9 New Holiday Scenes in Jerusalem

 Jerusalem, Israel,

is old and new and constantly changing.

These birds flying over the ancient walls of the Old City

Jerusalem migrating birds

are migrating as they have for centuries,

though those powerful lights are new.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Israel new window display

The Waldorf-Astoria has new window displays.

Jerusalem Israel sunset view

New towers are being built,

 the Jerusalem skyline is changing.Mamilla Mall view at sunset from near Jaffa Gate

At the David Citadel Hotel, those white things in the distance

are balconies being prepared for Sukkot holiday meals.

View of Jaffa Gate from outside Jerusalem Israel

I was at Jaffa Gate at sunset

and looked up at the Tower of David,

Tower of David, Jerusalem Israel Old City

to see something new on top.

That is a special cork sukka designed as part of the

 3rd Jerusalem Jewish Contemporary Art Biennale,

by artist Avner Sher.

At the Jaffa Gate below there is nothing new,

Keporos at Old City with live bird

just this man performing the kapparot ritual

moving around a live chicken.

Man waving bird over head of two women for Keporos at Jaffa Gate Jerusalem

These women did not look as comfortable with

the ancient custom to absolve one’s sins before Yom Kippur.

Jerusalem Old City train for tourist to Western Wall

The new Old City Train was ready bright and ready to go.

Lights of new food places above Cardo in Old City Jerusalem Israel

Here are two new bright signs above the Old Cardo.

Jerusalem Israel new sound and light show City of David

The City of David has a new sound and light show.

Jewish second temple stone found in excavation under site of new police station

This decorative stone from the Second Temple is a new find

 by archaeologists near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

I went to the Old City before Yom Kippur,

Western Wall selihos booklet for late night Selihot at the Kotel.

Synagogue Old City Sephardi

While the synagogues were quiet that night,

New police station and roof of building near Kotel for selihot

from the new observation spot above the

new police station building

Western Wall Plaza full of people for sehlhos after midnight

the crowd stretched further than my lens could capture.

Kotel for Selihot 5778 Jerusalem Old City Israel

Tens of thousands of people kept arriving

though it was well after midnight.

Women at Kotel for Selichot 5778

Would selfies at the Kotel be considered new?

Jerusalem Israel Old City view of Western Wall and dome of Rock at night

The dome and wall are certainly not new,

but always impressive sight lit up at night,

so late that no transportation was in sight.

For the last time this year,

Bus from Old City with sign Gmara Hatima Tova

here is a bus with the Yom Kippur greeting,

“Gmar Hatima tova”

“May you be sealed for a good year.”

Now that is old too.

As soon as Yom Kippur ended in Jerusalem,

Jerusalem Israel sukka on a balcony

sukkot started popping up.

If you would like to not only see the Kotel scene,

but hear a bit of the selihot prayer,

I am sharing this short video:

Now it is time to prepare for new holiday and guests.

חג שמח

Chag sameach.

Jerusalem Film Festival Week

Summer time in Jerusalem,

and for over 30 years,

Jerusalem Film Festival sign

the Jerusalem Film Festival

has screened thousands of films.

This year for the first time

there are films being shown in Gan Haatzmaut,

Independence Park, in the Wilf Garden.

Independence Park for Jerusalem festival

Security was so strict,

this is as close as I could get without buying a ticket.

But the main events are usually

shown at the Cinematheque,

where finally for the first time

sign for Cinematheque

disabled movie goers can access without steps,

using this newly-built elevator.

Old City Sultan Pool from near Cinemathque

I think it is worth going just for the view.

However, the opening night of the festival,

was held in the Sultan’s Pool.

Even the Tower of David, not so far away,

Opening Jerusalem Film Festival

is dwarfed by the size of this outdoor screen.

Miri Regev speaking at Jerusalem Film Festival opening

Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev,

was one of the speakers.

Special guest movie director and film star,

Jerusalem Film Festival Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino received a special award

from Mayor Nir Barkat before the film.

The star of the movie, Emma Suraez,

Emma Suarze film star Jerusalem film festival

was on stage to accept flowers.

But as much as there were numerous Tarantino spottings,

I assume Emma could go around Jerusalem without being noticed.

Also on the same night,

Israeli singer Idan Raichel received a special honor

by the B’nai Brith World Center,

in recognition of advancing Israeli-Diaspora relations.

I have seen him surrounded by screaming fans,

anxious to get close enough to take a selfie,

but when Idan entered the hall,

Idan Raichal at award ceremony

I was the only one who came over.

At least after he was presented with his certificate,

ceremony and Idan Raichal

there was more notice.

Different crowds, different reactions.

Miri Regev was booed during her speech

 at the Sultan’s Pool by some of the audience.

But three days later,

at the Jerusalem Theater

stage at ceremony 40 years Entebbe

for the official ceremony remembering

40 years since Entebbe.

dignitaries at Jerusalem theater for Entebbe 40

Miri Regev sat in the front row with the dignitaries.

When the program was over

people taking photos with Miri Regev

she was surrounded by well wishers

who wanted to be in photos with her.

As the emotional and well-done program

neared the end,

Netanyahu looking at watch at ceremony

I thought I saw the Prime Minister,

glance at his watch.

The Foreign Minister of Egypt was on his way

to have dinner with the Netanyahus.

While for some this week,

Huge football in Mamilla Mall

nothing could be bigger than the Euro 2016 football (soccer)

on the television.

There are free movies shown at night,

at First Station and in the Old City,

as the Film Festival comes to a close.

view old city walls at sunset

Maybe it’s me,

but just going for the view of the

Walls of the Old City at sunset is wonderful to see.

Sounds of the Old City

Sounds of the Old City,

is an annual music festival

held at night in Jerusalem, Israel.

This year the weather was cold and wintry,

View of Tower of David at night lights on

but at least the heavy rain stopped for opening night.

Walking to the starting point at Jaffa Gate,

Arab man walking in Jerusalem Israel mall

Mamilla Mall was not busy as usual.

For the festival, musicians performed

View Old City Jerusalem Israel at night

on a large stage outside on Jaffa Gate Plaza,

musicians in Old City near Jaffa Gate

and inside along the Tower of David wall.

There are nine large stages with various performances.

music Tower of David sound festival

Traverna was inside the Tower of David – in the moat.

man playing mandolin in Tower of Davis moat at Music festival

The musical styles and instruments were varied,

from Kelzemer and religious music to DJs and pop songs.

Along the route through the Old City,

musician in alleyway of old city Jerusalem Israel

musicians played alone,

musicians on Jerusalem Old City street for Sounds of Old City Festival

or as a group.

The festival is free and open to the public,

woman playing harp in Old City at night

but this harpist was looking for donations.

As every year,

people in Cardo for music concert Old City Sounds of Night music

one of the most popular performance locations is the Cardo.

Yitzhak Meir singing in the Cardo Old City Jerusalem Israel music festival at night

Yitzhak Meir was singing

people watching music at Cardo for music festival in old city at night

to an enthusiastic crowd.

Who could imagine on those streets of old,

that one day Jews would be singing and dancing to Hebrew songs,

and the powerful Roman Empire would be ancient history?

Next on to the plaza

Hurva Synagogue at night in Old City Jerusalem

by the Hurva Synagogue,

this large stage was dark between shows,

Rova night of music festival stage near the Hurva

but I had to share with you the size of the crowd.

Thousands of people were out enjoying the music.

The sounds of music have now spread outside the walls of the Old City,

and for the first time a stage is located at Zion Square.

The festival runs from Monday to Thursday,

7:00 – 11:00 pm, so there is still time to see and hear.

As I went to leave, some streets were too quiet.

Though cold and damp weather and security concerns

may have kept some away,

empty street in Old City at night Jerusalem Israel

it was still a beautiful sight,

as the sounds of music filled the Jerusalem streets.