From Jerusalem, Israel Shabbat Shalom

Feeling down by the uncertainty of the current situation and the Jerusalem winter weather, I decided it was time to walk to the Kotel, Western Wall while the sun was shining for a little while.

Trying to keep thinking of the glass as half full, and not half empty (all this rain should help with that) on these grey days.

Remembering this image would have been impossible in days past, and looking forward to good days ahead.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom

Jerusalem Lighting up for Hanukkah

The Jerusalem streets were starting to fill up with holiday visitors. English speakers were asking for directions again. “Back to normal” was in the air.

And then – Omicron –

the latest reported corona variant and Israel’s borders are set to close again to tourists in a few hours. Returning Israelis will have to go into isolation.

The future is out of my control, but, I can share what’s new in the present.

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The lights are on at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens for Hanukkah. The decorated trail is not a long one, but the classical music is lovely, and this display you see over the pond is a real winner.

Thanksgiving night the new Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Center was lit up for a special Thanksgiving dinner for lone soldiers and b’not sherut (volunteers). You could see the festive balloons in the window from the street.

Even the light of the night sky was impressive, but there is much more.

Here at the old Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road is the art installation of Yehudis Barmatz-Harris. Notice the mobile on top of the photo – it is made of dryer lint. The artist takes materials others would throw away and uses them in her new media installations. Here she uses light to form the shadow of a woman by the rocking chair – a piece called Hush.

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Only one bit the of 5th Jerusalem Biennale going on this month is titled “Four Cubits.” As we again ponder going back to our homes and isolations, 300 artists have created unique expressions from their time spent at home.

The old hospital is the proposed location of Canada Israel’s future building.

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But meanwhile for the next four years, until they get all the necessary permits, the halls are to be filled with art and artists.

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With the Biennale App, you could have your favorite piece of contemporary art hang in your home, as this woman uses the code on the wall.

The Jerusalem Biennale artists were so impressive I plan to write up as many of them as possible individually to highlight their creativity.

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Here Motta Brim is showing one of his books – want to take a guess? The designs are baking papers from challah! And I throw mine out each week?

As you have heard many times, I love the night lights at the Tower of David.

Avi Lavian at Tower of David for Jerusalem Biennale

In one of the recently renovated rooms is another Biennale exhibition, this one curated by Ariel Lavian.

Necklace in Tower of David for Biennale

Turkish and Israeli designers joined during the pandemic to create a contemporary jewelry exhibition in a guardroom of the Ottoman-built citadel at the Tower of David.

After many months the lights are on in the Gan Sacher play area.

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The long slides and accessible play areas in the public park were empty before the Tuesday grand opening, but full when we walked by Thursday evening.

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This specially designed Jerusalem lion is one of my favorites.

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There were lots of entertainers, and this pair managed to impressively balance in the grass at the opening event.

The Jerusalem Mayor and Deputy Mayors and representatives of the Kraft family were present for the ribbon-cutting as children crowded around.

The Sacher Park Kraft Family Sports areas were lit up at night. Anyone for tennis? The new courts were empty and the gate was open when I went by.

The entrance to Balfour Street and the official Prime Minister’s Residence was also empty as I went by last night. Oh, how different from the past.

The lights are ready to return to Liberty Bell Park and the Train Theater.

The new campus for the Train Theater is ready to open on Hanukkah with multiple shows and new theater venues, large and small, inside and out.

The large theater has this impressive seating ready to roll out when the lights go on for entertaining hundreds of children over the holiday week.

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So there you have it. Life has become a balancing act. The goal is to keep going and stay healthy as the variants rage and change.

I will leave it to this guy on his unicycle to entertain at the traffic lights.

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Jerusalem is ready for holiday visitors with signs of Hanukkah lights – November 28 – December 6, 2021, festivals, light tours, and more,

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and for drivers, there are warnings not to drink and drive.

I thought to conclude with more colorful lights in the Botanical Gardens.

As children begin holiday week, hopefully, filled with lights and wonder,

may all be blessed with color and lights and good health.

May we see you soon on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem 10th Marathon


The Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2020, finally took place on October 29, 2021. The excitement was high, though this time it was not an international marathon. There are plans for the International Jerusalem Marathon to return in March 2022.

Few people remember the last Jerusalem half marathon in 2010. Those were smaller events, with only a few thousand runners. The race caught most drivers by surprise with random street closings.

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Last year, the launch for the 10th Jerusalem Marathon was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the evening of January 20, 2020.

A week later the streets were shut down in Jerusalem while the world watched the events marking the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Then the world shut down because of Covid-19 and the marathon was postponed and then canceled.

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The finish line, which looked just like this year’s, was taken down.

This past week the Jerusalem Marathon was back and streets were closed.

Many streets were even repaved for the Jerusalem Marathon runners.

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The new playground at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was not ready in time.

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At a pre-marathon event at Notre Dame, the view from the roof was better

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than the one at Cinema City for the pre-marathon pasta party.

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The lineup at Cinema City for runner check-in seemed to run efficiently.

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The pasta and salads served were excellent. I waited a long time for the Mayor to come, but he never did, and I finally gave up and went home.

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One line in Cinema City long when I arrived and still when I left hours later.

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Not lines of families going to see a movie, but lines for corona testing!

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The full marathon finish line in the park was being prepared early in the week and was ready to go the day before.

The winner 29-year-old Israeli Yamar Gethon had a long lead along the way.

He zipped by me, but I got other full marathon runners HERE

WordPress is not letting me share more photos now – so next time.

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The Piano Festival, Oud Festival, the Manofim Contemporary Art Festivals,

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and the International Animation Festival and Biennale are back.

Facebook photos of the Jerusalem Marathon can be seen HERE

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The Jerusalem streets are finally coming back.

Hope to see everyone here soon!