In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Israel, September days seem to be cooler.

Then along comes a hot day and a humid night.

But summer is over and back to busy schedules.

This was a busy week, one of those when it was hard to decide which events to attend.

Israeli champion female football team, winning soccer players

President Rivlin hosted Israel’s best female football (soccer) players today.

The ASA Tel Aviv team, second-time champions, brought their winner’s cup to Beit Hanasi.

Beit Hanasi President Rivlin posing with women form Movilot

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin hosted religious women from Movilot, an organization that promotes employment for ultra-Orthodox women in Israel.

Rivka Ravitz his long-serving Chief of Staff was there for the morning event.

Later in the day, it was announced that she gave birth to her 12th child.

President Rivlin Chief of Staff Rivka Ravitz at Beit Hanasi

I hesitated and did not take a photo of Rivka in the morning, but here is one from last year.

She was always at the President’s side, but stays out of the photographer’s view.

President Rivlin GPO IDF Spokesperson photo for 80th birthday
photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

The next day without his faithful assistant, the President received a birthday cake.

“There is nothing more thrilling than to celebrate your 80th birthday with the youngest and most daring brigade in the army. With you, I feel safe and young. In Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), it says ‘80 years old for heroism.’ But you, you are the real heroes.”

Israel Committee Logistic Center

The September 17 election day is approaching. Before the previous election on a trip to the logistic center, we were told how the day after an election they begin to prepare for the next one.

Israeli election logistic center workers

Did anyone really believe then that indeed we would have an election again so soon?

The only thing for sure about this election is that no one really knows what will happen.

Avigdor Liberman at Israel Knesset Opening

What I can tell you with certainty is there is a new film called”Leiber-Man” directed by Nurit Kedar.  Because of election laws, it cannot be shown on Israeli TV until after the polls have closed on election day. Kedar received invaluable film footage from Alexander Gentelev before he passed away which she incorporated brilliantly in her documentary.

Avigdor Liberman arrived in Israel as a 20-year-old and started working at the airport handling luggage the next day. He has held many senior government positions other than Prime Minister. How his actions will affect the next Knesset will be more clear next week.

I am staying away from political debate and moving on to graffiti.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Some of the recent graffiti has been colorful.

If you want, some of the recent photos of ugly graffiti are here.

Jerusalem Israel one year in Guatemala Embassy

This sign for Guatemala was put up over vandalized Honduras thank you. 

Why mention graffiti this week?

Foot bridge near Begin Center in Jerusalem Israel

On my way to the Cinematheque for the “Leiber-man” documentary, I looked down and saw this inscription on the footbridge over Derech Hevron, Hebron Road.

Promised Land on path over Hebron Road Jerusalme Israel

I had to stop, look, think, and go back again.

View from Hevron Road foot bridge of Old City

This view from the pedestrian bridge is one I try and share with participants of photo walks. 

The walls of the Old City are across the Sultan’s Pool. Looking in this direction, Jaffa Gate is in the distance.

This area was part of No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

View of Old City from foot bridge near Begin Center

I wonder who did this.  What will happen next in the promised land is hard to predict.

Muslim women in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel

I do know – that nearby Muslim women were having a picnic in Liberty Bell Park.

Inbal hotel welcome banner

Next to the park at the Inbal Hotel, a large welcome sign was up for international delegates for the Declaration of Our Common Destiny.

Common Destiny meeting with Israeli President

Its lofty aim is to support President Rivlin’s challenge to engage unity within diversity. When meeting the scholars and advisors at Beit Hanasi, he said:

“The miracle of the Jewish people is not only that we survived for thousands of years. The miracle is that, despite the fact that we were spread all over the world, speak different languages and developed different traditions, we always were one people. Despite our differences, we remained bound by our shared history, our core values and beliefs, our Book of Books, and our commitment to improving the world. It helped that our enemies always saw us as one people. Our enemies don’t see any difference between one stream of Judaism and another: Secular, Haredi, Reform, Conservative, Masorti – for them we are all Jews. “

Banners at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem Israel

I heard about a very different and special mission which was based at the Inbal Hotel.

The special Children’s Center Israel Trip sounded impressive.

I thank my friend for telling me about Yaakov Shwekey’s family and how they brought a group of special needs children on an amazing trip of a lifetime to Israel.

Oh, there was so much more, but enough for now.

Be the best you can be.

Jerusalem as August Ends and September Begins

Jerusalem as August Ends and September Begins

What a week!

That’s it for the summer.

Most visitors to Jerusalem, Israel have gone home.

At the end of August, a 9% increase in tourism was announced.

In the US and Israel, everyone was on holiday, at the beach one last time, or at a big-time BBQ.

Meanwhile, here in Jerusalem, two first-time events were held.

Jerusalem’s Kraft Family Sports Complex hosted the ninth European Flag Football Championship.

Israel finished in fourth place, but was full of pride, for Israeli Dani Eastman was named men’s tournament MVP. The tournament was to be held in Israel previously but was canceled in 2014 due to the security threats of the July-August Operation Protective Edge.

Also, there was JeruStock at First Station, a mud-free, drug and alcohol-free, family-friendly, musical, tie-dyed celebration of 50 years since Woodstock.

Har Herzl Museum with actor dressed as Herzl

At the end of August in 1897, 208 delegates and 26 press correspondents attended the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.

Theodor Herzl is not only remembered on the anniversary of the movement he started or on the day when he was re-interred in Israel in 1949. He is remembered on Har Herzl which was named for him, the man who died so young and before his vision became a reality.

This year special ceremonies were held near his tomb on Har Herzl.

Beit Hanasi garden Herzl with Sara Zoabi

A sculpture of Theodor Herzl stands in the front garden of Beit Hanasi.  Here Sara Zoabi posed next to the statue in the presidential garden after a recent event held in the main hall.

Sign on ground for summer camp at Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel

Memories and this sign were all that remained of the big summer vacation and water activities in Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park.

It was time this week to go back to school.

Sign on Jerusalem Israel bus for good school year.

Signs lined some Jerusalem streets, similar to this one on a bus, wishing all a successful school year תש”פ 5780.

Time to get ready for school, but also to get ready for changes in the streets of Jerusalem, Israel.

Sderot Shazar Jerusalem Israel closed until 2022 for new road

The new traffic pattern at the entrance to Jerusalem was well advertised. Until now no fines have been imposed on cars going in the public transit-only lanes, but that is to change now. Police will be watching and will issue tickets and fines to those drivers of private vehicles who are not following instructions.

Azza Street to be upgraded with new sidewalks and more

But there is more–multiple signs are up for other road works to begin soon.

Jerusalem Israel park with horse stature and Windows

Remember the Gan HaSoos, Horse Park and ‘Windows’?

Windows as seen from behind Gan Hasoos Jerusalem Horse Park

‘Windows’ was constructed for the Mekudeshet Festival which is to run September 4- 21.

Repairing Windows in Gan HaSoos in Jerusalem Israel

This week ‘Windows’ was being repaired and readied for the musical opening of the creative festival, whose music will be filling Jerusalem streets and parks.

First plan for Knesset expansion

The design for new construction for the Knesset expansion was published.

First plan for Israeli Knesset expansion

After the municipality sent out these images of the accepted plans, objections arose that the “iconic” building is not prominent enough.

However, what the sketches do not show is all the construction surrounding the Knesset which obscures many views.

Construction and moving are two themes found throughout Jerusalem streets this week.

I especially love to see the piles of books left out for passersby to take and give a new home.

Paper from boxes lining elevator in Jerusalem Israel building

Long gone are the days when Jerusalem had few elevators and only low buildings.

This is one of the new elevators that have a number pad ONLY on the outside wall.   You must push the number of the floor you want before entering the elevator.  Then you have to check and see which elevator to use and then enter.

I had to take a photo of this “C” elevator. I entered after pressing the button for the 16th floor.  While still in the lobby, one man came in, looked around, and exited quickly.  This was a sure sign he was not a regular visitor to the building as he panicked on encountering the new technology.

FoZ sign to welcome Honduran President Hernández to Jerusalem Israel

A very special visitor, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and his wife arrived in Jerusalem for a ceremony inaugurating a Honduran “trade office” in Jerusalem. Their first public appearance was at the Kotel, Western Wall. This visit was to be the first step to moving the Honduran Embassy to Jerusalem.

Music in Jerusalem Israel end of September 2019

With the new month of Elul, the countdown to Rosh Hashana, the New Year, has begun. Signs are up for pre-holiday evenings of song and prayer.

Fall events include the ‘Jaffa to Agrippas Festival’ in the Machane Yehuda Market.

I am looking forward to The Jerusalem Biennale 2019 – For Heaven’s Sake! in October.

Pomegranate tree in Jerusalem Israel

The pomegranates are ripe as they hang on trees along Jerusalem streets.

Limes of tree in Jerusalem ready to pick in fall

Another sure sign the summer has passed – limes on the tree.

Finally, it is cooling off enough to be comfortable walking outside again.

View of Old City walls in Jerusalem Israel at sunset

One sees the reflection of the sun as it sets against the walls of the Old City.

I love this time of year, and the time of day when Jerusalem turns to Jerusalem of Gold.

Preserving the Past, Promoting the Future, and Anchors Aweigh Jerusalem

Preserving the Past, Promoting the Future, and Anchors Aweigh Jerusalem

Jerusalem offers a wide array of activities before the new school year begins.

Searching for a good quote for “circus” I found “preserving the past, promoting the future.”

What could be more appropriate for Jerusalem, Israel?

Jerusalem Tower of David end of summer event Circus

What could be more appropriate for the Circus at the Tower of David?

Jerusalem Israel Tower of David Circus sign

In the venue of historic ancient stones, the past is carefully preserved.

The Circus being held this August is especially aimed at young families.

Encouraging. Enriching. Exciting.

Providing educational and enjoyable activities that promote the future.

Tower of David view of tables set for Shesh Besh competition in Jerusalem Israel

From the Tower of David, you get panoramic and dramatic views of Jerusalem.

From the top of the Tower of David, we could see the area above Mamilla Mall across from the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate was set and ready for a shesh-besh tournament.  Backgammon players of all ages were invited to enter the public competition.

The plaza area near Jaffa Gate was not the only place that was busy this summer.

360 Degrees music festival in Jerusalem Liberty Bell Park

The Liberty Bell Park was one of the locations of the 360 Degree music and theater festival.

Muslim woman standing with Jewish man at music event in Liberty Bell Park Jerusalem

Diverse populations attended these events that were open to the public and free of charge. This was a drum circle, with standing room also.

Muslim women picnic in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem during a summer music festival

I took this photo of a young woman ready to do face painting for the children in the park.

If you look closely the women behind her are wearing hijabs and having a picnic dinner.

Jerusalem Israel Bloomfield Park scene from Measure for Measure - Shakespeare in Motion

In Bloomfield Park, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in Motion holds its last performances on August 25, 26, and 27. The annual theatrical event attracted the attention of Yiddish-speaking children who were in the park on family outings. Shakespeare is not taught in Israeli schools, and this is one fun way to preserve the Bard.

End of August summer activities at Hansen House in Jerusalem Israel

Hansen House, the old leper hospital, now the site of innovative programs, is presenting end-of-summer activities for families. Locals may be away, but a few children were doing activities in the Hansen courtyard. Sunday night was scheduled for a grand opening.

Sign for Sukkot 2016 Archaeological campus

Preserving the past, the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, had a grand opening almost three years ago.

Building of Schottenstein Antiquities Campus

The huge complex was meant to showcase Israeli archaeology.

Inside Antiquities Campus 2016

The innovative architectural designed building was to be home to researchers preserving the past. Visitors could watch work being done through glass walls.

Room in Schottenstein Antiquities Campus

Rooms were dedicated to each era and the ancient finds were to be on display.

valuable pieces in museum lower level Schottenstein Campus

Down in the depths, the most ancient and valuable pieces were to be preserved and displayed.

Archaeological Campus site near Israel Museum

The front still appears the same from the street as on our exciting initial visit, only now the doors are chained shut. It will take a huge new cash infusion to promote the campus in the future.

Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem Israel

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem (BLMJ) is next to the shuttered campus.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem main floor

BLMJ has rare antiquities carefully preserved and ancient relics on exhibition.

Exhibit at Bible Lands Museum on discoveries found preparing for new Beit Shemesh road

In the spring the Highway through History exhibit opened.

Beit Shemesh Road work halted because of major site underneath

Displays and photographs of the #38 Highway expansion are seen near the entrance.

Side of road where ancient site was found next to new road in BEeit Shemesh

However, driving by the site on the way to Beit Shemesh, was a very different experience.

Archaeological dig in Beit Shemesh where new road was to go.

I know they said it was big and close to the road, but as we drove by it was hard to capture how expansive the site is. Everywhere in Israel, preserving the past and promoting the future is a balancing act, as Beit Shemesh Mayor Aliza Bloch and museum curators said at the opening of the Highway Through History exhibition.

The newest exhibit Anchors Aweigh opened this week.

BLMJ exhibit on Sea Ports of Holy Land

The exhibit is dedicated to seaports and is located downstairs in the museum.

Blue and white Israeli flag at Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem Israel

 Out of the Blue and with its blue threads was the previous exhibit on display in this space.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem exhibit on Ports 1800s

Fifty works of Holy Land seaports from the private collection of Yossi Gilben are on display.

Image of Ashdod port in 1839 BLMJ exhibit

This 1839 lithograph by D. Roberts is of Ashdod. What a contrast to the thriving city and port today.

Lithograph from 1839 of Gaza with soldiers near water in port

Troops heading north to Sidon are depicted in this D. Roberts lithograph, also dated 1839, in Gaza.

BLMJ image of Jaffa SeaPort in 1677

Jaffa was the closest port to Jerusalem. It was not a natural harbor and lacked deep water, so those arriving had to disembark onto small crafts to reach land. It was destroyed in the 13th century after the Crusade-era and remained in ruins for hundreds of years.

In the 15th century as more pilgrims came to the Holy Land they would spend a night or two in the ruins and head for Jerusalem. Finally, in the mid-17th century, the Ottomans allowed a small group of Franciscan monks to settle in Jaffa and care for European pilgrims. Later they were granted permission to establish a hospice.

This engraving by O. Dapper is from 1677 shows the port and citadel, along with some buildings, in German, Ioppen in Palestine.

The other seaports of Ashkelon, Haifa, and Caesarea are included in Gilben’s impressive lithographs and engravings collection which has preserved the past for us to enjoy now.

BLMJ old map that was printed in error with Mediterranean on wrong side

This map placed just outside the main room is from the collection of Batya Borowski.

Incorrect map of coastline of Holy land printers error

Jewish Holy Land with allotments of the 12 tribes in German is the title of the wood engraving by S. Munster (ca. 1550).

It was pointed out to us, that the map with the south on the upper area and the Mediterranean on the right side, was due to a printing error. It seems as back as the early days of printing, even those who honored and yearned for Jerusalem did not always get their facts straight, as they had never been to the Holy Land.

Leonardo DaVinci is featured at the Bloomfield Science Museum.

The Israeli Museum always attracts families during the summer holidays.

It is hot. Streets are almost empty of cars.

But as always good things are happening on and under the Jerusalem, Israel streets as the summer wanes.