Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem

This year Yom HaShoah,  Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, as it is officially called, was observed from Wednesday night to Thursday night.

The State Ceremony held at Yad Vashem was broadcast live on Israeli television.  As has become traditional, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch.

Stage at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah with memorial flame lit

President Reuven Rivlin spoke to the crowd, which was so spread out in the plaza that most guests had to watch the large screens on each side of the stage in order to see the program.

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at Yad Vashem on Yom Hashoah

After a musical interlude, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke.

Yad Vashem supporters from around the world come to attend the emotional ceremony.

Lighting memorial flame at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah

Six survivors, one by one, aided by a younger family member, lit the six memorial flames for six million murdered Jews.

Survivors and young relative lighting flame at Yad Vashem on Yom HaShoah

The life stories of the six survivors are presented in six short videos. One theme runs through these brief glimpses into the past: having arrived in Israel after undergoing difficulties that are beyond imagination, they are proud to have succeeded in raising new generations of proud and accomplished Jews.

The past cannot be redone. But,

IDF honor guard at Yad Vashem for Yom HaShoah

each year the IDF Honor Guard stands on the stage. The young soldiers are symbols of a bright future.

The traditional prayer for the dead is recited each year. I thought I could hear the words reverberating from the Judean Hills around us.

At 10:00 am, the next morning, a two-minute siren sounded. Jerusalem stopped to remember.

The day was marked by a long list of programs honoring survivors and remembering the victims.

Much more, but I decided to end with the Hatikvah which concluded the Yad Vashem ceremony.

Hope for the future.

Mourn and celebrate.

Live life.

Jerusalem has a very long list of public events free of charge for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day, iwhich will be  celebrated next week.

Going to need some time to rest up first.

Shabbat Shalom

The Secret of Israel’s Success

The Secret of Israel’s Success

Another Passover has passed over.

Burnt chometz in Yerushalayim

In one week we went from burnt bread on the streets,

Matzah crumbs on Jerusalem street end of Passover in Israel

to pieces of crushed matzah.

Passover in Jerusalem Park

Tens of thousands celebrated with outings to Jerusalem parks. Hopefully, each year more and more visitors will clean up after themselves.

Botanical Gardens Jerusalem on Pesach

The best of Passover included the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Parking a car was a problem, as it was such a popular site.

Kosher for Pesach pizza in First Station in Jerusalem Israel

Fresh pizza made out of potato flour, instead of wheat, was available in First Station and at many other locations over Passover. Now it is back to regular flour.

Moment Cafe, Cafe de Paris location

Over the holiday week, the furniture, dishes, and equipment were removed. Now even the sign is gone from what was recently Cafe de Paris. This was the site of the Moment Cafe and a tragic suicide bombing in 2002. It also was one of our favorite kosher pizza places as tourists years ago. Now we hear that this corner location across from the Prime Minister’s Residence, where US secret service agents would hang out on breaks from duty guarding presidents, is to become an apartment building.

Free Avera Mengistu shirts and signs in Jerusalem Israel

Have you heard the name Avera Mengistu? Do you know where Avera is?

Next to the Prime Minister’s Residence, where the Shalit family set up their encampment, is a new protest tent.

Protest tent for release of Avera Mengistu from Gaza held by Hamas

Avera has been held captive in Gaza for over 3 years, over 1308 days. His family and friends are trying to raise awareness and get Avera, who suffers from mental disorder and was a civilian who somehow wandered over the border, home safely.

In the rain yesterday, there were people still under that shelter and there were protest marches in a number of cities. Today for first time I heard his brother interviewed on the radio.

Congrats well done, almost at finish line in Jerusalem Israel leftover from marathon

“WELL DONE, you’re almost at the finish line” was a sign I saw on my way to Gan Sacher on Passover. It was for the full marathon runners as they came near the end of their run. Now that the Passover things are put away and the cleanup is almost over, it feels like I reached the finish line.

However, there is no down time in Jerusalem, Israel,

#Israel70 flags hung on building of Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, Israel

and the large Israeli flags are up on the Jewish Agency Building.

#Israel70 new flags for Beit Hanasi, President's House Jerusalem, Israel

New flags are flying near Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

The upcoming Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, Israel at 70 celebrations are meant to be bigger than ever.

Har Herzl Yom Ha'atzmaut rehearsal female soldiers

Rehearsals for the opening ceremony at Har Herzl have begun.

Har Herzl Ceremony rehearsal soldiers in uniform with flags

Soldiers with flags practice to march for perfection for the live television broadcast.

Opening ceremony of Israel 70 year Independence Day on Har Herzl in Jerusalem , Israel

The huge staging area is under construction.

Israeli soldiers practice for Yom Ha'atzmaut Israel 70 celebration

These are the young men and women proudly serving in the security services to defend the State of Israel.

Israeli soldiers in uniform pose for photo

The secret of Israel’s success?

According to expert strategist Yaakov Amidror, Israelis have a “bad habit” by living life and not stopping with every tension, until the first ammunition is used on other side. The secret is to continue to act as if nothing is happening around us, to live and work and enjoy regular life, to plan and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. 

But when force is needed, as in past wars, to count on the IDF to be prepared and defend us, and to make wars as short as we can.

Light rail train and people out in Jerusalem on Jaffa Street near Zion Square

Israel at 70, going forward and strong.

 

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

The Passover holiday in Jerusalem, Israel, is always a busy time with so much to do.

After days of cleaning and shopping, and a late night seder, what next?

This year I decided not to spend hours in the car along with millions of other Israelis going to lush camping sights and sandy beaches, but rather to stay home and explore what Jerusalem has to offer.

Now to share with you some of the best of Jerusalem for Passover this year 5778.

Where else to start, but with food.

Jerusalem Israel humus shop closed for Pesach

Some restaurants like this new humus place were closed tight for Passover.

Kosher for Pesach Holy Bagel and Shwarma in Old City for Pesach

But not to worry, in Jerusalem, there was an abundance of kosher for Passover places to eat. This Holy Bagel in the Old City is not only mehadrin kosher, but “KOSHER without fear of legumes!”

Pesach pizza and matza in Mamilla Mall for Pesach

With baskets of matza on the table, this potato crust pizza looked good enough to eat. People were standing in lines for seats to taste for themselves.

Pesach in Jerusalem food displayed in window for Pesach

Pizza, rolls, sandwiches, pies, cakes and more…one of the best places for Passover food is in Jerusalem, Israel.

Pesach crowd in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem, Israel, with two Muslim women walking through the mall

Mamilla Mall was busy and crowded with local shoppers and international tourists, plus entertainment and performances for children.

Pesach in Jerusalem, people dressed in varied clothing

Another favorite was seeing the clothing in the Old City, with many dressed in their holiday finest, wearing every type of outfit imaginable.

View of Tower of David inside Citadel on spring day of Passover

With so many activities for families, it was hard to decide what to do first, as dozens of museums and sites were free for children. The Tower of David had families walking, touring, and climbing.

Ramparts walk in Jerusalem on Pesach

From the Tower of David you could see the Old City ramparts walk with tourists going along the top of the walls of the Old City.

Volunteers pouring water to give away to visitors to Old City on Pesach

Days were warm and the sun beat down midday. But volunteers were in several locations in Old City offering cups of water, free to all who walked by.

Menorah in Rova in front of Hurva Shul for construction of new elevator to Western Wall Kotel

The Golden Menorah was moved near the Hurva Synagogue, where tourists were busy taking photos.

Construction fence at site of new elevator for access to Kotel near steps where menorah had been before in Jewish Quarter

This menorah is a photo posted near where the gold one was located. The Western Wall elevator is to be constructed here.

Remember I said every type of clothing imaginable? How about a Betar uniform from the 1920’s?

Pesach crowd in Kotel plaza after Birkat Kohanim on Pesach

It was reported 100,000 people were at Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, Monday morning.

Afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach at Kotel

In the afternoon and for most of the week, the Western Wall Plaza was still filled with families.

Visitors to Western Wall Plaza from Rova on afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach

All day long tens of thousands of people came and went from the Old City.

Visitors line up to go to Temple Mount on Passover afternoon

This line was not at the security entrance leading to the women’s section, but just a long line of tourists waiting to access the Temple Mount.

Pesach afternoon and egalitarian space at Western Wall was empty

The egalitarian section, however, was almost empty. On the right of this photo, if you look very closely, you can see children playing near the stones from the Second Temple.

While so many were in the Old City, other Jerusalem locations were also holiday destinations.

Gan Sacher on Pesach with people grilling and lounging

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, smoke filled the air with dozens of extended families grilling meat for large meals, with boxes of matza on the tables.

Passover in Jerusalem, Israel, in Gan Sacher

Children were playing as family members and friends were sitting and talking or playing sports.

Another extremely popular destination was the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens pond on Passover

Thousands of people wandered the grounds over Passover.

Pond lily in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

I was fascinated by these flowers in the pond. There is so much beauty in what was formerly a garbage dump.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens children's activity on Passover

There were planned and supervised activities for children,

Boy and girl looking at flowers in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

as well as colorful flowers to capture their attention.

Jerusalem park on Pesach with people eating and grilling

Nayot Park was one of dozens of Jerusalem parks where grills were going, smoke was rising, and matza was on the table.

One parking spot is worth standing until your car arrives in Jerusalem on Passover

Driving in many locations took much longer than usual. Finding parking was not always easy. A free parking spot in a good location was worth saving.

There were varied musical events at night, too numerous to list.

Old places like Hansen House were full of activity.

So much was happening in Jerusalem this Passover week.

More photos: Old City HERE    Gan Sacher HERE   Botanical Gardens  HERE

I will end with a video of the Birkat Kohanim,

Pesach in Gan Sacher two little boys palying

and one of my favorite photos, of these young cousins getting to know each other at a Gan Sacher picnic.

Wishing all a good holiday and Shabbat Shalom