Did You Hear about Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim Street?

It did not make headlines.

Afternoon traffic was heavy and slow Monday in Jerusalem, Israel,

image no traffic

with some streets like this one blocked to traffic for hours.

Emek St Fair 063b truck blocking st

No one was driving onto Emek Refaim Street with this truck parked,

 buses were rerouted and taxis blocked.

Emek St Fair 060b street c;losed

There was a large blue arch on the other side of the truck,

Yad2 street fair

a blue man,

image crowd of people

blue balloons,

image police marching band

and men in blue too,

as the police formed a brass marching band.

image US colors

The US Embassy had a booth in red, white and blue.

image Emek Rephaim sTreets

It is estimated that as many as 30,000 people attended this community street fair,

image Emek REfaim STreets

where second hand goods were for sale.

image choir singing

Choirs performed,

many musical groups played,

image little girl dancing

and here one little dancer is moving to the music.

image street fair entertainment

Actors on platforms,

photo street acts

standing on stools above the street,

image Jerusalem streets

and sitting on chairs performed to young audiences.

image cooking lesson unusual

This group was learning about cooking.

image lots of people

Thousands of people took photos.

Emek St Fair crowd

This usually busy neighborhood street

Emek St Fair 020b

was full of barriers blocking side walks.

image cute kids

It was grid-locked by people and double strollers.

image street fair and wheelchairs

There are so many places in Jerusalem and on Emek Refaim Street

that are impossible and impassible for disabled,

it was great  to see so many out for this event in wheel chairs.

image chairs

Please let me know if you hear of anyone who actually

paid 50 shekels to sit in these chairs.

The sign asks for 50 shekels to sit.

That is what was happening on the real Jerusalem streets

and it all went on well into the night,

but no violence, not news,

Jerusalem New Arena Opening September 11

School has started and another week has whizzed by.

The countdown for Rosh Hashannah has begun.

You can feel the seasons starting to change with cooler nights.

Headlines were made when Light rail trains were attacked

in some Arab neighborhoods,

and also of attacks in the French Hill neighborhood.

Sadly, French Hill residents have had trouble with some Arab neighbors for years,

but it was not newsworthy until this recent escalation of violence.

image Arab woman in Jerusalem, Israel

However, this Arab woman was waiting to ride the light rail this week.

There were fewer Arab girls on the streets over the summer,

and there were fewer people on the streets tourists were missingl.

Arab girls in Jerusalem

Now, Jaffa Road is looking busier every day.

Har Hayabit wooden bridges ramp to Temple Mount

This week Jordan complained about a “wooden bridge.”

Someone decided to build a second wooden ramp to reach the Temple Mount.

The wooden structure on the left is the only access for non-Muslims.

Though this new one is much smaller, it is coming down.

For a $15 billion gas deal, Jordan gets its wish?

image  Hebrew sign Jeruslaem

The summer concerts at Kikar Safra

featured music of the Beatles and ABBA.

The last free music concert of season is tonight,

at the Pianos at Jerusalem Theater.

But the big, really big, biggest news in the Middle East,

image of new Arena in Jerusalem Israel

is opening of the new Jerusalem Arena tonight.

image press conference

The first press conference was held  in the special press conference room,

with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and leaders of the massive project.

Built next to Teddy Stadium and near the Malha Mall,

image view Jerusalem new unusal

the view from main lobby of Jerusalem is impressive.

image large sports arena

The main floor can be changed for events – sports, recreational and cultural.

There is seating for 11,600 people,

image VIP viewing box

and 16 executive boxes.

I wondered if I would get back to a VIP suite,

image Mayor Nir Barkat at new Arena

and assumed it was my last chance to hang in a locker room with the Mayor.

image working on Jerusalem arena

Workers were all over trying to finish up for the opening tonight.

70% of the 400 million shekel cost was covered by the Israeli Lottery,

Image Jerusalem school construction

but many wish some of that money would go to finish up school construction.

We lived near Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.

As the world remembers those lost in NY Trade Towers,

we also remember those killed in the Pentagon that day.

Sept 11 should have been a wake up call

for US & for the world to terrorism.

Meanwhile, in Israel,

  though there have been a stream of terror attacks,

we have two things in our favor,

Israeli soldiers

as shown here.

The inaugural ceremony of the new Jerusalem Payis Arena

will be a salute to soldiers of IDF.

Jerusalem Summer Nights to September Days

Ah, in Jerusalem, Israel,

image Jerusalem

 summer nights are usually cool and clear.

image bike path

Not many were out riding on the newly-constructed bike paths,

image music and dancing

but the music at First Station had crowds on their feet dancing.

image sing in Hebrew

There was a big welcome sign at the only entrance to the Jerusalem Beer Festival.

בירה the Hebrew word for “beer”‘ and “capital” is the same.

The annual event drew a protest from the Arab media this year.

Located in Gan Ha’atazmaut, Independence Park, is it possible

image park Jerusalem

 that little white circle in the bottom left,

could really be a danger?

image Hebrew sign

These “Make an agreement with Abbas, not with Hamas'” signs

were in many more locations and more on people’s minds.

image black cat, Jerusalem cat

Days this past week were hot enough to make the cats lazy,

Sign in Hebrew posted in Jerusalem

but the summer signs

image Hebrew sign

were being replaced with lots of new ones

image Jerusalem, signs Hebrew

 promoting education in Jerusalem,

as school children returned to their classrooms.

Adults took advantage of end of summer

image Israel Museum

 at The Israel Museum.

image love

In the Garden,

image Big Bambu

next to the Big Bambu, all lit up at night,

Wine Festival Is Mus 048b

was the hugely popular Wine Festival,

where twenty wineries shared samples.

Not all of the samples were wine,

Wine Festival Is Mus 044b

and not all were popular,

as tables were filled with these discarded orange shpritzes.

Children Playground at night Wine Festival Is Mus 065b

Usually the children’s wing and playground are busy places,

but not on the four nights of this festival.

Not to worry,

Wine Festival Is Mus 072b

on the way home I saw that signs were already up for a new event

at the Jerusalem Theater, “24 hours of PIANOS,”

plus there is another free concert in Kikar Safra on 11th,

 just part of what is happening

on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets this week.

Cease-Fire #12: Now What Next

After 11 cease-fire attempts this summer,

where Israel ceased and Hamas kept firing,

this last one seems to be holding.

Almost a full day without red alerts and sirens,

after 50 days Israel is quiet.

People in south can go more than 15 seconds from shelter.

But before Hamas stopped aiming at Israeli civilians,

sadly two men were murdered and

a four-year old boy was killed on his kibbutz,

near the end of this summer barrage of Hamas mortars and missiles.

image Yemin Moshe

Though Jerusalem, Israel was not hit

and “only” aimed at a few times,

the streets were eerie quiet this summer.

image street old stones

This summer tourism was way down,

but those tourists who did not cancel had a great time.

image happy tourist

One US friend shared photos of her family

image boys in water

enjoying themselves at tourist locations.

Quiet night time on Nasi Street with colored lights on

On Nasi Street the patriotic flags are gone,

but light poles are covered with blue and white lights.

“Did you know that if you post photos of cute little kittens,

the world will become safe?” a friend posted on Facebook.

 I had never heard such a thing,

image street cat

but it was good to see our neighborhood bully cat was back.

As “normal” returns to Jerusalem, Israel streets,

school starts next week.

image welcome to first grade sign in Hebrew

I love the “Welcome to First Grade” signs.

Only in Israel is starting first grade a bigger deal

than some university graduations in other parts of the world.

Finally a slow news day.

With the southern border quieter now,

the northern one is warming up with

 “spill over” from Syrian fighting.

Cannot help but wonder,

what will happen next on Jerusalem, Israel streets

Beautiful Jerusalem Scenes then Rocket Siren

Last night as the sun was setting,

traffic around the Old City was heavy and slow.

image of crowd at Mamilla Mall

Mamilla Mall was crowded with people.

image Jerusalem toursists

The usually deserted Artists’ Colony was alive for

   Hutzot Hayotzer, the annual international arts festival.

016b Teddy Park

Security was tight for this mega rip-off, but hugely popular

image International arts fair

international fair of merchandise and food.

020b fund raising by sitting on street

This man was taking advantage of the crowds,

hoping to raise money for sick people.

 I walked through Teddy Park,

image Teddy Park Jerusalem

across from the Walls of the Old City, this former No Man’s Land,

image Jerusalem Park

 packed with people.

I imagine the designer of the special water fountain

036b  Water fountain at Teddy Park

thought of it as  a place where people would come together,

image mincha outside

but this corner as a place for afternoon prayer services?

image Jaffa GAte

Jaffa Gate was unusually quiet, the Arab vendors were not around,

image Arab market

and one of the major gifts shops was closed.

Israelis were out to enjoy the last of summer evenings,

but tourists have been scared away this summer.

Too bad they are missing the sights,

image Dome of Hurva Synagogue

like the beauty of  Hurva Synagogue as the sun sets,

Jerusalem at sunset

the Old City views,

image Kosel, photo Western WAll, picture Kossel

and seeing the majesty of the Kotel, the Western Wall, up close.

But my favorite scene was nearby on the Kotel plaza.

image Israeli soldier at western wall

A soldier just back from reserve duty, still wearing his gun,

had come to the Kotel with his young family.

He was surrounded by young admirers.

Perfect weather.

All was calm.

But,

Hamas broke a cease-fire for the 11th time,

and for the second day in a row southern Israel

was pounded by rockets and mortars from Gaza.

Then,

last night the warning siren went off

as we were on way home from the Old City.

We had to get out of  the car

and run to stand near a wall with no glass windows.

We then heard a boom in the distance.

It was a quiet street, with nothing special to photograph.

But the family members who were at the Kotel,

had to first go up against the wall,

then were sent into the tunnels to wait out the ten minutes.

Hamas was trying to hit Jerusalem, Israel,

with their rockets…again.

100 rockets launched at southern Israel since midnight

and 30 targets attacked in Strip overnight,

for way too many sleepless nights.

Rocket sirens now in Beer Sheva,

too many places to list.

How did so many thousands of rockets get into Gaza?

How did so little else get accomplished by Hamas?