Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova

Long lines were in Jerusalem, Israel supermarkets as people prepared for holiday meals.

View of Western Wall, Kotel, Shabbat shalom poster

Soon after Shabbat,

5778 Shana tova on Jerusalem Israel bus

on Rosh Hashana we will change from 5778 to 5779 as new year begins,

Man blowing shofar and son watches and soldier passes by

with sounds of the shofar.

Israeli soldiers

Praying for a peaceful, healthy, good,

pomegrante seeds

prosperous, and fruitful new year.

Sign Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום

שנה טובה וכתיבה וחתימה טובה

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE

Long and Short of VP Mike Pence Jerusalem Visit

Long and Short of VP Mike Pence Jerusalem Visit

As always there is much happening

on these Jerusalem, Israel streets.

However, local news was overshadowed by

Knesset sign with US flag for Pence visit

the arrival of US Vice-President Mike Pence.

Flags on main streets,

US and Israeli flags on street near Knesset

while large flags, lined his motorcade route.

The visit was for two days.

Pence arrival in Jerusalem

Video cameras were ready at the official welcome

by the Prime Minister’s Office early Monday morning.

Honor guard for Pence arrival at PMO

An honor guard was getting ready for red carpet

greeting of the Tourist of Week.

The Vice-Presidential vehicle pulled in

VP Pence and Israel PM Netanyahu

and Vice-President Pence lined up with

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and

Head of State Protocol Meron Reuben,

surrounded by the watchful eyes of security.

View of arrival on Pence in Israel at PMO

After the White House press entered,

this was best photo I could get over the crowd.

The entire event took minutes,

and everyone went home.

Then in afternoon,

Security outside Knesset for Pence, end of motorcade

the Vice-Presidential motorcade arrived at the Knesset.

Before the Vice-President’s Knesset speech,

Thank you banner outside Knesset before US VP Pence spoke plenary session

supporters with thank you welcome banners lined the road.

Outside Knesset security watching people hold thank you banners for Pence

Security seemed a bit confused,

but did not complain about a positive demonstration.

Tuesday morning as I was walking near Mamilla Mall,

Trump bus in Jerusalem

I finally got my photo, not only of the Trump bus,

Bus painted to welcome US VP Pence to Jerusalem

but also one of the Welcome Pence buses.

Slow going from blocked streets and security,

was theme over the time of Pence visit.

But waiting in security line for the

Kotel, Western Wall,

Display boxes for Pence visit to Kotel

I was able to see these two display boxes,

for the Pences’ visit, carried by security,

also go through security checks.

It is hard to describe the layers of security.

View of white cloth covering view to Western Wall for Pence visit

 Routes to he Kotel Plaza were draped in white,

to block all views.

Pence visit view of Kotel

The entire area was closed to the public for hours.

Since the weather forecast was for rain,

tents and covers were constructed.

A small platform was constructed for media.

Kotel birds on stones

I took advantage of higher and closer spot to admire the birds.

However, the main event was eclipsed,

Male photographers at Western Wall

by female journalists who did not like being behind the men.

Once it was evident it would not be raining,

the white covering was removed.

As a short female photographer who is often blocked,

I was satisfied to stand on a chair supported by the barrier,

but others around me were furious.

More upsetting to me, was to see security blocking

the official White House press travelling with the VP.

White House press trying to get in to Western Wall area for Pence visit

They only had a few minutes to get in position,

we had been waiting for over two hours already.

On entering,

Pence with leaders of Western Wall Heritage Foundation

Vice-President and Karen Pence stopped to watch a video

about the Western Wall, giving

Western Wall as VP Pence arrived

 security and White House cameras time to get in place.

Pence at Western Wall with rabbis

Pence looked at a large book of Tehilim, Psalms,

with the two rabbis from the Western Wall.

VP Pence Jerusalem Western Wall

Blocking my shot (only can use the word now,

with so much insane security all around,

who knows how much trouble I would be in)

was a tall security guy in purple shirt!

Close up of VP Mike Pence at Western Wall

I got the photo, plus

 another 400, if you are interested,

Karen Pence at Western Wall with women saying psalm

but turned my attention to Karen Pence.

She was accompanied first to the display case,

then to another large Tehilim book,

by the two rabbis’ wives and Western Wall spokeswoman.

Karen Pence at Western Wall on visit to Jerusalem

Karen Pence stood alone,

and spent a much longer time

with her hand on the stones of the Wall.

Security for Pence visit to Western Wall

The entire time from when motorcade entered the plaza

until they raced away was 30 minutes.

Pence visit to Western Wall security on roof tops

From rooftops,

Western Wall for Pence visit

to the roads leading to the Old City,

vehicles and pedestrians were stopped.

Karen Pence shops in Arab shuk near Jaffa Gate crowd gathers until she leaves

A crowd gathered near Jaffa Gate as

Karen Pence stopped to do a bit of shopping,

before heading back home.

As I finally headed home,

Streets closed for VP Pence visit in Jerusalem

the road to the King David Hotel was still blocked.

Oh, so different from Vice-President Biden’s 2010 visit.

Azzza Street without cars at sunset on wet day

After the motorcade passed on the way to the airport,

it was getting dark on wet Jerusalem streets.

Some roads were still empty

while others were filled with blocked traffic.

The predicted rain waited and began to fall,

but did not spoil the visit.

Lots of waiting for events lasting minutes,

the significance of which we can only guess,

not your usual week in Jerusalem,

or maybe it really was.