February in Jerusalem – Presidents, Parks, Ponds and Purim Prep

February in Jerusalem – Presidents, Parks, Ponds and Purim Prep

When we lived in Boston, what a surprise it was to learn that there was a holiday in February for Presidents’ Week. February was a time to go skiing. While five years ago, snow fell in Jerusalem in February, this year temperatures during the day have been warm, at least when the sun came out! So much rain this year, but there are signs of spring.

Blossoms on almond tree in katamon Jerusalem

After the almond blossoms burst out, other fruit trees are now blooming – as are allergies from various pollens.

Flowers are appearing. The lilies in the pond at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are starting to open.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Another sure sign of spring, the birds on a nice day chirp away, before dawn.

Those early wake-up calls at 4:14 am are not appreciated.

Main hall of Jerusalem International Conference Center for OurCrowd Global Summit 2020

The annual spring OurCrowd Global Investor Summit has grown bigger and better.

International registration was reported at 23,000 people from 183 countries.

Jerusalem Israel OurCrowd Summit booth for UpnRide

Get up and Ride, the UpnRide was one of many booths. I mentioned how I saw it used at OurCrowd first. It was so amazing to see a person bound to a wheelchair standing at the buffet table.

Amir Gofer using UpnRide at OurCrowd Global Summit

And there was Amir Gofer again explaining his amazing invention!

What a shame Christopher Reeves died too soon to benefit from this Israeli technology.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to Conference of Presidents at Inbal Hotel

February in Jerusalem means the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is back for its 46th Annual National Leadership mission. On opening night PM Netanyahu spoke in the Inbal Hotel ballroom.

Israeli President receives gift from Conference of Presidents

Monday morning President Rivlin addressed the delegates and invited guests. He was presented with a piece of art as a gift by new CEO William Daroff,  with Malcolm Hoenlein and Arthur Stark posing for the photo op.

President Rivlin took off soon after for a long-anticipated trip to Australia. First, he stopped in LA to get the key to the city, then on to Fiji on the way to the Land of Oz.

The Conference of Presidents used to have a printed schedule for their program. This year there is an app which is for delegates only. “We’re back” was all Hoenlein would say on the record about their trip to Saudia Arabia last week. Much of this week is filled with meetings with Israeli leaders, and some off the record, but a few more photos here.

New standard for clean air signs in Jerusalem

But as for the real streets, the municipality wants to clean up not only the streets but the air too. Signs are up. Warnings are out. Fines and enforcement are to be increased. In the campaign to clean up Jerusalem, citations will be served for littering and not cleaning up after your dog.

Gan Sacher Jerusalem Leningrad Memorial

As for the old dog park in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, finally, all the tents are gone and the Leningrad Memorial is visible. I will spare you dozens of photos from the construction mess in Gan Sacher, but they will have to work quickly before the Jerusalem Marathon next month.

Jerusalem Israel memorial across from Cinema City

The Leningrad Memorial in Gan Sacher is across the road from this memorial for fallen soldiers defending Jerusalem, which is located next to the Supreme Court.

Jerusalem parking garage to save space

Land is at a premium in Jerusalem. Every centimeter is scrutinized. Here a parking garage rises to the sky.

Man working on an old house in Jerusalem being renovated

Small old buildings are being renovated and redone daily.

Street in Jerusalem with sidewalk torn up work

Oh and the streets! When they are completed these sidewalks should be nice. But now?

Azza Street in Jerusalem under repair

Some streets are parking lots part of the day as construction stops traffic. All traffic. Pedestrians are not sure where and how to cross to avoid all the equipment.

New sidewalk on Azza Street in Jerusalem Israel

They are almost done here, an important part of the Jerusalem Marathon route.

These streets will be filled with runners on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Bus stop in Jerusalem Israel

At least we did get our bus stop back.

New bike path in Jerusalem Israel has a bike tire pump

This was a pleasant surprise. Along the new bike path, there is a tire pump available.

Jaffa Street near Market music and dancing on nice day

On the Jerusalem streets, always something to surprise. Spontaneous music and dancing.

Winter Music Festival in Jerusalem sign for end of February performances

There are also planned winter musical performances at the end of February.

Jerusalem Israel hosting an international conference on violence prevention education

A first, an international conference on violence prevention education.

Purim costumes in the Jerusalem Israel shuk

Spring means strange faces appear in the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk.

Purim holiday masks and hats are on display.

Costumes for children and adults, with unicorns big this year.

Hamenstashen, Haman's Ears for Purim

Hamantashen were piled up high. It is interesting that they are packaged and not out in open.

Ah, Jerusalem, Israel, in February, spring, and Purim is around the corner,

Sign on Jerusalem sidewalk

and Jerusalem lights up on Bezalel Street.

 

 

Jerusalem Covered in White

Jerusalem Covered in White

Jerusalem, Israel, covered in white.

Why is it? What is it?

The world loves to see photos of snow in Jerusalem!

This past week Jerusalem awaited the arrival of nearly fifty world leaders.

Knesset covered in snow in February 2015 storm

Five years ago the snow made for impressive images.

Valley of Cross in Jerusalem Israel covered in snow

The Valley of the Cross looked like a scene from Europe rather than the Middle East.

This week temperatures dropped as the rain pounded down for days, seemingly without end.

However, though forecast, no snow fell to cover the Jerusalem streets.

Interval of sun during rainy days in Jerusalem Israel

A few white clouds occasionally let the sun peak through on Tuesday at Beit Hanasi while awaiting the first of the international world leaders to meet with President Rivlin.

Australia Governor General David Hurley meets Israel President Reuven Rivlin

Governor-General David Hurley was the second of twenty-seven world leaders the President hosted in private meetings at his official residence, over the few days before and after the Fifth World Holocaust Forum (WHF). Close to fifty world leaders converged on the Jerusalem streets for the WHF, which met for the first time in Jerusalem, Israel.

Preparations for tent outside of Beit Hanasi for world leaders to pose for photograph

High-level delegations could not use the main entrance on Tuesday. A white tent covered the entire outside area. The ground was wet from a day of heavy rain. On Wednesday night at the dinner hosted by the President, the official photo was taken here.

Jerusalem Israel Nasi Street ready to host world leader dinner

Outside on Wednesday evening, white security tents and screens covered the length of Rechov HaNasi.  There was no snow in Jerusalem, but a white security screen covered many streets.

What a difference two years made!

Two years ago for the UN initiated Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Prime Minister spoke to Ambassadors in the synagogue at Yad Vashem.

This year, marking the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz and the 5th WHF, royals and presidents and world leaders converged on the Jerusalem streets.

Sun set in Jerusalem Israel

At least as the sun set there was a bit of color in the grey sky.

Lights along path into Zedekiah Cave for press event

Zedekiah’s Cave was lit up with a thousand candles for a Wednesday night event for the  media.

From the cave on a large screen, the main event dinner at Beit Hanasi was projected.

View of dinner hosted by President Rivlin for 40 international world leaders

White linen and beautiful white flower arrangements were on the tables as the President spoke.

Jerusalem Israel Old City walls with a projection

Walking home I went past the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate. Special lights and special colorful projections lit up the night.

Jerusalem streets closed for world leaders staying at Jerusalem hotels near old City

Great idea to walk home, as major streets near hotels were closed to the public.

Jerusalem street without traffic near Har Herzl

The next morning on Har Herzl this street was open, but the public was scared away.

Jerusalem Israel security preparing

Security units were deployed on Jerusalem streets early on routes to the main Thursday events.

White security tents in Yad Vashem parking lot

The closed parking lot at Yad Vashem also had white security areas.

Inside Yad Vashem buildings white security barriers were erected.

Jerusalem Israel view from Yad Vashem

International television crews had panoramic views of the Judean Hills from Yad Vashem.

Fog covering the view of Jerusalem as TV reporter speaks from Yad Vashem

But reporting in the afternoon, the fog on the hilltop made for a white background.

Interview of Rena Quint a Holocaust child survivor

Holocaust survivors were at Yad Vashem to speak to international media.

Walter Bingham at Yad Vashem telling his story of survival and success

German-born Walter Bingham attended as both a child survivor and a working member of the media. Bingham, 96-years young, is proud of his status as world’s oldest working journalist.

Main ceremony of Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem Israel at Yad Vashem

The main live-streamed event was held in a tent constructed on Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Plaza.

View of Yad Vashem at sun set day of World Holocaust Forum

White security tents and barriers could still be seen at the entrance to Yad Vashem as the sun was setting.

Jerusalem Israel Yad Vashem

With so many world leaders attending, the official Israeli black diplomatic vehicles were called in to use, as were dozens of white cars, lined up to take participants away at the conclusion of the ceremony.

But that was not all!

There was much more of the white security tenting.

Gan Sacher for Leningrad Memorial dedication

At Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, covering what had been the dog park, were white tents.

Already on Monday night Gan Sacher was preparing for Thursday afternoon’s dedication of the Leningrad Memorial with Russian President Vladimir Putin attending along with Jerusalem and Israeli leaders.

Roller blade park in Gan Sacher painted white before Leningrad Memorial dedication

The Roller Park looked like a swimming pool from rain, but the graffiti had been painted over, all nice and white.

Inside of white security tent in Gan Sacher for Leningrad Memorial dedication with Putin attending

Inside the main tent at Gan Sacher was the dedication ceremony held before the WHF.

What a week it was! Then the rain stopped.

First flowers in Gan Sacher park in Jerusalem

The white flowers popped out of rocks in the midday sun.

Construction worker in Jerusalem Israel Gan Sacher Park

Construction workers were back in the park and smiling.

Gan Sacher Park in Jerusalem preservation of trees

Trees near the Leningrad Memorial site were still in their protected white coverings.

Jerusalem Israel park white security tent for Leningrad Memorial dedication

The main white tent was still covering the area of the dedication.

Metal security barriers taken down

Metal security barriers were being removed from the park.

Jerusalem Israel roller blade park open

The Roller Park was open, but empty with fences still white.

Jerusalem Israel dog park moved for Leningrad Memorial dedication

This is the Gan Sacher temporary Dog Park.

White security tent for Leningrad dedication in Jerusalem Sacher Park

The levels and layers of white security tents for Leningrad Memorial were still being removed.

I tried to get inside and failed.

publicity image for Leningrad Memorial in Jerusalem park

So for now here is the publicity photo posted, but it shows only part of the tall monument.

Jerusalem Israel walking and biking path near Gan Sacher

Walking home it was good to see a wisp of white cloud and blue sky.

Israeli flags on Jerusalem Israel street

Blue and white flags being displayed to line some major streets, was one of many things that held up traffic this past week.

Now back to normal!?

Gan Sacher will have barriers up again.

The Jerusalem streets will soon be closed again.

Jerusalem Marathon training man and young children

Runners of all ages are out training – and getting ready.

March 20, 2020, as 40,000 runners will fill the Jerusalem streets.

The Jerusalem Marathon launch was also last week.

Official tee shirt for the 2020 Jerusalem Marathon

Tens of thousands of these white shirts will be seen as runners race through the Jerusalem streets for the 10th Jerusalem Winner Marathon.

Of course, there was much more happening this past week, but that will have to wait for next time.