10 Alternatives to Politics and Elections in  Jerusalem

10 Alternatives to Politics and Elections in Jerusalem

If you followed the headlines about Jerusalem, Israel, this week you saw elections, politics and more politics.

Party volunteers outside a Jerusalem voting place for Knesset 22

Our voting place was very quiet midday, though there were more party booths than last time. I went at that time hoping to interview voters in line, but there were none.

Jerusalem streets seemed strangely deserted on election day and the day after.

Israel election voting booth for Knesset 22

There were fewer paper ballots for political parties than the previous election so you might mistakenly think it would be simpler. President Rivlin has been busy working for a unity coalition government.

However, still, could we possibly go to election #3?

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I have cut an exhausting list down to 10 of many more happenings:

Mossad the movie at Jerusalem Cinema City

  1. GPO sponsored “Mossad the movie” a humorous diversion for invited media.

Palmach building site in Jerusalem Israel

2. But back on the streets, “A new beginning” was posted on this construction site near where we voted. I could write new construction and building posts every week!

President Rivlin hosts beekeepers before Rosh Hashana

3. In honor of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, President Reuven Rivlin had his annual meeting with beekeepers. Three generations attended. The President was presented with new honey, branded with a photo of his late wife Nechama on the label dedicated to her memory.

End of summer at Jerusalem Theatre Israel

4. You know it’s the end of summer, not only by the cooler evenings but also by the Jerusalem Theater festival.

Jerusalem Israel end of summer festival at Jerusalem Theater

On the nights from September 16-19, the plaza was filled with music and celebrants.

Music at First Station after Shabbat by Feter Hendel

5. More music at First Station, with live music before Shabbat at Kabalat Shabbat and after Shabbat, at the Melava Malka celebrations. These are regular free events featuring various musical entertainers.   The group Feter Hendel played for their first time at the open stage venue.

Beit Avi Chai is one of many other locations which has a special music event this week.

Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel at night

The streets of Yemin Moshe are usually dark and quiet at night.

6. However, the sounds of the Solomon Brothers’ musical selihot filled the alleyways after Shabbat for the first set of the Ashkenazi selihot, the annual prayers prior to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

sellichos in Yerushalayim at night in Yemin Moshe

As in the past, the women’s section was filled to overflowing and young women either stood outside to listen or left to find other services.

Jerusalem Great Synagogue on night selichos choir and chazan

At the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the choir and Chazan led selihot. 

7. Same prayers, but a very different sound than the music of the Solomon Brothers.

Thousands attended selihot services at a long list of locations around Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, cafes lining the streets were filled with diners, and wine glasses emptied.

One couple was sharing a sushi platter, away from the cool night breezes.

Skateboarders were flying through the air in the Liberty Bell Park skatepark.

I passed dozens of tourists walking to late-night activities.

This time of year, before the holidays, weddings and engagement parties are planned.

Jerusalem Israel near Mamilla Mall an engagement site with flowers and lights and music.

But for the first time, I happened upon an elaborate set up for a wedding proposal! It looked like she said yes.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion with Bonei Zion Prize winners

8. The Tower of David hosted the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize Award Ceremony.

Mazel tov balloon

Mazel tov to all!

Colorful Israeli sunset

Headlines were filled with political positioning. But of those sunsets this time of year!

We also hear people are reading fewer books.

9. But in Jerusalem book launches seem more frequent. I shared here about Rabbi Meir Soloveichik’s new book. Recently Freddy Freundlich’s Born on the Right Side of the Tracks was a compelling story. Last week Cheri Tenenbaum launched her personal story in “Woman of Few Words.”

“Palestine Posts” compiled by Daniel Chertoff with a first-hand account of Jerusalem in 1947- 1949 was launched.  Chertoff read from the powerful and beautifully written letters of his father Mordecai Chertoff z”l who worked at the Zionist ‘Palestine Post’ which became the ‘Jerusalem Post’ during the critical years of the founding of the State of Israel.

10. Big excitement in sports – the Israeli Baseball team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!

Jerusalem contemporary art festival sign

And what’s next? For Heaven’s Sake!

The Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, with 200 artists, 30 exhibitions in 14 venues. The full listings can be found HERE

Table with honey and cakes and Shana tova, New Year Rosh Hashana

From the land of milk and honey, it is time for apples and honey for the new year 5780.

Jerusalem public bus with Rosh Hashana greeting of Shana Tova in Hebrew

Shana Tova!

Happy New Year from Jerusalem!

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

It is obvious the future skyline of Jerusalem, Israel, is changing daily, as buildings go up and up.

But centuries of history of Jerusalem are underground going back thousands of years.

Jerusalem Western Wall plaza view

This is the image most think of when mentioning Jerusalem of old.

But under the Jerusalem, Israel streets layers of history are being revealed daily.

View of southern excavations old City Jerusalem

Along the southern side of the Old City Walls, the new excavations can be seen by everyone.

Givati parking lot archaeological site outside walls of Old City Jerusalem

The intricate archaeological work under the Givati Parking lot is another site open to the public.

Givati Parking lot excavation

Across from the Old City Walls, not far from Dung Gate, centuries-old houses are being restored.

Roman remains in Jerusalem archaeological dig

The remains of Roman domination in Jerusalem are on display.

House under excavation in Givati pakring lot in Jerusalem Israel near old City walls.

One new discovery was a two-story house. The destruction by Rome of Jerusalem was so powerful that the upper level of this house fell on top of the lower one and a two-meter high piece of the structure was unearthed.

Givati Parking lot excavation

As in other Ir David finds of the historic time period, blackened remnants from the destructive fires were discovered in this house.

I opted to take photos from above and not enter the bedroom below.

Jerusalem drainage route unearthed and from Givati parking lot to Western Wall

But below we did go.

We followed the path of the drainage system of Jerusalem to the Shiloah pool in the Kidron Valley, which was under the Jerusalem streets in the time of the Romans.

Map of old city Jerusalem in Givati Parking lot

This map shows the route of the planned Pilgrims Path which is being excavated and made safe for tourists.

Another layer under the old street has been found, the drainage channel from which the last Jews of Second Temple times tried to hide and escape from the Romans.

picture of Jerusalem in time of Rome

This poster illustrates the street scene in more pleasant ancient times and the drainage channel which ran below it.

However, the last Jews of Jerusalem did not escape to Masada.

They were discovered hiding in the drainage channel by the Romans and all murdered.

The artifacts they left behind are being revealed daily at the Sifting Project in the Zurim Valley.

Drainage path under Jerusalem during Roman times

Today large portions of the drainage channel have been careful revealed by archeologists.

From the Givati Parking lot, we surfaced at the base of the Western Wall.

Jerusalem Israel Western Wall stones of destruction from Rome

Here are stones from the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, tossed away and remaining today.

Stone with ancient markings in Jerusalem Old city

Pieces of stone with Temple carvings are in this area by the Davidson Southern Excavations.

Under your feet, almost anywhere in Jerusalem’s Old City are layers of history.

Jerusalem Israel under ground archaeological discoveries

A new excavation under the Western Wall exposed a very old mikvah, a ritual bath.

Digging under Western Wall

Work in this area leads archeologists to believe the Greeks were building a theater that was never completed.

Stones of Western Wall under ground

More sections of the Western Wall stones have been revealed under the present street level.

Jerusalem Israel Davidson Archaeological Park and view of Har Hazetim

The Davidson Southern Excavation is continuing with new discoveries, with the view of the Mount of Olives in the background and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the left.

Children in Jewish Quarter on trip

Children, tour groups, thousands of all ages filled the Jerusalem Old City streets during the Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av.

Sitting on stone in Jerusalem Israel reading Eicha on Tisha b'Av

People sat on the ground, on Jerusalem stones to hear Eicha, the book of Lamentations, at night.

Tens of thousands arrived all night long for Tisha B’Av at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was so much more I could share, but I will conclude with two favorites on Tisha B’Av.

Jerusalem Israel Tisha B'Av old man walking

This gentleman with a lovely English accent, born in 1931, took a head start before the group walking around the walls of the Old City. He said that he comes most every year for the last 25-years.  Later during the walk, he refused any help, and his only complaint was timing to get to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv after Shabbat.

Kessim, Ethiopian religious leaders, have been coming to the Kotel each year before Tisha B’Av to pray.

Before Tisha B'Av Kez, Ethiopian religious leaders visit Jerusalem to pray

Near the Kotel, under this old archway, three of the men, from the larger group of Kessin all dressed in white who were on a tour, stopped to talk.

Think about it–their traditions went back to the times of the First Temple.

They arrived in Jerusalem to find Zion, Jerusalem, the First Temple had been destroyed.

Another ancient war, another layer of history yet to be revealed.

On and below the Jerusalem streets, old and new, constantly evolving.

Though  15 Real Photos of Arab Girls was the most popular RJS post.

I hope you enjoyed these bits of archeological finds, there are more to share next time.