Highs & Lows from Creative Changing Jerusalem

Jerusalem has seen extreme highs and lows over the last three millennia.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel 70 years ago, Jerusalem has grown and changed.

Our theme, that you never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, is continually reinforced. Recently while driving home near the Jerusalem Theater, it seemed like a huge spaceship had landed.

Jerusalem, Israel, Hansen House at night lit up Ester wooden structure

Rising from the grounds of the old Hansen House grounds was this illuminated object.

Was is from another planet?

No it wasn’t, and by day, it proved much less mystifying.  It is a large wooden sculpture called an Ester Tower.

Innovation Ester Tower in Hansen House garden

In honor of 70 years of State of Israel and 100 years of Czechoslovakia, a Czech firm built its fifth project in Jerusalem. Hansen House, the former leper hospital, has become a center for innovation.

Hansen House Garden, Ester Tower in honor of 100 years Czech and 70 Israel

For those not afraid of heights, inside you will find a winding staircase as in a lighthouse, which goes up to a platform, from which there are some spectacular views of the city. And as in so many Jerusalem photos, when you look down, there is a cat on the scene.
Kikar Safra International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem Israel

The 32nd annual International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem began with a program at Kikar Safra, in the large municipal government  meeting room. Over 30 mayors from around the world attended this week long gathering.

International Mayors Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, Nir Barkat greets visitors at Kikar Safra

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat walked around to greet fellow mayors as they were introduced. During the week, they will see innovation and discuss security and ways of working together.  A mayor from Taiwan brought a team of businessmen looking for collaborative opportunities.

In his remarks, Barkat emphasized that Jerusalem is always viewed under a magnifying glass. In reality it is one of the safest cities in the world. What happens in Jerusalem spreads throughout the world.

Last week on a Friday Walk in Jerusalem, it was a lovely day, and I decided to just wander around to enjoy the weather. Jerusalem certainly has its highs and lows in weather!

View along Mamilla to Old City Jerusalem Israel

The road was unusually empty outside Mamilla Mall. The street was clear of cars, which usually happens only when traffic is blocked for special events or visitors.

Two Arab girls in Mamilla Mall Jerusalem Israel with 3 Jewish musicians.

As usual, musicians were performing along the Mall. It was unusual was to see a young Muslim woman put money in their case. The two stood for a while listening and took their toddler out of the stroller to dance.

Mamilla Mall artist Yardena Yizoker with her sculpture of male and female Israeli pioneers

Thousands of pieces have been displayed and changed in Mamilla since the opening. But this was a first, to find the artist with their work. Yardena Yizoker posed next to her ‘Zionist Pioneers’ with her partner.

Rova Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem Israel

Walking through the Rova, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, I decided to take a photo of those towering palm trees. I wondered how much longer they will be standing?

View from steps to Kotel, Western Wall from Jewish Quarter

Trees have been removed from here, opening up new views of Mount of Olives from these steps in the Old City.

Jerusalem, Israel construction of new hotel

All around Jerusalem, trees have been removed and construction is at work, as new foundations are laid deep in the earth.

Construction on National Library of Israel is seen above ground

After many months, construction at the site of future National Library is finally above ground.

Building in Jerusalem, Israel, fence for new City Center

A new construction fence is in place for the future Government Center. Those living and spending time around Jerusalem’s Rechavia neighborhood will not be sorry when the Prime Minister moves to this new abode and new location. Unpleasant street closings, traffic stops and pedestrian searches should become much less frequent.

Jerusalem Israel swimming pool destroyed to make room for new apartments

One thing swimmers in Jerusalem will miss, however, is the pool on Emek Refaim, which is now history. It was torn down to provide space for new luxury buildings for those who can afford to buy.

Night in Jerusalem, Israel lights on building post office

Not all old buildings are coming down. Here, the old Post Office on Jaffa Road, near Kikar Safra, is illuminated at night.

Police cars at Kotel on Friday Old City Jerusalem Israel

Old and new, highs and lows, the police vehicles are parked and waiting. When it is a quiet, as on a regular Friday in Jerusalem, there are no reports, no news.

Pro Israel demonstration in Jerusalem Israel on Friday afternoon

On my way home I saw a pro-Israel counter protest group has started demonstrating near Paris Square on Friday afternoon.

Store for rent on daily basis near Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem near Mamilla Mall

It is hard to tell what will pop up here.  This store between the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and the US Consulate is now available for short term rental.

Can’t wait to see what will be happening next on the Jerusalem streets.

 

Jerusalem, Israel, Rain or Shine is Home

The year 2018 got off to a wet start.

Prayers for rain in Jerusalem, Israel,

were answered.

Rain poured down, the streets flooded,

and the cold and wet winter arrived.

Wet sidewalks outside Ramada Hotel as man walks away without coat.

It was a good to be in and not outside.

Oh and the fog!

Fog covering Jerusalem buildings.

When fog sets in it can be so thick

Sunset, lights go on and fog clears Jerusalem Israel rainy day

you cannot see large buildings nearby.

I know we need rain desperately,

but I prefer to be out when the sun is shining.

Mincha minyin in Mamilla Mall street

I like to see those impromptu prayer services,

anytime of the afternoon, anywhere,

in parks and here in Mamilla Mall.

People walking in Jerusalem Israel Mamilla Mall past Arab women sitting in cafe

I like to watch people walking in Mamilla Mall,

Jerusalem Israel two nuns walking along street near Kikar Safra

or on any Jerusalem, Israel street.

One can see a bit of every fashion,

Man smoking on Ben Yehuda wearing red Santa helper hat

though I am not sure what fashion statement

this man sitting and smoking on Ben Yehuda

was making by wearing a red Santa helper hat.

Street graffiti in Jerusalem Israel near city center

I like to find new street graffiti.

Jerusalem WeWork building construction

And I like to see work progressing

on the future home of Jerusalem WeWork.

Entrance to major Jerusalem construction at city entrance

We will have to wait to see how much we like

the massive construction project near the entrance to Jerusalem.

You can see here how far it is going down

before the buildings start to go up and up.

This week across the highway, the Ramada Hotel hosted the

WZO’s International Conference for Rabbis and Communal leaders.

There were dozens of speakers

and representatives from 40 countries.

With unrest all around the Middle East

Rabbis and community leaders at Ramada Hotel for WZO conference in Jerusalem Israel

it is easy to overlook the wonder that

this conference was held in Hebrew.

So many are learning Torah in Hebrew in Israel today.

The population is approaching 9 million.

Walk on along Jerusalem streets you will hear

English, French, Russian and Spanish along with Hebrew.

With corruption and strikes and strife,

incredible things have developed in 70 years.

With all those negative headlines around the world,

Israel is growing.

This past week I saw this traditional blessing for a home,

Traditional blessing for new home in Hebrew and English

“May this home be a place of happiness and health,

of contentment, generosity, and hope. A home of 

creativity and kindness. May those who visit and

those who live here know only blessing and peace.”

It was hanging near the front door on a new home

for female lone soldiers in Jerusalem.

7,000 young people, from around the world,

are in Israel, serving in the defense forces,

30% of them young women.

Female lone soldiers in special residence in Jerusalem group hug "Mom" counselor in charge

After the opening day dedication program,

six of the young soldiers surrounded

and hugged their “Mom.”

Rachel, the counselor is on duty 24/7 to help and advise

these young women without parents around to support them.

Head of the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

Josh Flaster looks on with pride.

Sign of Home, love, memories, friends and laughter

Jerusalem, Israel, rain or shine is home.

Hanukkah Highlights From Jerusalem

Hanukkah Highlights From Jerusalem

Hanukkah highlights.

It is both easy and hard to write this post every year.

Finding something new?

That is easy.

 Unusual menorah in Jerusalem Israel on Hanukkah

Look up and see a lit hanukia, Hanukkah menorah,

in a new and unusual location.

This year there were flags

 Beit Hanasi ready for Hanukah and US VP Pence

flying high above the hanukia outside Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s Residence.

US flags were hung along with the hanukia street decorations,

United States, Israel and Jerusalem flags near Israel President residence

ready for the visit of US Vice-President Pence.

The visit was postponed until next month,

and those extra flags were removed.

God Bless Trump posters in Jerusalem Israel

Dozens of these blue signs remained.

Plus, there is a full-size bus covered with this message,

but I’m sorry, it went by so fast I missed the photo.

Trump’s speech on Jerusalem was a distraction for some,

but for most, the eight days of Hanukkah

Chanukia for seventh night

involved lighting a personal hanukia at home.

On the last night of Hanukkah,

 tens of thousands arrived in the Old City

Performer with fir torches on Hanukkah at Jaffa Gate

to see performers with torches on fire

Jaffa Gate on Hanukkah in Old City Jerusalem Israel

and special lights at Jaffa Gate.

Hanukkah dreydels as decoration in Old City

Spinning dreydels were a favorite new decoration.

Hundreds of tour groups worked their way slowly through

the narrow alleyways of the Old City.

Jerusalem Israel Hanukkah lights on street

A photo-op of a man sitting by his candles

Chanukiot in window in Old City

or windows up above the streets,

caused the crowds to slow to a standstill.

Lights on Hurva Synagogue on Hanukkah night Jerusalem

In the Jewish Quarter, the Hurva Synagogue was lit up.

A constant flow of people came and went

Kossel on Hanukka 5778

to and from the Kotel,

the Western Wall Plaza, during holidays.

Jerusalem, Israel on Hanukkah 5778

As every year the large hanukia,

 is a photo highlight.

Old City lighting of menorah in costume as Jewish Temple priests

This was one photo I was not anticipating,

a re-enactment of the Jewish Temple priests lighting the Temple menorah.

Chanuka candles, oil menorahs for Hanukka

At classic spots, it was hard to get a clear shot,

as cell phone cameras were in use by the thousands.

Wall in Old City with light projection with Macabbe features

One wall had a projection of the Macabees in days of old.

Mamilla Mall Hanukkah ceremony

The crowds at Mamilla Mall for lighting were impressive.

Hundreds came each night,

 the recent warnings of danger did not affect enthusiasm.

Tourists from near and far gathered to celebrate

the last night of Hanukkah.

Only the warm weather seemed out of the ordinary.

Parade of Habad hanukiot in Jerusalem Israel

These Habad vans were part of a convoy,

pulling large electric hanukiot.

Too bad I did not get a good position for a video,

large colorful chanukia in Jerusalem part of Chabad show

they changed colors as the music blasted.

Habad has brought the lights of Hanukkah

out to main streets all around the world.

But in Jerusalem, and around Israel,

there is more than candles and oil lights.

Special suffganiot, those fried decorated donuts

Hanukka donuts in store window in Old City

filled store window displays,

and were consumed by the millions.

See that little hand reaching for one more?

For one last time until next year,

Hebrew sign on bus in Jerusalem Israel Old City

Happy Hanukkah.