Israel National Library Reveals Hidden Treasures

The National Library of Israel is located on the

Hebrew University Givat Ram campus,

Israel National Library

but how many have been inside,

gone up the stairs,

stained glass windows in Israel National Kibrary

 and seen its magnificent stained glass windows?

Until recently only a small select group of scholars,

 as few as 100 per year.

Last year, however, the number of visitors was up to 30,000.

inside National Library

How many went behind these closed doors?

On a recent press tour of the library, in the restoration room,

old paper needing repait

we saw an old page of text,

material to fix old books

and the materials used to repair delicate treasures,

image very old book in National Library

and old volumes from the past.

image digital screen with researcher reading

In the digital lab, modern technology is used to store

and analyze volume after volume.

We saw a few of the oldest hidden treasures:

very old illustrated megilah

this Megillat Esther, from 18th century Amsterdam;

very old text

Passover haggadah, 15th century Spain;

genizia item at National Library of IIsrael

a letter from the Afghan geniza, 11-12th century Persia;

letter by Martin Buber

Martin Buber’s original draft of “Ich und Du” “I and Thou;”

letter by Isaac Newton in Israel Library

a manuscript written by Isaac Newton;

image ancient manuscript

and this Kufic Quran from the 9th century.

While these invaluable treasures are locked up,

image people using library computers

the digital music room is open to the public and used daily.

The National Library is to have a new home,

where the public will be welcomed for free,

and the hidden treasures are to be displayed.

sign on site of new National Library of Israel

The location

New Israel National Library what will it look like

for the new building is not far away.

land where Israel National Library is to be built

It is to be across from the Knesset,

near the Israel Museum and Bloomfield Science Museum.

Construction will begin next year

on this site that was cleared of huge trees

which were replanted near the Jerusalem Zoo.

international book fair sign in Hebrew

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem International Book Fair 

is to be held from February 8- 12.

Books, books, and more books and more…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

UN may close for a snow day, but

image for Holocaust Remembrance

 flames are on government buildings in Jerusalem, Israel,

and many remember every day.

Jerusalem Special Visitors

The world seems upside down like Chelm these days,

and if it was not so serious, it would be funny.

This week saw a large delegation from Japan,

led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting Jerusalem, Israel.

image Canada and Israel together

Foreign Minister John Baird of Canada signed the official guest book

at Beit HaNasi, the Israeli President’s residence, while Reuven Rivlin watched.

image US senators visit Jerusalem, israel

Then in the afternoon a group of US Senators led by John McCain,

dropped by for a photo op and to chat with the President.

So much for isolation and BDS, all affirmed their support for Israel.

But government officials and their noisy motorcades

were not the only ones who filled the streets this week.

kossel on Friday am

Extended families gathered to celebrate,

Kossle plaza

and thousands have come daily to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Kossel plaza

Birthright tour groups

Kosel plaza photo

from around the world posed for group photos.

Mount of Olives cemetery view

Tour buses lined up along the road to Har Hazaytim,

the Mount of Olives cemetery.

And at the same time as rabbis in Belgium

were being notified that their synagogues should be closed on Shabbat

for the first time since World War II,

because their safety could not be guaranteed by the police,

Palestinian kids

these Muslim boys were walking through the Jewish Quarter

in the Old City to go to Friday prayers.

Muslim going to prayer

Any doubts? Notice the prayer rug in hand,

so much for apartheid and oppression.

Muslim family going to prayers on Friday

These boys may have taken a second look,

but the man was wearing a long skirt,

as this Muslim family proceeded to prayers on Temple Mount.

And while Muslims of all ages attend regularly on Friday,

(as long as there are no calls for violence)

this group we passed did stand out,

tour group from Turkey

their bags had the name of a Turkish tour company.

Seems not everyone in Turkey is boycotting Israel.

Hope they get to see the real Jerusalem streets,

and take back the truth,

what is really happening.

Jerusalem Funeral of Murdered Frenchmen: Photos and Flags

Today the large French and Israeli flags were coming down.

flags FRance

They had been hung for a show of unity with France,

as Israeli leaders,

along with French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal,

joined thousands of mourners in attending the funeral yesterday

at Givat Shaul Cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel.

closed Highway

The road leading to the cemetery was closed

 and traffic was backing up with unhappy drivers.

police motorcycle

But the special free shuttle buses had a police escort

and went around the stopped vehicles.

female solders

Security lined the roads

cemetery

and much of the cemetery.

water

Free water bottles were piled high in several locations.

photo media

International media and TV cameras were set.

crowd at funeral

Crowds tried to get past guards to enter,

but only those with invitations were allowed to pass.

talit for funeral

Here a family member was carrying a talit,

which is used to cover the body before burial.

French signs

There were a few signs

image funeral crowd

in the crowd,

I am signs

one with the faces and names of four men murdered,

because they were Jews,

Yohan Cohen,

Yoav Hattab,

Philippe Braham,

Francois-Michel Saada,

Israeli flag at funeral

and Israeli flags.

people inside funeral

Immediate mourners and dignitaries were behind barriers,

Frenchmen funeral

inside other barriers.

Sephardi rabbi kiss hand

Everyone rose when the Chief Rabbi entered,

and many stopped him to kiss his hand.

scene of Funeral

One by one Zaka members carried in the men,

murdered in terror attack in Paris, France on  erev Shabbat.

funeral speaking

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat escorted a family member,

who lit a flame and spoke.

The Chief Rabbis,

Israel President Reuven Rivlin

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin,

funeral French security

French Minister Segolene Royal,

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking behind bullet proof glass

and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

spoke in a protected area where only a special photographer

could get a photo without distorted reflections.

funeral French crowd

It was a sad day,

funeral

for all involved.

Inside the main area it did not seem like so many people came,

crowd at Givat Shaul cemetery

but upon leaving it was obvious that thousands could not get in.

They filled the streets as they filed out slowly.

I am Charles

Waiting shuttle buses returned us to town,

where more signs lined the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Sadly, Jerusalem has had large funerals before

and has learned how to prepare for the huge crowds.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was the last one

for innocent people murdered by terrorists?

After Jerusalem Blizzard 2015

Last week it was exhausting waiting for the snow to start.

School was closed, then opened, then closed.

Supermarkets ran out of chicken and yeast.

It snowed a bit and then stopped.

It rained and rained, it poured.

The heaters do not work when it really gets cold,

but we waited for Jerusalem covered beautifully in white.

Finally, around 4:00 pm on Friday,

snow Jerusalem

the snow began to fall,

and so heavy the Knesset could not be seen.

photo Jerusalem snow Israel Museum

The Israel Museum blurred into white.

But Shabbat was starting,

and the camera was put away,

so you will have to believe me that on Friday night and Shabbat

we saw some of the most gorgeous scenes ever.

There was no wind and the snow stuck to all the tree branches,

for what would have made classic photos.

Then,

photo after snow

all that was left on Sunday was the remnant of this poor old snow man,

I assume those carrots were his/her nose.

photo water tanks on roof

But not only do heaters not work well in the cold,

as usual there were water problems with parts of the dood freezing,

so seeing someone working on the roof tops was common.

We only lost power for a few minutes and had

running water all Shabbat, though it was soo cold.

But then the sun came out,

and Pollyanna time.

Along with the tragic news from Paris, France,

image Jerusalem theater

girls from Beit Shemesh were excited to be at the Jerusalem Theater

to rehearse for their show “Pollyanna.”

Blizzard of 2015 did not happened,

 feeling still like a bear coming out of hibernation,

but back to “normal.”

Israeli Media Snow Jerusalem Blizzard

They were calling it #IsraelBlizzard.

Jerusalem, Israel, was prepared for #WhiteJerusalem.

Schools were closed, meetings cancelled,

everyone was ready.

We were braced for power to go out,

just hoping for less time than the full week last year.

image hail storm knesset

First, there were hail and fog, with very strong winds.

photo hail stones on ground

Hail stones fell after loud thunder and lightning.

photo snow on roof tops Jerusalem Israel winter storm

Snow covered roof tops quickly,

#whiteJerusalem

and was sticking to cars and roads.

And then,

after ten minutes,

image Knesset in snow

it stopped and a slight powder of snow

that could be seen on the Knesset grounds.

All day we waited for more,

#WhiteJerusalem

by night fall the streets were quiet.

image snow in Jerusalem

 at bed time this was the best snow photo of the day.

No blizzard.

It felt like those old days in the DC area,

where the government and schools shut for snowy weather

that made every Northerner and Canadian laugh

and go into the details of their memories of a real blizzard.

image snow on ground outside Knesset

In the morning the Knesset had a thin cover of white,

and no serious accumulation of snow.

#WhiteJerusalem still might come over the weekend.

thermometer low house temp

It is cold though, this indoor thermometer,

 read 50 degrees first thing this morning,

so the temperature has been rising.

Outside,

image bad weather

it is another grey, wet, sleet and slippery day.

After a late school opening,

the kids are out of the house,

making the parents very happy.

#WhiteJerusalem was not an #IsraelBlizzard,

even with that loud thunder all day.

Hard to believe that only four days ago,

there were those rainbow colored flowers,

Snow in Jerusalem

Snow in Jerusalem, Israel.

Is there anything else to share today?

Is there anything else people are talking about?

Yesterday the mayor called a special press conference

iamge Jerusalem prepares for snow

 to show the world the city’s new salt spreaders,

all gassed up and ready to hit the streets the with first flakes.

image Jerusalem snow

As the press closed around for their close ups,

the residents of Jerusalem were getting prepared.

image snow prep Jerusalem

This man was not going to get caught short of essentials.

image grey sky over Jerusalem

Today the sky clouded over as a grey fog came in.

Remember Varda?

image snow pep

She is all tied up in knots now.

image street clean up

City workers are preparing and cleaning streets,

as the wind is gusting and blowing harder.

image city worker

At least one city worker was getting her last shopping in.

image man running with a heater

And this man was running home with his new heater.

Cancellations are hard to keep track of!

Sure hope we do not lose power for a week like last year,

because if there really is so much snow,

how will we share those photos tomorrow?