The Passover holiday has ended in Jerusalem, Israel, and around the world.
When we awoke on Sunday morning, the Knesset building was shrouded by the dense haze/sand in the air. Not a favorite sight to photograph.
Even with the indoor mask law lifted last night, I would advise wearing one outside today on the Jerusalem streets!
But before we move on to the Yoms, starting with Yom HaShoah on Wednesday night, there were special scenes of this past week I want to share.
The wall of Jerusalem’s Old City near Jaffa Gate was lit up at night with a colorful Pesach Sameach, Happy Passover greeting for the week.
As the holiday was to begin, windows had to be closed to keep out the smoke from the burning of chametz, as the last bread or pasta was taken out of the house and burned in countless fires around Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem streets were quieter than usual, with less construction going on over the holiday period.
The excited sounds of tourists returning were pleasant to hear instead.
The Kotel, Western Wall, was the main attraction for most visitors.
There was a tour group at the egalitarian section when I was there.
The main Birchat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, was held twice to accommodate more people with less crowding, the same as last year.
The damage caused to Al Aqsa Mosque by rioting thugs was evident in the broken windows you can see above. On another night of rioting, their firebombs caused an old olive tree on the Temple Mount to catch fire. Meanwhile, after Israeli security cleared the area, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were able to pray there peacefully for Ramadan.
Security was on higher alert and patrolling strategic locations.
This woman became a favorite when she bent down to explain to her young daughter not to be scared since the security was there to protect her.
The magnificent horses of the security patrols are always a favorite, even better when all they have to do is sit and watch the crowd.
Holiday music along the Jerusalem streets is also a favorite sight and sound.
You know the visitors are back when the port-a-johns are on the move.
Is a Greek flag on your mask a good sign of security for this Greek official out and about with his son?
Good to see these usually closed doors along the Armenian Road wide open.
Jerusalem streets require a protest sign, and this one is against the internet.
Some of the days of Passover were hot, others cold, but on one hot day the Iriyia, Jerusalem Municipality, gave out bottles of water that were much appreciated.
Multiple places in the old city sold bottled water, but along s main walking route to the Kotel, one family was giving away water to those who stopped and recited the appropriate blessing.
A hot day means if you don’t drink it’s easy to dehydrate. Also, it is a danger to slip on the stone Jerusalem streets that can be as slippery as ice. Emergency response teams were ready to provide aid and transport those in need to hospitals.
Food. So many restaurants were open for Passover observant visitors.
Jerusalem streets were cleaned up over the Passover holiday, with more than the usual runs to keep up with all the extra waste.
The art was back in Mamilla Mall. This piece was designed to encourage people to watch their speech and avoid Lashon Hara, talking badly of others.
There were tours and special programs for families at the museum and tourist sites as usual, but not many tourists found this Jerusalem art fair.
Tucked away behind the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, on the entrance street, only one lone cat was near the feeding station the day I went to check it out.
On Wednesday of Passover, in the evening there was a controversial Flag March. I went to check it out for myself and decided to share this short video to show the real Jerusalem streets.
As usual, thousands are peaceful, and only the few trouble makers make the news photos and headlines.
The Temple Mount is closed to Jews until after Ramadan, which ends with Eid al-Fitr on May 3 and 4, 2022. The Druze are celebrating Nabi Shu’eib in memory of the Prophet Jethro. And today is Orthodox Easter Sunday, with a major ceremony “Holy Fire” held yesterday in the Old City.
Until the dirt clears from the air, I am content to stay inside and pack up the Passover dishes once again.
As every year, we concluded the Pesach seder with “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
How is this Passover different than all other Passovers?
Passing people while walking on the Jerusalem streets, I think they look familiar. However, I am not certain if I know them from 20 years ago, 2 years ago, from online meetups, or if they look like their parents?
As the sun came out over the Jerusalem streets, people returned to Jerusalem’s Old City by Jaffa Gate – in spite of terrorist threats and rioters.
In every generation, they rise against us to annihilate us. שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותנו
But the Holy One, Blessed is He, rescues us from their hand. והקודש ברוך הוא מצילנו מידם
Not my words, but from the Passover Hagadah, from the paragraph that begins – והיא שעמדה – which we recite year after year at the Passover seder.
First, the different look at Jaffa Gate, lovely at night with new lighting.
For the first time, an international food festival was held outside the walls of the Old City the nights before Passover. The array of different kosher cuisine, beginning with the US and burgers near the Tower of David was impressive.
Tables and chairs were placed at the food venues for patrons to sit and eat. I was amused by the signs ‘not to sit on the rocks’ which were covered by the fabric.
Entertainers were out along the route of this new food festival.
I decided a short video would share the event better, with its music.
I was out on Palm Sunday, but I was late getting to the Old City. That’s why I was excited to see a man walking in the distance with a long green thing.
Only when I got home I realized it was a light bulb, not a palm branch.
However, later at Mamilla Mall, there were still a few of the faithful out on the streets with their palm branches in hand after dark as I headed home.
For Orthodox Palm Sunday, I arrived in the Old City in time to see people walking with long, short, and decorated palm branches.
What is different this year, is that Passover, Easter, and Ramadan all also fell on Sunday. It was good to see the Old City streets filling with visitors and international tourists again.
Security was visible at critical junctions in the Old City.
The Rova, Jewish Quarter, was alive again after two years of corona closings. Tour guides were out again sharing their knowledge with family groups.
Passover matza was being given away outside of Jaffa Gate.
And freshly baked Arab beigele were for sale just inside Jaffa Gate.
The Passover rolls looked like real bread in Mamilla Mall.
Walking from Jaffa Gate toward the Kotel, the Western Wall, the new pizza shop is open for Passover.
The large Birkat Cohanim, Priestly Blessing at the Kotel, is again to be held twice to keep the size of crowds in the Old City down and is scheduled for Monday and Wednesday. Monday morning saw the plaza full for the online live broadcast. There’s still time for you to participate live on Wednesday.
However, already on Sunday, there were people arriving all day.
I wonder how many noticed the broken windows in the Al Aqsa mosque?
Trudging home in the heat, after spending hours walking and photographing in the Old City, how nice it was to be offered a bottle of water. Thank you Iriya, Jerusalem.
Four days before Passover is יו”ד ניסן Yud Nissan. For those not familiar, I decided to share a special trip in 2019.
Israel cleared the landmines, then a pandemic shut down the tourist site.
But as the holidays and tourists return to the Jerusalem streets, they will see the Jerusalem and Israeli flags flying over the streets.
Signs are up for a blue and white Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day.
But first, we have a week of Pesach, Passover to celebrate with thousands back on the Jerusalem streets and many more away in national park sites enjoying the warm weather and water spots filled after winter rain.