Jerusalem, Israel, Rain or Shine is Home

The year 2018 got off to a wet start.

Prayers for rain in Jerusalem, Israel,

were answered.

Rain poured down, the streets flooded,

and the cold and wet winter arrived.

Wet sidewalks outside Ramada Hotel as man walks away without coat.

It was a good to be in and not outside.

Oh and the fog!

Fog covering Jerusalem buildings.

When fog sets in it can be so thick

Sunset, lights go on and fog clears Jerusalem Israel rainy day

you cannot see large buildings nearby.

I know we need rain desperately,

but I prefer to be out when the sun is shining.

Mincha minyin in Mamilla Mall street

I like to see those impromptu prayer services,

anytime of the afternoon, anywhere,

in parks and here in Mamilla Mall.

People walking in Jerusalem Israel Mamilla Mall past Arab women sitting in cafe

I like to watch people walking in Mamilla Mall,

Jerusalem Israel two nuns walking along street near Kikar Safra

or on any Jerusalem, Israel street.

One can see a bit of every fashion,

Man smoking on Ben Yehuda wearing red Santa helper hat

though I am not sure what fashion statement

this man sitting and smoking on Ben Yehuda

was making by wearing a red Santa helper hat.

Street graffiti in Jerusalem Israel near city center

I like to find new street graffiti.

Jerusalem WeWork building construction

And I like to see work progressing

on the future home of Jerusalem WeWork.

Entrance to major Jerusalem construction at city entrance

We will have to wait to see how much we like

the massive construction project near the entrance to Jerusalem.

You can see here how far it is going down

before the buildings start to go up and up.

This week across the highway, the Ramada Hotel hosted the

WZO’s International Conference for Rabbis and Communal leaders.

There were dozens of speakers

and representatives from 40 countries.

With unrest all around the Middle East

Rabbis and community leaders at Ramada Hotel for WZO conference in Jerusalem Israel

it is easy to overlook the wonder that

this conference was held in Hebrew.

So many are learning Torah in Hebrew in Israel today.

The population is approaching 9 million.

Walk on along Jerusalem streets you will hear

English, French, Russian and Spanish along with Hebrew.

With corruption and strikes and strife,

incredible things have developed in 70 years.

With all those negative headlines around the world,

Israel is growing.

This past week I saw this traditional blessing for a home,

Traditional blessing for new home in Hebrew and English

“May this home be a place of happiness and health,

of contentment, generosity, and hope. A home of 

creativity and kindness. May those who visit and

those who live here know only blessing and peace.”

It was hanging near the front door on a new home

for female lone soldiers in Jerusalem.

7,000 young people, from around the world,

are in Israel, serving in the defense forces,

30% of them young women.

Female lone soldiers in special residence in Jerusalem group hug "Mom" counselor in charge

After the opening day dedication program,

six of the young soldiers surrounded

and hugged their “Mom.”

Rachel, the counselor is on duty 24/7 to help and advise

these young women without parents around to support them.

Head of the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

Josh Flaster looks on with pride.

Sign of Home, love, memories, friends and laughter

Jerusalem, Israel, rain or shine is home.

Hanukkah Highlights From Jerusalem

Hanukkah Highlights From Jerusalem

Hanukkah highlights.

It is both easy and hard to write this post every year.

Finding something new?

That is easy.

 Unusual menorah in Jerusalem Israel on Hanukkah

Look up and see a lit hanukia, Hanukkah menorah,

in a new and unusual location.

This year there were flags

 Beit Hanasi ready for Hanukah and US VP Pence

flying high above the hanukia outside Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s Residence.

US flags were hung along with the hanukia street decorations,

United States, Israel and Jerusalem flags near Israel President residence

ready for the visit of US Vice-President Pence.

The visit was postponed until next month,

and those extra flags were removed.

God Bless Trump posters in Jerusalem Israel

Dozens of these blue signs remained.

Plus, there is a full-size bus covered with this message,

but I’m sorry, it went by so fast I missed the photo.

Trump’s speech on Jerusalem was a distraction for some,

but for most, the eight days of Hanukkah

Chanukia for seventh night

involved lighting a personal hanukia at home.

On the last night of Hanukkah,

 tens of thousands arrived in the Old City

Performer with fir torches on Hanukkah at Jaffa Gate

to see performers with torches on fire

Jaffa Gate on Hanukkah in Old City Jerusalem Israel

and special lights at Jaffa Gate.

Hanukkah dreydels as decoration in Old City

Spinning dreydels were a favorite new decoration.

Hundreds of tour groups worked their way slowly through

the narrow alleyways of the Old City.

Jerusalem Israel Hanukkah lights on street

A photo-op of a man sitting by his candles

Chanukiot in window in Old City

or windows up above the streets,

caused the crowds to slow to a standstill.

Lights on Hurva Synagogue on Hanukkah night Jerusalem

In the Jewish Quarter, the Hurva Synagogue was lit up.

A constant flow of people came and went

Kossel on Hanukka 5778

to and from the Kotel,

the Western Wall Plaza, during holidays.

Jerusalem, Israel on Hanukkah 5778

As every year the large hanukia,

 is a photo highlight.

Old City lighting of menorah in costume as Jewish Temple priests

This was one photo I was not anticipating,

a re-enactment of the Jewish Temple priests lighting the Temple menorah.

Chanuka candles, oil menorahs for Hanukka

At classic spots, it was hard to get a clear shot,

as cell phone cameras were in use by the thousands.

Wall in Old City with light projection with Macabbe features

One wall had a projection of the Macabees in days of old.

Mamilla Mall Hanukkah ceremony

The crowds at Mamilla Mall for lighting were impressive.

Hundreds came each night,

 the recent warnings of danger did not affect enthusiasm.

Tourists from near and far gathered to celebrate

the last night of Hanukkah.

Only the warm weather seemed out of the ordinary.

Parade of Habad hanukiot in Jerusalem Israel

These Habad vans were part of a convoy,

pulling large electric hanukiot.

Too bad I did not get a good position for a video,

large colorful chanukia in Jerusalem part of Chabad show

they changed colors as the music blasted.

Habad has brought the lights of Hanukkah

out to main streets all around the world.

But in Jerusalem, and around Israel,

there is more than candles and oil lights.

Special suffganiot, those fried decorated donuts

Hanukka donuts in store window in Old City

filled store window displays,

and were consumed by the millions.

See that little hand reaching for one more?

For one last time until next year,

Hebrew sign on bus in Jerusalem Israel Old City

Happy Hanukkah.

Eight Days of Hanukkah: Not Enough in Jerusalem

Eight Days of Hanukkah: Not Enough in Jerusalem

Hanukkah time in Jerusalem, Israel,

is always a busy time of year.

This past week the world has had Jerusalem

in its headlines after US President Trump acknowledged

Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

US flags flying in Israel on street where US consulate is located.

US, Israeli and Jerusalem flags

were flying on Agron Road

along the street of the US consulate building.

No photos are allowed of that building,

so this corner view of the

Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria will have to do.

Old city walls of Jerusalem Israel seen from King David Hotel with US, Israel and EU flags near pool

The Israeli, US, and EU flags were on display behind

the King David Hotel with

 the walls of Old City in the background.

Chanukia on display in Mamilla Mall as people walk under in mall

Hanukkah menorahs are placed in hundreds of locations.

Choir performs at Hanukkah performance for grandparents in Gush Etzion Efrat

Thousands of school performances

large, and not-so-epic, have been held.

So what about the “tense” situation?

On road to Efrat red warning Israel prohibiting Israelis to enter way to Bethlehem

Those red signs and IDF security posts

are the norm for the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Muslim woman and child in Liberty Bell Park in Jeremiahs Israel

Parks may be a little less crowded,

but I did not find the that the “situation”

was much different than usual.

There are neighborhoods of New York,

Washington, DC, and Chicago,

I would never walk through,

and where driving can be dangerous.

The Tower of David Museum opened a new exhibit,

A General and a Gentleman

Allenby at the Gates of Jerusalem;

there was no way I was going to miss this event in the Old City.

Macabees to Allenby poster

Since the viewing Balfour-Allenby Exhibit

at the Israel National Library,

I have anxiously awaited December 11, 2017.

December is an important month for religious holidays.

Exhibit in Tower of David Museum for 100 years Allenby

Hanukiot are on display,

text description Allenby

this photo has the explanation.

There are dozens of original photos.

Keep in mind that World War I was first time soldiers

had cameras on the battlefield.

Not exactly Facebook live, but they captured memories

now frozen in time for over 100 years.

Three photos were ordered destroyed for proper procedure of British Narrative of war

The collection of authentic items and research is impressive.

Three official photos from the series are missing;

they were destroyed as they did not fit the British war narrative.

The exhibit runs until the fall of 2018,

but on December 11, 1917,

General Edmund Allenby entered through Jaffa Gate

to an impoverished Jerusalem.

100 years after actor dressed as General Allenby enters Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Israel

Actors recreated the event,

and thousands of spectators, local and international,

Actor as General Allenby on steps of Tower of David Museum

crowded in to watch the reenactment of the original ceremony.

‘General Allenby’ spoke, and his heirs who came from England

joined local dignitaries, past and present.

Thousands were in the streets of the Old City,

without violence – so not news.

But about that rusty key of the city,

Actors Allenby and Lawrence of Arabia at Tower of David Museum after reenactment holding key

Mayor Nir Barkat did not keep it.

Allenby took it out of his pocket as he spoke to

Lawrence of Arabia after the program

inside Tower of David.

Facebook photos of A General and A Gentleman

Street sign in Hebrew for Chaukkah event in Jerusalem

Here’s hoping people will not miss the multitude of events

Poster in Hebrew for Hanukkah event in Old City Jerusalem Israel

 planned this week in Jerusalem.

School is out.

Museums are free for children.

Too many events to list, but here is a link

to some of the Jerusalem Hanukkah events.

Menorah for Channuka on roof top in Jerusalem Israel

From Cinema City to Safra Sqaure to Yes Planet,

look up and look around.

There is, as usual, too much to do on Hanukkah.

In Jerusalem, eight days are not enough.

חנוכה שמח

Happy Hannukah!

Hebrew sign on bus in Jerusalem Israel Old City

Time to get going,

the first day is almost over.