The Shavuot holiday as celebrated in Jerusalem, Israel,
is so different from anywhere else in the world.
Tens of thousands of people went to the Kotel, the Western Wall,
to pray at sunrise, after a night-long marathon
of classes, lectures and programs that were
truly amazing and mind-boggling.
These posted ads are for only a few such learning events.
There was one thing very different this year – it rained at 8:30 am!
There have been protests against the new budget,
and new taxes have made for some very angry citizens.
New social protest signs can still be found in the city center
after last weekend’s demonstrations.
The Israeli Prime Minister is back from China
and a very quick visit to Russia to meet with Mr. Putin.
And I assume that most people have no idea that
the Foreign Minister of Finland Erkki Tuomioja and
Foreign Minister of Lithuania Lianas Linkevicius are in Jerusalem.
Also, who heard that at the Hebrew University
there is a conference being held called
Canada and Israel in a Changing World, New Trends and Directions?
When the Shavuot holiday is over,
on the real streets, it is wedding season.
Brides posing in parks for photos and decorated rental cars
are normal sights, though it will be hard to come close
to the traffic-stopping Belz wedding with 50,000 guests.
Wonder if any of their international guests will go into town?
If they do, they would see,
there is a sign for traffic changes on King George Street.
One big surprise, I found a moment with no buses or taxis.
For years, this large mural on Jaffa Street showed
the light rail train of the future.
Well the future is now,
and the train is running and people are returning to the city center.
The media always reports Arab and Haredi riots in great detail.
But there was no sign of trouble today or any sign of Apartheid
as this Muslim woman and Haredi Israeli man crossed Jaffa street,
and these women were sitting off Ben Yehuda Street in the afternoon sun.
Summer is finally here,
and it is time to head outside and to the parks.
It is also the time for the month-long Israel Festival Jerusalem,
with so many cultural programs, some in new exciting venues,
enough to keep everyone busy.
And my favorite festival, Light in Jerusalem is coming soon.
Remember last year?
There is so much to see and do in Jerusalem,
but what did you hear about?