9 New Holiday Scenes in Jerusalem

 Jerusalem, Israel,

is old and new and constantly changing.

These birds flying over the ancient walls of the Old City

Jerusalem migrating birds

are migrating as they have for centuries,

though those powerful lights are new.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Israel new window display

The Waldorf-Astoria has new window displays.

Jerusalem Israel sunset view

New towers are being built,

 the Jerusalem skyline is changing.Mamilla Mall view at sunset from near Jaffa Gate

At the David Citadel Hotel, those white things in the distance

are balconies being prepared for Sukkot holiday meals.

View of Jaffa Gate from outside Jerusalem Israel

I was at Jaffa Gate at sunset

and looked up at the Tower of David,

Tower of David, Jerusalem Israel Old City

to see something new on top.

That is a special cork sukka designed as part of the

 3rd Jerusalem Jewish Contemporary Art Biennale,

by artist Avner Sher.

At the Jaffa Gate below there is nothing new,

Keporos at Old City with live bird

just this man performing the kapparot ritual

moving around a live chicken.

Man waving bird over head of two women for Keporos at Jaffa Gate Jerusalem

These women did not look as comfortable with

the ancient custom to absolve one’s sins before Yom Kippur.

Jerusalem Old City train for tourist to Western Wall

The new Old City Train was ready bright and ready to go.

Lights of new food places above Cardo in Old City Jerusalem Israel

Here are two new bright signs above the Old Cardo.

Jerusalem Israel new sound and light show City of David

The City of David has a new sound and light show.

Jewish second temple stone found in excavation under site of new police station

This decorative stone from the Second Temple is a new find

 by archaeologists near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

I went to the Old City before Yom Kippur,

Western Wall selihos booklet for late night Selihot at the Kotel.

Synagogue Old City Sephardi

While the synagogues were quiet that night,

New police station and roof of building near Kotel for selihot

from the new observation spot above the

new police station building

Western Wall Plaza full of people for sehlhos after midnight

the crowd stretched further than my lens could capture.

Kotel for Selihot 5778 Jerusalem Old City Israel

Tens of thousands of people kept arriving

though it was well after midnight.

Women at Kotel for Selichot 5778

Would selfies at the Kotel be considered new?

Jerusalem Israel Old City view of Western Wall and dome of Rock at night

The dome and wall are certainly not new,

but always impressive sight lit up at night,

so late that no transportation was in sight.

For the last time this year,

Bus from Old City with sign Gmara Hatima Tova

here is a bus with the Yom Kippur greeting,

“Gmar Hatima tova”

“May you be sealed for a good year.”

Now that is old too.

As soon as Yom Kippur ended in Jerusalem,

Jerusalem Israel sukka on a balcony

sukkot started popping up.

If you would like to not only see the Kotel scene,

but hear a bit of the selihot prayer,

I am sharing this short video:

Now it is time to prepare for new holiday and guests.

חג שמח

Chag sameach.

Jerusalem Streets, Below and from Above

Jerusalem Streets, Below and from Above

It has been a hot and tense week

in Jerusalem, Israel.

On my visit to the Old City

Jerusalem Israel metal detectors

I had to go through metal detectors.

Jerusalem Israel Old City metal detectors

 They are at every entrance to the Western Wall Plaza.

These metal detectors have been in place for years

and they have not been removed.

Millions have passed through metal detectors,

often after waiting for long periods of time in line,

with no riots that I know of.

Last week during a heat wave,

while Muslims were protesting and rioting,

Group of tourists from Africa on Western Wall Plaza

a group of African tourists came to the Kotel,

the Western Wall, as on any other regular day.

Over Jerusalem’s 3,000 year history,

it has been built and destroyed and rebuilt,

which is evident in the multiple layers found underground.

Notice the white fence in background of above photo?

Archaeological excavations behind Western Wall Plaza

Behind it archaeologists have carried out this excavation.

Dig down. You will find more history revealed.

Security in Jerusalem, Israel Old City Western Wall Plaza

While on the streets security was tense,

Model of Building Temple in Jerusalem

below in the Western Wall Tunnels

we saw a model of how the Second Temple

was constructed on a flat base over the foundation stone.

Western Wall tunnels under Jerusalem streets

Thousands of people have come to see the tunnels.

Western Wall tunnel excavations

Constant discoveries are being revealed,

Water of mikvah in Western Wall tunnel excavation

such as a mikvah, ritual bath,

from the time of King Herod.

Jerusalem, Israel Western Wall tunnel large room for public viewing

One large room shows multiple layers of stones

from various conquerors of Jerusalem over the centuries.

Jerusalem has so much history hidden under your feet.

Under what was once a parking lot near the Old City Walls

houses uncovered in excavation by Ir David

is today an excavation revealing what lay beneath the pavement.

Ir David, the City of David,

poster for night show in City of David

has posters for a new night-time show,

Developed City of David in Jerusalem Israel

to be held in its new seating area.

The City of David is located just outside the walls of Old City.

Excavation in City of David

This layer of blackened, destroyed homes

has been carbon dated to the time of the fall of the First Temple.

My friend got down to get a close up,

Idol found in ruins of house collapsed by destruction of Jerusalem

but I was more fascinated by this idol,

perhaps left over from the escape from Egypt,

which was found in the ruins.

So many coins and treasures, and history,

Arab woman walking in Silwan near Ir David

are hidden under these streets.

Excavation of new entrance to Western Wall Plaza

One day this street will be a major attraction.

Important Pilgrim path from Shiloah Pond to Har Habayit and Temple Mount

The “stepped street” has not been open to the public.

It is the route of the ancient pilgrims bringing offerings

to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem,

and one day is to be

Entrance of Old City from Ir David to Temple Mount

the new entrance to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

From the top of the Aish HaTorah building

we see above the Western Wall Plaza.

View of Temple Mount and Western Wall from Aish Hatorah

On the right is the Mughrabi Bridge,

the only entrance for non-Muslims to the Temple Mount,

Jerusalem Israel view of Muraghbi bridge

where you will note,

security cameras are still very much in place.

View of AlAqsa Mosque from roof of Aish Hatorah

Al-Aqsa Mosque was quiet that day,

though the calls to Muslim prayers filled the air.

Jerusalem Israel Old City model to Second Temple on roof of Aish Hatorah overlooking Dome of Rock

Past a model of the Second Temple,

one can see the gold paint of the Dome of the Rock.

You may see photos of rioting on the streets,

but under the streets history is also unfolding.

Sometimes what you can not see is more encouraging

that what is happening above.

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

Jerusalem Streets Closed for Maccabiah Runners

In the first six months of this year,

Israel saw a record number of tourists.

That confirms my saying there have been

so many tour buses on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

This week also felt like a new record in the making.

No sooner had the Prime Minister of India left,

that the President of Rwanda arrived,

followed by the Irish Foreign Minister.

I thought someone made a mistake in the official guest book,

Israel President's official gust book

but the calligraphy was ready and waiting for the next guest.

I feel sorry for the person in charge of flags,

trying to keep the correct ones up for each official delegation.

But not just tourists and international delegations

have arrived in record numbers.

The World Maccabiah sports competitions are being held

from July 4- July 17, 2017.

10,000 athletes, from 80 countries,

compete for medals in Jerusalem and around the country.

Maccabiah flags were displayed outside of Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s official residence

 for a meeting of World Maccabiah delegates with

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Flags for Maccabiah outside Beit Hanasi in gardens with man representing South Korea sitting on ground

South Korea was represented by this man competing in Judo.

Most people were wearing regular clothing

Australia at Maccabiah at Beir Hanasi

but these Australians wore Maccabi shirts,

and stopped long enough to pose for a photo.

Children choir from Beer Sheva at Beit Hanasi for Maccabiah

The beautiful voices of a children’s choir group

from Beer Sheva provided entertainment,

between the effusive and positive speeches.

Attention was given to break of protocol when

 President Rivlin hugged the Indian Prime Minister.

But after the official photo with leaders of World Maccabiah,

the President again broke protocol

and walked to the back of the room

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin meets with Maccabiah

to take selfies with members of the Maccabiah group.

The affection and excitement was impressive.

US Olympic swimmers Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg for Maccabiah at Israeli President House

Also impressive were

Jason Lezack and Lenny Krayzelberg,

USA gold Olympic medalists.

And much less familiar swimmers,

Maccabiah swimmer from Suriname at Israeli president residence for Maccabiah

like Yigal Kopinsky of Suriname.

I could go on and on with the interesting countries

and delegates from Puerto Rico, Barbados, and more.

But I want to share what happened on the Jerusalem streets

with tens of thousands participating,

not just a few special individuals.

For the Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run,

runners in Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run Emek Refaim Street

streets were closed as tens of thousands of runners,

took 5 or 10-K or half-marathon routes.

Hundreds were taking photos and selfies with phones,

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run runner with a camera

but this was first time I have seen a runner

participating in a race with such a serious camera.

Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

Near the end of the routes

which went back toward the starting line,

Jerusalem Israel Maccabiah Night Run

runners turned toward the Old City.

runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night run

A  friend waved on her way back to Jaffa Gate.

Runners Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run shower near end of route

A cool shower was waiting near the finish line.

For Jerusalem, it was a hot night.

Street closed due to Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The final stretch was past the Old City Walls

where spectators waited to cheer runners on,

Light projection on Walls of Old City

with the 50-years unification of Jerusalem light show

playing in the background.

People taking a selfie photo at end of Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run

The smiles at the finish line next to Mamilla Mall –

were priceless.

The Maccabiah sports range from golf, with one male playing,

to ice hockey in new Jerusalem rink,

to bridge, and of course tennis and swimming.

And chess,

where Natan Sharansky played 20 opponents,

at the same time.

He won 17 games and tied 3 others.

Some make light of these “Jewish Olympics”

but Jason Lezack representing the athletes, spoke beautifully.

I think his words are important enough to share:

 

For additional photos:

Maccabiah 2017   HERE

and   Night Run    HERE