After another busy week,
looking forward to a
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
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
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
sprung up just about everywhere.
It was good to see First Station busy again,
but this was the only sign of the new Luna Park.
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
people on top of the Walls looking down at Silwan below.
Streets were closed and blocked to cars,
while some places were even blocked to pedestrians.
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.
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
the large and diverse crowds,
and for photos in Jerusalem 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.
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.
When Shakespeare wrote
that ‘the whole world is a stage,’
somehow I do not think a cheese shop
or fruit and vegetable stand was what he had in mind.
However, the Israeli Opera had
performers in Machane Yehuda Market,
the shuk on Monday singing arias.
The man selling nuts was smiling,
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.
There was more than one place used as a stage,
some shoppers were determined to keep going,
while others in the market became part of the show.
“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,
one girl in the crowd was serenaded to by this opera singer,
but after an hour the surprise show was over,
and it was back to time for holiday preparations.
Mountains of fresh garlic have arrived in the shuk
and piles of fresh fruits and vegetable are ready,
and one fresh fish store was really popular.
I loved this sign,
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.
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.
With over 26,000 runners from 60 countries,
in many various races, many streets were closed to traffic.
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
whose finish time was not as important as their photo.
There were many good causes that raised money,
but Shalva was the first.
Shalva took part in the half-marathons before there was a full marathon.
Walking with children of ALEH were uniformed police.
ALEH was first at the starting line for a special “race.”
Please take a minute to look and appreciate
the police officer and child on the left.
I am so proud to know the woman whose
design made it possible for that child to “walk in a marathon”
I hate that there were too many great causes
and charities, and I had to cut out many pictures.
Chai Lifeline had a large group with bunches of balloons,
lots of walkers and great spirit.
One Family’s red shirts could also be seen everywhere.
Karen Or was walking again this year.
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.
The crowd in the park was so large
and colorful, but it was hard to get a good photograph.
So many people.
So many came from around the world.
The media was interested in the half-marathon winner.
But my favorites visiting runners were
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.
Thousands of runners passed the finish line,
and entered the Gan Sacher lined with water bottles.
In the park there were teams of supporters;
the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,
and Yachad were just a few of dozens.
While the marathon winners were popular with the news crews,
there was more going on.
The annual hand bike race, for example,
and exercises and music and of course – food.
Two finish lines were confusing to new comers.
The finish line for only the full marathon was at one end of the park,
lined with supporters,
here as the third and four place Israeli winners came in.
The men’s full marathon winners had their moment of glory
and got trophies from Mayor Nir Barkat.
The 10K and 5K runners were coming
up the hill to the finish line,
with the Knesset in view in the background
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,
yet this one man I had seen at the start,
there he was again as he came into the home stretch.
“If you can dream it, you can do it”
seemed like a perfect motto to start this day
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.
The annual Sounds in the Old City,
music festival is going on this week.
Signs are posted leading the way
from outside the Jaffa Gate,
and inside, with stages set up
for musicians to perform.
Down in the moat of the Tower of David,
there were music, tables and chairs and food.
These lights were on the way to the Jewish Quarter,
where again this year the Cardo provided a dramatic venue.
inspired some little dancers,
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.
Good thing, or I would have missed the “fiddler on the roof,”
near Muristan Square.
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.
It is Israeli election season.
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,
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.
But today a large Histadrut rally was taking place,
in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence,
and streets were closed off for more than two hours.
These men were blowing loudly on their whistles.
Jerusalem Council member Pepe Alalu
of Meretz political party
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,
and I saw this sign by a trash can,
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,
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,
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.
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.
Shmita (or spell it shemitta) is Biblical law.
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.
Now in the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens,
Rav Rimon has initiated a special section
to show the laws of shemitta.
For the opening ceremony, Chief Rabbi David Lau spoke,
and then took time to speak to a group of students who participated.
The park is aimed to get children’s attention,
and to make things simple enough
for anyone understand.
With information in Hebrew and English,
there are many examples of what is permissible
and what is not to be done in gardens this year.
The Shemitta Park is simple to reach,
and it is an attractive area
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.