Passover in and out of Jerusalem

  Passover time in Jerusalem, Israel,

sees a population exchange.

Many locals rent (or try to rent) their homes

to holiday visitors for large sums,

and go away for the week.

Even more take day or overnight trips

view from park in Zichron

to one of Israel’s amazing nature spots

like this one near Zichron Yaakov in Ramat Hanadiv park.

Estimates were as high as 75,000 people

for Monday morning’s holiday annual

Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

But huge crowds were at

Kotel on Pesach

the Kotel, the Western Wall all day the next day as well.

 Not only were prayer services held at the Kotel and at regular synagogues,

but impromptu minyanim for the afternoon prayers

mincha minyin

sprung up just about everywhere.

people at Tachna

It was good to see First Station busy again,

Luna Park to be built in First Station

but this was the only sign of the new Luna Park.

parking lot Tachanah

The free shuttle bus service was finally being used,

with a full size buse to accommodate the crowds,

in addition to the special vans.

The route was different and it went to a different Old City Gate.

While walking to Kotel, you could see

Silwan

people on top of the Walls looking down at Silwan below.

Street blocked in Old City

Streets were closed and blocked to cars,

 while some places were even blocked to pedestrians.

police block way in Old City

I was not allowed to walk up this alley,

but the guy in white shirt was allowed to smoke.

The closings caused a lot of extra walking for people.

Pesach 5775

This little girl is watching a man from an Arabic tour,

who is taking a video of the hasid, religious Jewish man,

while I was taking photos of the Arabic writing on the back of his vest.

Warm, clear weather was perfect for

crowd Passover Jerusalem

 the large and diverse crowds,

Jaffa Gate plaza view of Tower of DAvid

and for photos in Jerusalem on Passover.

Maimilla Mall on Passover

Mamilla Mall had extra balloon people

and we hear they did a great business.

And of course, there was food.

Parks were filled with picnics and BBQ grills,

and the sky filled with smoke.

Many food places were closed for the holiday.

The ones that were open did just about anything with potatoes.

Peasch Potato Pizza

 However,

this pizza did not seem to be too popular

with one young family.

But, always popular

is the holiday greeting on Jerusalem buses,

Happy and Kosher passover

Happy and Kosher Passover.

Israeli Opera in Jerusalem Shuk

When Shakespeare wrote

that ‘the whole world is a stage,’

Israel opera singer at cheese shop in shuk

somehow I do not think a cheese shop

opera singer

or fruit and vegetable stand was what he had in mind.

However, the Israeli Opera had

Israel opera singers

performers in Machane Yehuda Market,

the shuk on Monday singing arias.

picture nut selling stall in shuk

The man selling nuts was smiling,

vegetables in market

as was the green grocer across the way.

So was I after they found my cell phone.

Trying to get a good shot with so many photographers

pushing in the crowded and narrow alleyways,

I almost lost my phone there.

Israel opera singer

There was more than one place used as a stage,

performance Israel opera in shuk

 some shoppers were determined to keep going,

man in shuk who sang for the Israeli opera singers

while others in the market became part of the show.

Israel opera couple perform in shuk

“L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetnao Donizetti

is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool the end of June,

and some Jerusalem shoppers got a preview.

As cameras rolled,

image Israel opera singer uses girl in crowd in act

one girl in the crowd was serenaded to by this opera singer,

but after an hour the surprise show was over,

fresh garlic piled high in the shuk

and it was back to time for holiday preparations.

people shopping for fresh garlic

Mountains of fresh garlic have arrived in the shuk

shuk vegetable display

and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable are ready,

fresh fish stall in market

and one fresh fish store was really popular.

I loved this sign,

ready for Passover in machane yehuda

this store is ready for Passover and

NO ONE is to bring in anything that is not for Passover.

Now if only my house was nearly as ready.

Jerusalem Marathon 30 Photos

Again this year, some love it and some hate it.

The Fifth International Jerusalem Winner Marathon

was run on Friday morning.

While I love some aspects of this event,

at the same time some parts are hard to like.

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With over 26,000 runners from 60 countries,

in many various races, many streets were closed to traffic.

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This year I tried to take fewer photos,

and ended up with over 300.

Then I hated trying to get down to just a few to share.

You see how long it took to publish this post.

Now I hope you will enjoy a few favorites.

My favorite selfie was of these two men

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whose finish time was not as important as their photo.

There were many good causes that raised money,

but Shalva was the first.

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Shalva took part in the half-marathons before there was a full marathon.

Walking with children of ALEH were uniformed police.

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ALEH was first at the starting line for a special “race.”

Please take a minute to look and appreciate

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 the police officer and child on the left.

Amazing.

I am so proud to know the woman whose

  design made it possible for that child to “walk in a marathon”

 more ALEH photos here.

I hate that there were too many great causes

and charities, and I had to cut out many pictures.

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Chai Lifeline had a large group with bunches of balloons,

lots of walkers and great spirit.

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One Family’s red shirts could also be seen everywhere.

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Karen Or was walking again this year.

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These girls got my attention,

they seemed to be having a great time,

 I am not sure which group they were with,

but photos of them are going viral.

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The crowd in the park was so large

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and colorful, but it was hard to get a good photograph.

So many people.

So many came from around the world.

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The media was interested in the half-marathon winner.

 But my favorites visiting runners were

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this man and his wife from Philadelphia, PA.

They came with 6 family members,

just to run in Jerusalem marathon races,

to raise funds for lone soldiers,

and to celebrate his 80th birthday this week.

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Thousands of runners passed the finish line,

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and entered the Gan Sacher lined with water bottles.

In the park there were teams of supporters;

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AACI,

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 the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

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and Yachad were just a few of dozens.

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While the marathon winners were popular with the news crews,

there was more going on.

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The annual hand bike race, for example,

and exercises and music and of course – food.

Two finish lines were confusing to new comers.

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The finish line for only the full marathon was at one end of the park,

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 lined with supporters,

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here as the third and four place Israeli winners came in.

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The men’s full marathon winners had their moment of glory

and got trophies from Mayor Nir Barkat.

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The 10K and 5K runners were coming

up the hill to the finish line,

with the Knesset in view in the background

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in crowds of thousands.

I did not find all of my family members,

and I did not see friends from near and far who ran

for the first time,

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yet this one man I had seen at the start,

there he was again as he came into the home stretch.

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“If you can dream it, you can do it”

seemed like a perfect motto to start this day

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and this smile a good one to end with.

Photos had to be cut to keep this from becoming another marathon.

If you want to see more of Jerusalem Marathon 2015,

additional pictures are posted on RJS Facebook page.

Jerusalem: Sounds & Photos in the Old City

The annual Sounds in the Old City,

music festival is going on this week.

old city Jerusalem

Signs are posted leading the way

tower of david

from outside the Jaffa Gate,

music

and inside, with stages set up

music

for musicians to perform.

music

Down in the moat of the Tower of David,

there were music, tables and chairs and food.

lights on wall for art

These lights were on the way to the Jewish Quarter,

music

where again this year the Cardo provided a dramatic venue.

music

Various singers

children music

inspired some little dancers,

Hurva Shul at night

in the Rova, the square of the Jewish Quarter,

by the Hurva Synagogue.

I almost went out the wrong way.

Thousands came to the Old City,

and the route I wanted was closed off.

lights on wall of festival

Good thing, or I would have missed the “fiddler on the roof,”

near Muristan Square.

big sign at Jaffa Gate for marathon

Not all the music was great, though it was all loud.

The festival will run until the end of the week.

Then Friday am bright and early,

 it will be the time for the running of the Jerusalem Marathon.

Protesting the Histadrut Protest

It is Israeli election season.

Again.

And way too soon for most of the people that I know.

Anglo Voters  are not being ignored for a change.

Among the numerous election banners,

political sign in Hebrew

 was this sign, “Us or Him”

opposing Bibi for Prime Minister

posted across from his house in Jerusalem, Israel.

Mostly I have tried to avoid sharing the unpleasantness.

street closed near PM house protest

But today a large Histadrut rally was taking place,

protest Jerusalem

in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence,

and streets were closed off for more than two hours.

protest near Israeli Prime Minister house

These men were blowing loudly on their whistles.

Pepe Alau

Jerusalem Council member Pepe Alalu

of Meretz political party

Histardut rally

was on his way to join the bus loads of protesters.

I was on my way back home from a meeting

after the protest rally ended,

protest sign by garbage

and I saw this sign by a trash can,

people leaving rally

as bus loads of people wearing white Histadrut hats left.

Freedom of speech.

Protest away, as loud as you want,

block traffic and inconvenience others,

garbage left after Histadrut rally

but how dare they leave our streets lined with liter!

At least one person got employment from today’s event.

Look who was cleaning up afterwards,

histadrut rally 016b

a Jewish man wearing zizit under his yellow safety vest.

Bibi was not even around for the event,

as he was on his way to the airport and his flight to the US.

His parting remarks:

“A few days before the Fast of Esther,

I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission.

I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis,

even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People.

I am deeply and genuinely concerned for the security of all Israelis,

for the fate of the nation, and for the fate of our people

and I will do my utmost to ensure our future.”

At least the Histadrut could clean up after themselves.

Shemitta in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Most people know there are Jewish dietary laws

which require the separation of meat and milk.

But I just separated sweet potatoes, peppers and carrots,

from cucumbers and tomatoes.

Why?

image Shmitta in Hebrew

Shmita (or spell it shemitta) is Biblical law.

Shmita park sign with source

We are well into the shemitta year,

which takes on special meaning for those who live in Israel.

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon has written books on the subject.

He composed colorful charts and calendars to simplify the laws.

image Botanical Gardens Jerusalem Israel

Now in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,

Shimita park

Rav Rimon has initiated a special section

to show the laws of shemitta.

image Rabbi Lau talking to girls in Shmita park

For the opening ceremony, Chief Rabbi David Lau spoke,

and then took time to speak to a group of students who participated.

garden for shmitta

The park is aimed to get children’s attention,

image shimita park

 and to make things simple enough

image shemitta

for anyone understand.

image shemitta

With information in Hebrew and English,

image in shmita park

there are many examples of what is permissible

and what is not to be done in gardens this year.

shemitta

The Shemitta Park is simple to reach,

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens shmita park

and it is an attractive area

image shmita park

 with more interactive features to come.

Check it out if you are in Jerusalem, Israel.

The Botanical Gardens are a great place to visit.

Once  a garbage dump,

it is now a beautiful and educational outing.