Jerusalem Day Continuing Celebrations

Jerusalem Day Continuing Celebrations

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, in Yerushalayim, is usually a special day.

However, this year Jerusalem Day was even more special, for many reasons.

Mazel tov Netta, Mazel toy seat covers on ElAl plane

Netta mania goes on. This photo  was posted of an El Al plane for her trip back to Israel from Eurovision, winning with her song “Not Your Toy.” Notice how mazal tov, became MAZAL TOY. It was one thing for thousands to turn out in Tel Aviv to welcome her back, but I saw a video taken in Lisbon, where thousands were singing along with Netta Barzalai during the song competition, was something else.

Wow, just crazy.

Honor guard with US flag at opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem Israel

And then there was the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. It opened with the presentation of colors by a military honor guard and a room full of US dignitaries.

David Friedman US Ambassador to Israel

US Ambassador David Friedman said, “Jerusalem, Israel” and led a live-streamed ceremony with international media coverage.

We will have to wait to see if babies born to US citizens in Jerusalem, Israel, will have that written on their US passports. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” is what was written until now.

The celebrations, feasts and events with officials for the US Embassy opening are still going on.

Oh, Jerusalem.

View from Tower of David to Mount of Olives Jerusalem Israel

Here is one view of the Mount of Olives on Yom Yerushalayim from the top of the Tower of David.

Actors on Jerusalem Day at Tower of David

The Tower of David, open free of charge on Yom Yerushalayim, is a popular destination for celebrating the holiday. Actors dressed as historical figures, included Golda Meir.

Actors dressed as Ben Gurion and Chaim Weixmann at Tower of David on Jerusalem Day

Ben Gurion and Chaim Weizmann were near the entrance, a day for the young and not so young.

Music event on Jerusalem Day in Tower of David

Hundreds came to hear live music and be greeted by the Mayor of Jerusalem.  Oh and thank you Berman Bakery, for the fresh and free sweets all day.

Israel flag on Churva Synagogue on Jerusalem Day

The Hurva Synagogue was draped with an Israeli flag. After the morning rain, you could see the Dead Sea and Jordan in distance.

Women dressed as Israeli flag on Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem Israel

This woman took the prize for best theme outfit of the day.

Jerusalem Day celebrations on Agron Street in Jerusalem Israel

The enthusiasm, singing, and dancing of the Flag Parade filled Agron Street.

Dancing with Israeli flags on Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem Israel

This group stopped to sing and blow the shofar as they proceeded to the Kotel, Western Wall.

Erick Stakelbeck filming at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem Israel

Watchman star, Erick Stakelbeck. was filming near Jaffa Gate, with the Tower of David in the background.

Watchman Erick Stakelbeck filming near Jaffa Gate.

The crew was ready and the camera started rolling.

Jerusalem Day filming of Watchman episode by Erick Stakelbeck interrupted by boys singing

When a group of young Israelis danced on to the set and scene.  I asked if that was planned and part of the show. It was not.

Jerusalem Day Israeli boys interrupt filming of Watchman episode by Erick Stakelbeck near Jaffa Gate.

But instead of being overly upset, Stakelbeck joined, smiled and danced around for a few minutes.

Jerusalem Day street closings for Flag Parade

Some streets were blocked for the Flag Parade. This year the gathering points and route were somewhat different.

Yes, it is loud, sometimes very loud. But it is not violent, and not only young males with too much testosterone participating.

Families came to walk and watch. All ages are out on the streets. Young Israeli women were on a different and alternate street.

I did not do the whole walk as in past years. With an earlier start time, and threatening weather, the marchers were spread out and the Old City route was not as congested as in past.  Buses from around the country were arriving all afternoon.

Tens of thousands ended the march at the Kotel, Western Wall, at the end of the day as the sun set. Singing and dancing filled the plaza and overflowed.

On Jerusalem Day three Muslim girls walk in Mamilla Mall

With all of that, Arab girls were out shopping in Mamilla Mall.

Two women wearing hijab sit inside Aroma Cafe in Jerusalem Israel Mailla Mall on Jerusalem Day

Two Arab women were sitting in the Mamilla Aroma Cafe.

The violent protests along the southern border from Gaza were distressing and for Nakba Day, there are reports of new violence.

Cherry season in Israel, Machane Yehuda Market

Life may not be a bowl of cherries. But fresh cherries are piled high in the shuk, Machane Yehuda Market.

In areas under Jordanian occupation from 1948-1967, where Jews did not go, on Yom Yerushalayim there was celebrating and dancing on those streets.

There were so many other local and official celebrations, I cannot begin to list them all. The day ended with prizes, more music and fireworks at the Tower of David at night.

The Embassy of Guatemala is opening and the month of Ramadan is starting.

So much happening on Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem 51, Israel 70 and Netta Number1

Jerusalem 51, Israel 70 and Netta Number1

There are a lot of tired people in Jerusalem, Israel this morning.

But how did I miss something so large and so obvious last week?

Welcome sign for Giro d'Italia in pink flowers near Montefiore Windmill

I walked right by this massive welcome sign and did not notice it.

The huge floral welcome sign with pink flowers near the Montefiore Windmill was to welcome last week’s international cycling event.

I walked right by, looking at the street and obsessed with taking photos of Giro d’Italia. 

The riders and crews have moved on to Italy, and now back to ‘normal’?

No way. No down time in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem and Israel large flags on buildings

Last year for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, 50 years since reunification of Jerusalem, there were large flags, special 50 years and US flags flying.

Trump bus in Jerusalem

There were not only huge and many signs posted by the Friends of Zion, there were buses blessing Trump.

United States flag

This week flags were up again along the entrance to Jerusalem.

Israeli and US flags on building before US Embassy open in Jerusalem Israel

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was ready to greet the official US delegation for US Embassy opening in Jerusalem.

Street poster ads for Trump and 12 Points Eurovision

But, besides Yom Yerushalayim and US Embassy opening in Jerusalem, there was Eurovision.

For many Americans, it is hard to understand the appeal, the “music” or the entire event.

Netta Barzali singing at Har Herzl on Independence Day

However, Netta Barzilai who also performed live at Har Herzl for Yom Haatmazut, Independence Day – WON. Israelis stayed up past 2:00 am to watch the results.

Her song “Not Your Toy” was chosen most popular in the voting competition.

The winning country hosts the Eurovision Song Contest the following year. Israel has won 3 times in the past.

So when Netta announced, “Next year in Jerusalem,” even many who hated the song and competition, swelled with pride.

Dream Jerusalem education week sign.

How fitting the signs for this education week in Jerusalem.  Dreams. Do it. Go to school and build on those dreams.

Tours for Jerusalem Day, Zot Yerushalayim

This is Jerusalem, so many faces, free tours and events for Yom Yerushalayim abound, way too many to list.

The US Embassy opening is a closed affair.  It will be live streamed and covered by hundreds of international press who arrived for the historic moment.

Sign for Jerusalem spring events in city parks

However, everyone is invited to celebrate in the city parks.

Yom Yerushalayim may not be observed throughout the world, and even Israelis tend to overlook the day.

But on Shabbat in Jerusalem, 1000 people attended special morning services at the Great Synagogue, where Mayor Nir Barkat was invited to speak.

At night and in the morning, special prayers of praise were sung at the Kotel, Western Wall, Tayalet, and synagogues.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Thankful. Remembering from 1948-1967, this was as close to the Old City as Jews were allowed during 19 years of Jordanian occupation.

Jerusalem reunited, restored, and growing.

To get you in the mood, wherever you are, from last year’s half-century celebration:

Now off to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in Yerushalayaim. 

Jerusalem: Blue, White and Pink

Jerusalem: Blue, White and Pink

After heavy rains, blue skies were seen again over Jerusalem, Israel, by the end of the week.

View of Montefiore Windmill and King David Hotel Jerusalem Israel

Friday morning, in spite of rain in the forecast, the Montefiore Windmill, with King David Hotel in the distance, stood against the blue sky over Mishkanot Sha’ananim.

Blue and white flags over Jerusalem Israel streets

After Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day 70 years, flags did not come down. Even more blue and white flags have been hung in anticipation of Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.

Israel, Jerusalem and Beit Hanasi flags

The new flags that were hung near Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, withstood the heavy rains.

Flag and flowers in Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel

This blue and white Israeli flag was hung on a gate in Yemin Moshe neighborhood.

After heavy rain water collected in site near Begin Center

But also on Friday morning there was evidence of the rain storms. You may have seen a video of water rushing through Yoel Salomon Street, carrying tables and shopping carts in the flooded road.

Stone fence down in Valley of Cross In Jerusalem Israel

Here in the Valley of the Cross, part of a stone fence fell down. I could not believe it the first time I saw the damage. It looks like heavy trucks hit it.

Stone fence down after days of heavy rain in Jerusalem

However, it appears two days of water flooding down the hill from the Rechavia neighborhood pushed over the old stones, and flattened the tall grass.

Memorial candles for 10 drowned students in flash flood in Negev

A flash flood in the south took the lives of 10 young Israelis. Memorial candles remain this week in Zion Square after a late night memorial gathering.

Two men washing traffic lights in Jerusalem

So after so much water, crews were out power washing traffic lights?

Flowers at Jerusalem intersection in butterfly frame

These flowers seemed to appreciate the soaking. Nearby in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, a large tree that fell was removed quickly.

NFNY cyclists on road in Jerusalem

In spite of the weather, professional cyclists were out on Friday morning for the Grand Fondo, GFNY.  Streets were closed for the cycling event.

But, their colors were green.

Pink?

Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria lobby flowers are pink orchids

Pink orchids in the lobby of the Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria are not unusual.

Waldorf Astoria entrance with Israel Cycling Academy bus outside

But the Giro d’Italia is based at the hotel, and the bus of the Israel Cycling Academy was waiting outside.

Jerusalem Waldorf Astoria pink for Giro d'Italia

Not only has the hotel gone pink for the Giro d’Italia, check out those shoe laces – pink.

The Giro d’Itaia is the 3rd largest sporting event in world, after the World Cup and Tour de France.

The first start ever outside of Europe is taking place in — Jerusalem, Israel!

Kikar Safra for Giro d'Italia and Yom Yerushahaliym

Kikar Safra has large blue and white flags on display, plus pink signs near the giant stage set for Thursday evening’s preview opening.

Press conference for Israel Cycling Academy at Waldorf Astoria for Giro d'Iatalia

The Israel Cycling Academy includes professional cyclists from 16 locations around the world. Eight professional riders met with the media.

Their success in a only a few years is impressive. More here and next week on Giro d’Italia.

Jerusalem Education Week

Also in Jerusalem, new signs are up for education week.

lag B'Omer bonfire in Jerusalem, Israel

Finally, one of my favorite scenes from this week. A group of parents were out in the evening supervising an early Lag B’Omer medurah in an area set aside for large bonfires.

Lag B’Omer with its huge fires should fill the air with smoke starting Wednesday night at sunset.

However, this year, though there was so much rain last week, it is hot and dry today. A ban on bonfires has been declared.

Rain is again in the forecast. The only thing for sure here, is that there is no sure thing.

Projects for sustainability for Jerusalem

New signs announcing events for “Creating Sustainability in Jerusalem” were posted.  Cycling and fewer bonfires are a start.

Jerusalem street signs for cycling events

Many residents are not happy with street closings for the cycling events. But I hope people will get out and appreciate the positive world attention focused on Israel as billions watch the Giro d’Italia Start in Jerusalem, going north and then down to Eilat.

There was so much more happening this week in Jerusalem, but enough for now.

Hard to believe that next week will there will be much more happening.