5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

The full moon was shining over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Red balloons were tied outside of restaurants, street cafes, and wine bars.

Celebrations had begun for Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentines Day,” the week after  Tisha B’Av. 

Extra security was posted along the path between Yemin Moshe and Sultan’s Pool, where the Jerusalem Film Festival was having its opening night.

Scene 1:

Female Israeli security guarding at night Jerusalem

In the shadows, were three Ethiopian-Israeli women in uniform posted on guard duty by the gate.

Artists Colony at night Jerusalem Israel

The Artists’ Colony was empty, until the International Arts Festival, from August 6 – 18.

Teddy Park Fountain lit at night Jerusalem Israel

But nearby the fountain in Teddy Park was full. Day and night, all summer long, one hears the squeals of children enjoying the water and at night, there is music too.

Scene 2:

Jerusalem Teddy Park Fountain at night Muslim women and children and Jewish women and children

Teddy Park is a place where Muslims and Jews come together regularly, night and day.

Lights on walls of Jerusalem Old city at night

The Old City Walls were lit for the Tu B’Av crowds to enjoy.

Israeli Squash Tournament near Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Old City

In keeping with the RJS theme: “What will you find next on the Jerusalem streets?” the Israeli Squash Tournament was being held near Jaffa Gate.

Israel Squash Tournament in Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate

Israeli athletes competed in a specially constructed area,

Israeli Squash Tournament at Jaffa Gate

playing for large trophies,

Israel Squash Tournament trophies

lots of large trophies and medals for various age groups.

People watching Squash Tournament including Jerusalem Mayor

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was sitting front and center watching a game.

Scene 3:

Arab couple and children watching Squash Tournament in Jerusalem Israel near Jaffa Gate

As they strolled through the plaza, this young Muslim family stopped to watch.

People watching Squash Tournament in Israel near Jerusalem Jaffa Gate

However, I thought this was one event best seen on TV.

Jaffa Gate Tower of David full moon

The moon was shining above as I walked from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Night of Tu B'Av men at Kotel

The men’s section had many empty chairs and tables.

Tu B'Av women at night at Kotel praying

However, the women’s section was filled with hundreds of women–there was not one empty seat.

Scene 4:

Women praying at Kotel on Tu BeAv

One group praying together was of special interest. Israeli women from across the religious spectrum came from north and south to pray together.

After praying in unison at the Kotel, dozens of women arrived to join them for a Tu B’Av celebration nearby.

Tourists at night at Kotel taking photos

The Old City was filled with thousands of people, tourist groups, and Israelis of all ages. Photos and selfies galore were taken by excited visitors.

Scene 5:

IDF soldier carrying a baby being helped by Haredi men near Kotel on stairs

I will leave you with one last scene on the stairs near the Kotel.

A young IDF soldier was holding a baby on this left arm and a folded stroller on his right arm, with backpacks dangling over his shoulder and his kippa in his hand.

First, one man insisted on taking the stroller from him and up the stairs. Then another young man turned to help to carry the backpacks.

None of these five scenes are considered headline worthy.

But all happened on the night of Tu B’Av on the Jerusalem streets.

With headlines of division, strikes and protests, 5 scenes of comfort, of rays of light in the darkness.

 

Shabbat Shalom

Some say Tu B’Av is like a Jewish Valentines Day.

There was so much happening Thursday night in Jerusalem, Israel.

The streets were full of people and cars. Plenty to share, but short on time.

However, the walls of the Old City were colorful for Tu B’Av.

Jerusalem walls colorfully lit for TU B'Av

 

I thought perfect to wish all a Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום

Best of Jerusalem Marathon 2018

The International Jerusalem Marathon 2018 has run its course. Over 30,000 people ran the various races, from the full-marathon to family-friendly short routes.

Jerusalem Marathon Finish line 2018

The short runs and half-marathon used this finish line which was set up next to Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, a couple of weeks ago.

Gan Sacher finish line Jerusalem Marathon

The full-marathon track comes into the park and this is its finish line. Somehow so close, it looks so far away.

Jerusalem Marathon lead runners

On Friday morning as we walked to the park, the security in front of the front runners of the full-marathon passed us. The streets were mostly deserted, except for the leading full-marathon runners.

Beatie Deutsch runs to lead female runners in Jerusalem marathon

Beatie Deutsch ran by so fast, I could only catch her back, as she raced by in pace with the leading men. A mother of five children, she won first place for Israeli Women in the full-marathon race.

Full marathon runners Jerusalem marathon

Thousands ran the full-marathon route, with more Jerusalem residents participating than in the past.

Jerusalem Marathon runner stops to take selfie on course

International tourists also numbered in the thousands, and stopping to take a selfie was not uncommon.

Jerusalem Marathon in Gan Sacher

Gan Sacher had activities for runners and their supporters, and exhibitions of sports items for sale.

Jerusalem Marathon synagogue for morning prayers

The park had a synagogue near the information tent. Early starting times required many to get up before dawn. Some groups had organized prayer times.

Jerusalem marathon in Gan Sacher

By 9:00 am, the park was beginning to fill with this year’s official purple race shirts.

Moshe Lion with winners of men's half marathon Jerusalem Marathon 2018

There are so many races going at once, it is impossible to be everywhere. For the Men’s half-marathon winner presentation, Mayoral hopeful Moshe Lion was on the stage with the winners, wearing running shorts.

5 K winner Jerusalem marathon 5 kilometers

This young woman won the Women’s 5K race and received a medal and flowers.

Jerusalem Marathon 2018 winner before braking tape

Instead of running up and down the park from one end to the other over and over doing a personal marathon, this year I waited for the full-marathon winners to arrive. The motorcycle went to the side, and the cyclists escorted Shadrack Kipkogey (27) of Kenya to the finish line.

Winner Jerusalem Marathon 2018

Only as Kipkogey crossed the finish line for the second year in a row, winning first place in the Jerusalem Marathon, did his escort turn away.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with elite runners Jerusalem marathon 2018

The first place, full-marathon winners were photographed with Mayor Nir Barkat and special marathon guest, Olympic runner and World Champion long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia.

Races for Jerusalem Marathon

But all the tens of thousands who ran the shorter races were also winners in my book.

Jerusalem Marathon Druze families with OneFamily group

The dozens of organizations who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for good causes were also winners. OneFamily helps victims of terror, and their supporters included Druze families.

Jerusalem Marathon man standing on his head in Gan Sacher

Another upside-down day in Jerusalem, Israel. With streets closed and traffic blocked all morning in parts of the city, not all were happy, and many left town the night before.

With so many people filling the streets and the park, multiple starting times and two finish lines, it was impossible to find family members without a set meeting time and location.

 

Jerusalem Marathon 2018 man wearing ice cream shirt at finish line

However, every year I seem to find one marathon runner more than once. This year the man in the sleeveless ice cream shirt was headed to the full marathon finish as I was heading home.
Jerusalem Marathon 2018 runners

I had photographed same runner heading out in the morning on my way to the park.

Jerusalem Marathon 2018 people heading home after main races

Walking home was the only way to go. Many runners were going much slower after the race.

Jerusalem Marathon 10 K race three girls walking to Gan Sacher

But these girls walking the 10K were not lacking in enthusiasm as they made their way to the finish line.

Jerusalem Marathon medals 2018

All runners or walkers who passed the finish line received a medal. All participants were winners.

The 8th Jerusalem International Marathon had serious security along the way.

It was a colorful, cool day.

More photos posted on Facebook can be found HERE

Jerusalem Marathon special message shirt

Like last year, one photo of people I did not know was posted on Facebook on Friday afternoon and within minutes, it was noticed and tagged and commented on.

“Pancreatic cancer is tough. So am I.”

Quite a wow message to end another year from the marathon on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel.