Ready for Hanukkah or Chanukah in Jerusalem

What a week this has been.

From as far away as Sydney, Australia,

we hear that an armed man “claiming political motivations”

took hostages,

sometimes

image clouds

 something as simple as the cloud formations

against a blue sky can be appreciated.

Last Friday, coming from the Gush to Jerusalem, Israel,

we stopped for a traffic light.

The same as we have done many times.

That signal was installed after many traffic accidents.

image security

We saw this police vehicle blocking our view,

and we heard a man scream, then he was down on the road.

Israeli soldiers

As the security forces arrived in force,

it was clear this was no simple accident.

Acid (yes, vinegar is an acid!) was splashed on Israelis

by a terrorist and he had run to this spot.

I had been looking for cars involved,

but it was stopped a few meters away.

We got through quickly,

as the traffic in the other direcion stopped and backed up.

 I sit here now,

watching a live news feed of a cafe in Australia,

under threat by a person with an ISIS flag.

We cannot be sure when or what will happen next!

Meanwhile,

חנוכה

menorah

Hanukkah is coming.

After finally deciding to spell it as spell check goes,

the Government Press Office is using Chanukah this year.

Oh well, people are getting their chanukiot, menorahs

ready to light.

Chanukaih, street lights Jeryusalem

As always I love the streets lights,

and signs filling the streets.

banner in Hebrew for Hanukkah

“A Great miracle happened here.”

The school holiday is shortened this year,

but the school extravaganza productions

are bigger and better and longer than ever.

donuts

Suffganiot, millions of all types of donuts and

fried foods will be consumed over the eight nights.

strawberries

But also strawberry season has begun

and the markets are filled with the sweet red berries.

Happy Hanukkah,

image hanukah semach on bus, picture Hanukkah in Israel, , photo egged bus sign for holiday

Chanukah sameach

however you spell it,

the first candle is tomorrow night.

Jerusalem after Rain, Violence, and Politics

First it was the pouring rain that kept people off the streets.

Then the headlines of stabbings and violence

 kept the Jerusalem, Israel, streets quieter.

Yesterday there was a double stabbing in a supermarket,

one in which Arabs work and shop along with Jews every day.

image jerusalem street

But when the heavy rains stopped and skies cleared,

people were still going to Ben Yehudah Mall.

image school Israel

At the gated and guarded campus of the religious college Machon Lev,

young men went to study science and technical courses.

image park

Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park,

was a vision of tranquility.

cleared land for new libraty

And after the rain, green covered the cleared plot of land

for the new National Library building,

with the Knesset in the background across the street.

And a little further down on the side of the busy road,

man next to van putting on tefillin

a man was getting ready to recite his morning prayers.

Begin Highway

 Traffic was light on the Begin Highway,

building

but clouds were heavy in sky above.

Not all was violent on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

However, going back to biblical times,

there have been stories of abuse and violence,

even within the Jewish community.

This week over three very full days,

hotel lobby

an International Conference was held dealing with those issues.

Hopefully this gathering of professionals and rabbis,

will be an important step on the way to reducing abuse and violence,

at least in some Jewish communities.

Hebrew sign

Meanwhile, a new music festival is planned on Gaza,

Azza Street that is.

It is called Go to Azza,

with music and arts for young people.

Now that should be something to see.

And remember,

tonight is the start of Hamshushalayim,

photo sign colorful

hundreds of Jerusalem events and locations

over long weekends this month

at reduced prices.

Violence and politics, but much more too.

Hanukkah Lights are Up

  Election politics are filling the airways and newscasts,

Hamukkah in Israel

but the Hanukkah lights

are up along major roads in Jerusalem, Israel,

I think many prefer those lights to new election.

Shabat Shalom: Bitter and Sweet

Recently on Fridays,

there has been a simple Shabat Shalom poster,

but this was not a simple week,

this was a difficult week.

Har Nof

The walls in Har Nof were plastered with mourning posters.

On Thursday the streets were mostly empty and quiet,

the air was so clean, but it felt heavy.

image Har Nof

Cars filled the street in front of the synagogue,

where five men were murdered.

The shiva houses were overflowing, with standing room only.

Those paying sympathy could only walk by the mourners,

and some who knew the families said a word or two.

Many who came did not know either victim or their family personally.

I could not look at the couch filled with young boys

who had just lost their father in such a horrific way.

Instead of revenge one widow told me,

“we cannot change the Arabs,

but we have to change ourselves.”

They want unity of the Jewish people

and an end of sinat chinum.

Then,

Sigd 018b

as we drove home past Gan Sacher, Sacher Park,

image Jerusalem Park

we saw a large group of young people who were enjoying a sports day.

image Jerusalem part

The weather was perfect for a family outing.

New security in Jerusalem, Israel after Arab murders

A balloon hovered above the Begin Center,

where Yehudah Glick was recently shot,

as segway riders went by on their tour,

image segway

and the next tour was getting ready in First Station.

image Hebrew sign

  A new sign announced an organic food market to open in the tourist location,

image First Station

but First Station was deserted at lunch time,

a sad sign of the events of this week.

But,

banner of Sigd celebration on Tayelet

at the same time on Haas Promenade in Armon Hanaziv

tens of thousands of Ethiopians gathered for

their Sigd Holiday celebration.

Sigd 102b

Old

image man with Old City in background

and young

Ethiopian girls in IDF unifroms

and many more each year wearing IDF uniforms.

tayelet for Sigd

They enjoyed the weather and the day on the Tayelet.

 A beautiful day

image Sigd

for many family reunions,

Ethiopian family at Sigd

food and photos.

image Israel flag

Thousands celebrated just being in Jerusalem, Israel.

To end this crazy week,

we were at a simhat bat brunch today,

to celebrate birth of a new baby girl.

Besorot tovot were everyone’s parting words.

שבת שלום

Shabbat shalom.

Jerusalem Terror Too Close to Home

Monday it was raining and pouring 

and puddles of dirty water filled the streets.

image rain and baby in stroller

The stormy weather kept many people inside.

Where is the one place to find a crowd

no matter what the weather?

A synagogue in a religious neighborhood at morning prayers:

 it is a sure thing.

Third intifada or not,

Tuesday’s pools of blood from the horrific murders

filled a Jerusalem, Israel, synagogue, spilling into the streets.

I will refrain from sharing those photos,

as my friend Varda wrote on that topic.

 I posted in Israellycool yesterday,

the extended family of Rav Moshe Twersky z”l has been important

image Rabbi Moshe Twersky murdered by terroists

to us for more years than I want to count.

I prefer to share photos of victims we want to remember.

After I wrote that,

we found out yet another connection to the victims.

Looking through mainstream media accounts,

one sees photos of the butchering murderers,

but not even the names of the victims.

Sometimes it feels as though there are no degrees of separation.

We had the privilege of being present

at the engagement and wedding,

of Rav Kalman Levine’s z”l daughter.

image kalman levine

And in the same building where he was murdered,

Rav Kalman Levine z”l had the joy of celebrating

the brit milah of a grandson in May 2012.

Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky z”l was originally from Detroit,

and moved to Har Nof from Kiryat Arba many years ago.

Avraham Shmuel Goldberg z”l was originally from Liverpool.

Today there was news of a fifth fatality,

the Israeli policeman who was first to arrive at the crime scene,

Zidan Sayif, who was a member of the Druze community

and also a young father.

Howie Rothman, originally from Canada,

is in a coma, having barely survived an ax attack to his head.

The family of Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila asked for Tehillim,

prayers for his recovery and the other victims.

Not all is good on the real streets.

image restaurant that was bombed

A new security guard stands alert at the entrance

to this popular cafe spot, next to the sign

marking the spot where these people were killed by a suicide bomber.

image of Hebrew sign

 The celebration for new Olim was held,

sorry I was not able to attend and share it with you.

However, today a new group of 58 immigrants

arrived from the United States.

These olim have chosen to make Israel,

 their new home.

They can join us in offering the traditional words

of comfort to mourners:

המקום  ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

Besorot tovot

is a popular expression heard this week,

with everyone looking for good news.

But when will Arab media stop inciting violence?

Balancing on a Tightrope

We moved to Jerusalem, Israel in August,

that hot time of year when the windows are open all night.

For weeks, when I heard noises in the night of firecrackers and gun shots,

I would run to the window to see what was happening:

another Arab wedding, another party, another random celebration.

It took awhile, but I eventually stopped listening and looking.

On Friday night there were noises again,

but this time I got up out of bed to look.

I saw nothing, all was quiet.

Around Israel 6 people have been killed in less than a month,

by the terrible “car intifada” and “knife intifada” attacks.

I try not to be political here at RJS,

but incitement has been fueled and fed for a long time.

However,

image sunny day in Jerusalem  Israel

most of Jerusalem is quiet

Yet everyone is watching carefully for what could be next.

image Tzomat Hagush bus stop

This man dressed in white at Tzomet Hagush bus stop

got more than a second glance from a passing police car.

Last Friday Abu Mazen called for a “Day of Rage.”

image men playing music on street

But the music for Einstein on Azza played on,

as hundreds of people listened to university lectures

and gathered in restaurants,

image people at street cafe

including music at this location, 100 meters from the Prime Minister’s residence,

where 11 people were killed and 54 injured

by a suicide bomber in 2002.

image boys window shopping in Mamilla Mall

In Mamilla Mall you could window shop and dream.

image people walking to old city by Jaffa gate

 Jaffa Gate looked the same,

only the beigele sellers were missing.

people walking in old city

Inside Jaffa Gate people were out,

image going into arab shuk

with extra security entering the Arab shuk.

Image western wall plaza entrance

But huge  protests and rage were hard to find,

as this security team was more interested in checking their cell hones.

image Kossel plaza

Certainly police and lots of other security personnel were visible

around the Western Wall plaza.

image women in colorful clothing at kotel

Fewer visitors made it easier to get a place to pray by the Wall.

I heard noises coming from Silwan,

image Arab boy on roof top

and found boys on the roof tops looking for the source:

firecrackers, tear gas shots or real bullets?

But there were no reports of serious incidents there.

Perfect weather in the fall is the time to be outside,

and not inside these old stone buildings that do not warm up.

image Liberty Bell Park

The Liberty Bell Park was empty.

Usually on Fridays the park is filled with Arab families picnicking,

image a bird in empty Gan Paamon playground

and the playground filled with Arab women and children.

They should be raging – that they are stuck inside on a glorious day,

leaving the playground for the birds.

image new Hebrew sign

In Jerusalem, there is a new cinema,

image Jerusalem road

new roads,

image Jerusalem new bridge at Malha Mall

 new walkway to cross from Malha Mall to Teddy Stadium,

image new park in Jerusalem

and new park nearby under construction.

image oud festival

And now is the annual Oud Festival time celebrating Arab music.

Today I followed two young men speaking Arabic.

They went into same building I did, to their bank.

One was wearing an Israeli army backpack.

image of Hebrew sign

Signs celebrating “Aliyah for Everyone ” are up near the Jerusalem Theater.

New immigrants are arriving in November,

to add the the strange mix of old and new that is Jerusalem, Israel.