Instead of past years with crowds of tens of thousands, there were 1,000 people allowed at the Kotel, the Western Wall, at night.
Sections were divided off and marked to permit the small groups allowed to follow the latest COVID-19 restrictions.
The women’s section which in the past was crowded with thousands had barriers also.
Reading Eicha, Lamentations, in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park, had a much smaller attendance.
Damascus Gate at night was quieter than usual as the 26th annual walk around the Old City Walls, limited this year to 50 participants, passed by.
On the other side of the street, the shops were all open late for Eid al-Adha preparations. The Muslim fast day coincided with Tisha B’Av this year, and at sunset they began a 3-day celebration.
Good news. The social workers and nurses are back to work after short strikes.
Israel Museum employees held a peaceful protest holding up signs to passing traffic.
The only loud noises were cars honking in support.
The Israel Museum has been closed since the coronavirus crisis began. On Thursday, museum director Ido Bruno announced a $4million donation from the American Friends of the Israel Museum. Plans to reopen are said to be underway.
On the hill below the Israel Museum, olives are on the trees.
Last week Jerusalem’s Gan Sacher, Sacher Park was empty.
The end of school year summer outings were not happening.
This morning, it was good to see children back in the Jerusalem park.
Jerusalem’s usual summer conferences have moved online, to Facebook and Zoom.
The annual Jerusalem sport event of Street Ball has been canceled.
Thousands of flags of the Jerusalem Parade will not fill the Jerusalem streets this year. The official cancellation was announced this week.
The day after Tisha B’Av, fifteen years ago, 8,500 Israeli citizens were forced out of 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and four communities in Samaria.
These beautiful homes were destroyed 15 years ago. The expulsion did not bring peace.
Instead, thousands of rockets, missiles, and destructive burning balloons.
That is an ongoing unpleasant chapter of Israeli history.
However, a much more pleasant story is what happened at the Hurva Synagogue 100 years ago. The historic and memorable first visit of the first British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, after his installation. Samuel was a knowledgeable Jew who participated in the Shabbat morning service.
Today at the rebuilt and re-inaugurated synagogue which was destroyed by Jordanian Legion in 1948, a special ceremony is to be held in honor of the centennial. However, attendance will be extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Highs and lows. And new Corona signs have been posted.
New signs were up for “Leonardo da Vinci -The First Start-up entrepreneur,” the theme of a new exhibit at First Station for this summer.
The next day this sign – “Needed Now “Baseless Love” sign was posted.
The protests near the Prime Minister’s residence have gone on unabated.
They are loud and they disturb the residents well past the 11:00 pm noise curfew.
I think the police have used great restraint with these provocateurs.
On to much better news to share, a notice for יריד היין הגדול של ירושלים.
At First Station, the Jerusalem Wine Festival is planned for August 11– 13, 6 pm – 11:55 pm.
In local sports news, Israeli soccer is to return at the end of August.
Online tours galore can be found for those who are home-bound.
The National Library construction site had workers busy on the roof areas.
Now that Tisha B’Av is over, it’s almost Tu B’Av and time for celebrations and music.
Yom Yerushalayim 5780, Jerusalem Day 2020, marks the 53rd year of the liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian rule and the return of Jews to the Old City after 19 years of exile.
With restrictions due to pandemic COVID-19 still enforced, the usual large public musical gatherings did not happen. However, multiple events were held and broadcast live. The backyard minyan in the back of our house concluded their morning prayer service with the singing of HaTikvah.
A truck blasting holiday music went around Jerusalem streets on the eve of Yom Yerushalayim. I noticed later all the Israeli flags on the cars following behind.
It has become a tradition on the eve of Yom Yerushalayim to remember the Ethiopians who died on the treacherous journey to reach Jerusalem. The annual ceremony is held at Har Herzl near the monument in their memory.
Here President Rivlin greets the religious leaders after the official state event, held before a much smaller audience this year.
Later in the day, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog and the new Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata welcomed 119 new olim from Ethiopia to Israel. Each year for Sigd, I marvel at how they prayed toward the holy Temple in Jerusalem, yearning to return to Zion, long before Herzl and political Zionism.
At night the scene at the Kotel, Western Wall, was also different than in the past, divided into sections and numbers greatly limited.
This Israeli flag displayed before the evening prayers was not small at all!
There was a live broadcast of the special evening service, with a special prayer book,
and with the Israeli Chief Rabbis in attendance.
Cantor Shai Abramson once again led the service with his powerful and impressive voice.
Thousands of people singing and dancing with flags – not this year.
But there was an enthusiastic FlagDance of coronavirus proportions.
At Ammunition Hill the official state celebration of the liberation of Jerusalem 53 years ago began with remembering fallen soldiers.
President Rivlin spoke and also Prime Minister and Jerusalem Mayor.
Fireworks ended the program which included musical performances.
The traditional celebration at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav was held outdoors this year, and featured the Prime Minister as a speaker.
Each year the Mayor of Jerusalem rushes from one event to another.
The rest of us have to decide where to go and how to get around the crowds.
This year it was not such a big problem.
Everything was new and different this year and most of it online!
Want more? See 2 hours of Jerusalem songs from Yom Yerushalayim HERE
Even Tel Aviv lit up its love for Jerusalem on Yom Yerushalayim.
This video was taken 5 years ago, but it’s worth sharing again to hear such beautiful voices.
I posted the video on LinkedIn for Yom Yerushalayim, and surprise! I found out that the ‘soldier’ on the left is the cousin of an old friend!
On or off the Jerusalem streets, there is always something happening.