Jerusalem New Arena Opening September 11

School has started and another week has whizzed by.

The countdown for Rosh Hashannah has begun.

You can feel the seasons starting to change with cooler nights.

Headlines were made when Light rail trains were attacked

in some Arab neighborhoods,

and also of attacks in the French Hill neighborhood.

Sadly, French Hill residents have had trouble with some Arab neighbors for years,

but it was not newsworthy until this recent escalation of violence.

image Arab woman in Jerusalem, Israel

However, this Arab woman was waiting to ride the light rail this week.

There were fewer Arab girls on the streets over the summer,

and there were fewer people on the streets tourists were missingl.

Arab girls in Jerusalem

Now, Jaffa Road is looking busier every day.

Har Hayabit wooden bridges ramp to Temple Mount

This week Jordan complained about a “wooden bridge.”

Someone decided to build a second wooden ramp to reach the Temple Mount.

The wooden structure on the left is the only access for non-Muslims.

Though this new one is much smaller, it is coming down.

For a $15 billion gas deal, Jordan gets its wish?

image  Hebrew sign Jeruslaem

The summer concerts at Kikar Safra

featured music of the Beatles and ABBA.

The last free music concert of season is tonight,

at the Pianos at Jerusalem Theater.

But the big, really big, biggest news in the Middle East,

image of new Arena in Jerusalem Israel

is opening of the new Jerusalem Arena tonight.

image press conference

The first press conference was held  in the special press conference room,

with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and leaders of the massive project.

Built next to Teddy Stadium and near the Malha Mall,

image view Jerusalem new unusal

the view from main lobby of Jerusalem is impressive.

image large sports arena

The main floor can be changed for events – sports, recreational and cultural.

There is seating for 11,600 people,

image VIP viewing box

and 16 executive boxes.

I wondered if I would get back to a VIP suite,

image Mayor Nir Barkat at new Arena

and assumed it was my last chance to hang in a locker room with the Mayor.

image working on Jerusalem arena

Workers were all over trying to finish up for the opening tonight.

70% of the 400 million shekel cost was covered by the Israeli Lottery,

Image Jerusalem school construction

but many wish some of that money would go to finish up school construction.

We lived near Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.

As the world remembers those lost in NY Trade Towers,

we also remember those killed in the Pentagon that day.

Sept 11 should have been a wake up call

for US & for the world to terrorism.

Meanwhile, in Israel,

  though there have been a stream of terror attacks,

we have two things in our favor,

Israeli soldiers

as shown here.

The inaugural ceremony of the new Jerusalem Payis Arena

will be a salute to soldiers of IDF.

Jerusalem Summer Nights to September Days

Ah, in Jerusalem, Israel,

image Jerusalem

 summer nights are usually cool and clear.

image bike path

Not many were out riding on the newly-constructed bike paths,

image music and dancing

but the music at First Station had crowds on their feet dancing.

image sing in Hebrew

There was a big welcome sign at the only entrance to the Jerusalem Beer Festival.

בירה the Hebrew word for “beer”‘ and “capital” is the same.

The annual event drew a protest from the Arab media this year.

Located in Gan Ha’atazmaut, Independence Park, is it possible

image park Jerusalem

 that little white circle in the bottom left,

could really be a danger?

image Hebrew sign

These “Make an agreement with Abbas, not with Hamas'” signs

were in many more locations and more on people’s minds.

image black cat, Jerusalem cat

Days this past week were hot enough to make the cats lazy,

Sign in Hebrew posted in Jerusalem

but the summer signs

image Hebrew sign

were being replaced with lots of new ones

image Jerusalem, signs Hebrew

 promoting education in Jerusalem,

as school children returned to their classrooms.

Adults took advantage of end of summer

image Israel Museum

 at The Israel Museum.

image love

In the Garden,

image Big Bambu

next to the Big Bambu, all lit up at night,

Wine Festival Is Mus 048b

was the hugely popular Wine Festival,

where twenty wineries shared samples.

Not all of the samples were wine,

Wine Festival Is Mus 044b

and not all were popular,

as tables were filled with these discarded orange shpritzes.

Children Playground at night Wine Festival Is Mus 065b

Usually the children’s wing and playground are busy places,

but not on the four nights of this festival.

Not to worry,

Wine Festival Is Mus 072b

on the way home I saw that signs were already up for a new event

at the Jerusalem Theater, “24 hours of PIANOS,”

plus there is another free concert in Kikar Safra on 11th,

 just part of what is happening

on the Jerusalem, Israel, streets this week.

Cease-Fire #12: Now What Next

After 11 cease-fire attempts this summer,

where Israel ceased and Hamas kept firing,

this last one seems to be holding.

Almost a full day without red alerts and sirens,

after 50 days Israel is quiet.

People in south can go more than 15 seconds from shelter.

But before Hamas stopped aiming at Israeli civilians,

sadly two men were murdered and

a four-year old boy was killed on his kibbutz,

near the end of this summer barrage of Hamas mortars and missiles.

image Yemin Moshe

Though Jerusalem, Israel was not hit

and “only” aimed at a few times,

the streets were eerie quiet this summer.

image street old stones

This summer tourism was way down,

but those tourists who did not cancel had a great time.

image happy tourist

One US friend shared photos of her family

image boys in water

enjoying themselves at tourist locations.

Quiet night time on Nasi Street with colored lights on

On Nasi Street the patriotic flags are gone,

but light poles are covered with blue and white lights.

“Did you know that if you post photos of cute little kittens,

the world will become safe?” a friend posted on Facebook.

 I had never heard such a thing,

image street cat

but it was good to see our neighborhood bully cat was back.

As “normal” returns to Jerusalem, Israel streets,

school starts next week.

image welcome to first grade sign in Hebrew

I love the “Welcome to First Grade” signs.

Only in Israel is starting first grade a bigger deal

than some university graduations in other parts of the world.

Finally a slow news day.

With the southern border quieter now,

the northern one is warming up with

 “spill over” from Syrian fighting.

Cannot help but wonder,

what will happen next on Jerusalem, Israel streets

Jerusalem Getting Back to Normal

This summer was not normal.

Rockets were falling and tourism was way down

But those tourists who did come had a great time.

The Tourism Ministry recorded 218,000 visitor entries in Israel in July 2014.

Groups from southern Israel were brought to Jerusalem for fun days.

President Reuven Rivlin and his wife hosted more children this week.

Slowly we are returning to “normal.”

The last two weeks in August there is no regular child day care,

which makes some workplaces look like day care centers.

 Grandparents, cousins,

 or any family member or friend can be called to help out.

 A popular summer activity was the view from Big Bambu at the Israel Museum.

image Big Bambu

Some ‘seniors’ finding out they had to go up with their young children,

were not so thrilled about having to make the climb.

image children play ground

The new play area at the Israel Museum was much easier to experience.

 The Bloomfield Science Museum, an  old favorite, is always great for a day outing.

image science museum water

The water activities on a hot day are always a winner.

image sand play area

The new sand area is usually a busy place,

but not this early morning in July,

image children playing

though learning activities led by staff were well under way.

image hand meat grinder

I wonder how many of the children ever saw a meat grinder like this,

or would have any idea what it is?

It was seen on my way to a new building for a special exhibition:

The Machine Within: Bio-mechanics,

image science museum

the machine inside is built to survive.

image science museum

Using small screens

image science museum

and large ones,

image child and grandmother in museum

and animals to attract attention and teach.

image Jerusalem science museum

This shows the outside of a pouncing animal,

but walk around it,

image Jerusalem science museum

and the exhibit shows how it works inside.

image child in science museum

One of my favorite scenes was this boy,

image child at science museum

who figured out how to interact

image child in science meusm

with all the right moves.

image Arab girl Jerusalem,

During the month of July with all the troubles and tensions you heard about,

at places like the Science Museum, where this Muslim girl is on staff,

image Muslim men Jerusalem

and in the Israel Museum where Muslim men worked and rested on Ramadan,

life went on as “normal.”

That was the real Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Will the cease fire and quiet hold?

We will all have to see what happens next.

18 Signs of our Times

The last week has been another roller coaster one,

with so much attention centered around Gaza,

which in Hebrew is Azza.

image street sign hebrew

There were even jokes about Azza,

Street that is, which is near where we live.

image Operation Protective Edge

No jokes, as 64 Israeli soldiers died,

and one went to this Jerusalem, Israel school.

The death notices posted and displayed inside are in his memory.

Many more soldiers were injured.

gifts outside room of injured Israeli soldier

You could spot the hospital rooms of injured soldiers

by the collection of gifts near the room and

the well-wishers in the hall waiting to enter.

hebrew sign

The banner reading

“Soldiers of Israel, we are with you the whole way, return in peace,”

was displayed on many Jerusalem buses this week.

image large Israeli flag

This synagogue had its flag flying at half mast.

image Israeli flags on cars

Small Israeli flags were flown from cars,

flags on building for Opertaion Protietive Ege

and the Jewish Agency Building brought out their large flags

and this special sign, all in support of Israeli Army.

image signs in Hebrew

Flags and signs were hung in Paris Square,

image signs Operation Protetive Edge

even hand painted ones were allowed to stay.

image Hebrew signs

Children’s summer activities were moved inside,

Tisha b av

while signs announced free admissions in August.

In spite of everything, there were signs of development,

032b dig for construction

 as construction continued deep into the ground.

Tisha B’Av with its signs of mourning,

image Israel Tisha Bav

  sitting on the ground

while reading Eicha, in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park.

9 Av5774 050b  tisha b av in Jerusalem

Hundreds joined the 20th walk around the Walls of the Old City

on Tisha B’Av night, with many waving Israeli flags.

The route was changed this year.

A funeral was being held on Mount of Olives for a young father

who was killed by a terrorist driving an excavator on a Jerusalem street.

Security was high,

iamge Kossel

but the crowds were not as large as usual

near the Western Wall, the Kotel,

a sorry sign of these times.

poster #EyalgiladNaftali

And this sign,

 it was just  announced that Hussam Kawasma,

the Hamas terrorist who planned and commanded the terror cell

that kidnapped Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel

has been arrested.

image for support of Israeli army

“We Are Strong Together,” in bold letters on another sign.

What a time it has been.

Today the strange winter clouds have lifted,

the sky is again a clear summer blue.

From people passing on the street you hear the words

“shooting” and “ceasefire,”

but tension felt in the air seems to be lifting too.

image Hebrew sign

Next time we plan to share photos from the new exhibit

at the Bloomfield Science Museum,

as everyone gets back to ‘normal’

on the real Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Photos of happy, smiling  family reunions as soldiers return home

are filling Facebook pages.

 Oh well that was quick, red alerts are going in the South,

36 hours into 72  Gaza is firing rockets again!

Now saying false alarms.

What next?

Week 3: Crazy Times of War and Weddings

   Another crazy week trying to keep everything going.

image Golani soldier support

Signs supporting Golani soldiers are appearing

image Israeli flag

and Israeli flags are flying, with more out every day.

Israel is under threat.

Those tunnels from Gaza into Israel have proven deadly,

and last night five young soldiers were killed in Israel

by terrorists emerging from the ground near a kibbutz.

The tunnels have to be destroyed.

Meanwhile, countless missions, private and public,

are driving south to give food and personal items to

reserve soldiers who are on duty.

Family members have gone to visit my son-in-law more than once.

Even an unexpected call from a soldier can take a few minutes to appreciate,

after the ‘what is wrong’  feeling is over.

Everyone wants to do something, give money, bake, cook,

but there was one unusual “war effort” I had to go check out and share.

story teller

Morah Roc is a professional story teller.

She offered to entertain children one afternoon,

with all the donations going to a good cause

to support those affected by the situation.

image sign in Hebrew

Signs are up for the annual International Puppet Festival in August

and we continue to plan for our August wedding.

This evening there is a funeral at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery

for a soldier from our synagogue,

and at the same time, the Great Synagogue is holding

the shloshim (30 days of mourning) observance for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.

At this roller coaster time, we often think of  words of Golda Meir.

image child sitting on floor

If only they cared for their children as much as we do.

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Two soldiers on reserve duty get engaged,

and there is another wedding to plan.

It’s good to have good news to share,

even as more rockets are fired at southern civilians.