCA will be difficult to access when it is allowed to reopen, my shortcut using this side entrance on Lincoln Street will become popular.

Lovely days and golden sunsets, and talk of possible snow by Wednesday?

Credit Photo: Haim Zach / GPO

President Rivlin took a trip to Mount Hermon this week to the snow.

When will we get back to “normal” is the big question, not if it will snow.

On Friday, my son was sitting on our porch. He looked out and said, “What’s that building? It wasn’t there last time I was here.” Not the Knesset, it has been there over 50 years, but the construction near Cinema City has mushroomed up during the past year.

Parents with young children were relieved to get out for some fun days this past week with travel in Israel less limited. But families really want to go back to school in real classrooms or even outdoors, and not at home forever zooming. There are Israeli students who have been in classrooms for only one day, though I saw a sign this week wishing students good luck on their final high school exams.

In Bnei Brak on Thursday night, free chulent was offered to people getting vaccinated. Hikers were vaccinated in an MDA Corona vaccine trailer in the Shokeda Forest.

The sun was shining and it was warm last week, what will happen next?

You never know what will happen in the Jerusalem streets!

Check back next week to find out and stay well out there.

Did You See these Jerusalem Photos?

Do you find some days it’s easier to get started than others?

When the Jerusalem winter days are gloomy and cold outside (and in), it takes extra effort to put on boots and jacket (and mask) and get going.

Each day I try to walk a different route to find new images to share.

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One day it was possible to get a photo of the menorah across from the Knesset with no people around it. A Knesset guard stopped me as I walked by to ask where I was going. “Gan Sacher” I told him and he let me pass by.

Day after day, the plaza outside of Jaffa Gate has been deserted. Jaffa Gate is shut and the security personnel at the road entrance check identification.

Stores in Mamilla Mall are preparing to open, but no one knows when.

At Machane Yehudah Market some stores were closed, but others were open.

Along busy Agrippas Street people were shopping for Tu Bishvat treats.

To enter the shuk, everyone had to stick out a hand to have their temperature taken. Oh, how security checks have changed this year!

Young families try to get out of the house when the sun is shining.

Zoom school for young children, week after week, is not going well. Report cards were given out to students who only had one day in a real classroom.

A new sign “Jerusalem is Giving a Shoulder – all of us in Jerusalem are getting vaccinated and continuing to abide by the regulations – together we will win and return to our routine” was also published in print media.

Meanwhile, motorcycle food delivery is a fast-growing business. This lunch was going to someone in an Israeli Financial Office.

But my favorite sighting was the hand over of food delivery to a guard outside Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Did you notice the white tent in the distance of this photo?

In these tents outside the Rose Garden, across from Finance Ministry, major Israeli hospitals joined together to protest their inadequate funding.

January 27, 2021, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yad Vashem conducted its annual event for the International Diplomatic Corps serving in Israel online, featuring a message from President Reuven Rivlin and a lecture entitled “The Path from Mass Shootings to the Final Solution.”

In the past the diplomatic event was held in the Yad Vashem Synagogue.

In 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the international diplomats in the synagogue as part of Yad Vashem’s annual programming.

Jerusalem Israel Yad Vashem

Last year Yad Vashem hosted the huge international event with kings and world leaders in attendance, shutting down many Jerusalem streets.

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This section of Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was covered with white security tents last year for the dedication of the “Memorial Candle.” At the beginning of last week, they were again at work on the monument.

But by January 27th, the site finally appeared completed.

The Memorial Candle monument commemorates the heroism of the defenders and residents of Leningrad during the years of siege in the war against Nazism.

An explanation was added in multiple languages with stones at the bottom.

The monument was placed in the park in view of the Israeli Supreme Court.

During World War II, from September 8, 1941, until January 27, 1944, the city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) was under military siege by the German Nazi forces. Some 490,000 residents and defenders of the besieged city died, including tens of thousands of Jews.

The top of the “Candle” was cleaned and polished this week.

In memory of the Jewish soldiers in the Red Army, and citizens who died during the siege of Leningrad, flowers were placed at the base.

Also, on the night of 27th the holiday of Tu Bishvat began.

After a warm winter, there were signs of spring in Jerusalem.

I assume this location would be hard for most people to figure out?

The green roof of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory was looking good again.

The former President Hotel on Ahad Haam Street was finally, after over a decade in disrepair, going down, on a wet gloomy day.

While the lights were on again at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

No doorman was outside, but inside the door, there was a “Disinfection Stop.” Not only a guard at the entrance but also large bottles of sanitizers.

Fresh flowers were in the lobby, but no guests were visible inside.

Also the Prima Kings Hotel had lights on and signs of life inside and out.

What a week it was. Warm, and cold and wet outside. But unlike in the past, much of the action could be viewed from inside at home.

The Jerusalem Symphony performed online Tu Bishvat broadcasts on January 27th – here is a link for one.

KKL-JNF produced a special celebratory tablecloth kit, with unique games and activities for use with its online celebration. The kit was distributed in numerous countries and in various languages for Tu Bishvat.

There was even an online Israeli Earthquake Conference held this week.

What next on the Jerusalem streets?

You never know what you will find.

However, this man was fly-casting in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park last week.

More on the park next time, there is plenty changing there for another time.

Jerusalem’s planning to be ready in the spring to welcome back visitors.

The week of Tu Bishvat, blooming trees, new growth, and hopes for the future from Jerusalem, Israel.

Take care and stay well out there, hope to see you soon Jerusalem streets.