Jerusalem: Diversity, Disability, Culture and Coexistence

What’s new and happening now that Hanukkah is over?

Some chanukkiot are still around on Jerusalem streets, but for many it feels like the holiday was long ago.

Hanukkah on walls in Old City Jerusalem Israel

Projections for Hanukkah like this one over the moat wall of the Tower of David,

Hanukkah show on walls of Tower of David Jerusalem Israel Hanukkah

and this one inside of Jaffa Gate are no longer.

Hanukkah greetings projected on Jerusalem Old City Walls for Hanukkah

But these on the walls of the Old City were still up last night.

Reindeer lights in Old City Jerusalem Israel

The reindeer which were up since Hanukkah also burn brightly.

Jerusalem Israel Christmas decorations

The Christian Quarter of the Old City is only one location with holiday lights.

The Jerusalem Municipality continues its annual tradition of distributing complimentary Christmas trees to Jerusalem’s residents in celebration of the holiday. Two hundred and fifty trees will be distributed to residents on December 20, outside of Jaffa Gate.

A special festive market near the New Gate began with loud and brightly colored fireworks exploding after Shabbat in the sky over Jerusalem.

Israel not isolate Netanyahu to foreign press

PM  Netanyahu repeated one of his favorite themes, “Israel is not isolated and improving relations with Arab neighbors” at the annual Government Press Office New Year toast for foreign journalists.

The event was held at the Shalva National Center to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

As usual there was entertainment. The Shalva Band was very warmly received after a wonderful performance.

However, everyone including the Prime Minister and his security had a surprise.

As the band received a standing ovation and took their final bow, the drummer went over to the end of the stage, bent down, and gave the Prime Minister a hug.

Shalva Center is an impressive complex providing multiple services and therapies to individuals with a wide range of disabilities.

Jerusalem Israel Art and Jazz Festival at Israel Museum

While the GPO event at Shalva was by invitation only, involving many levels of security, the Art of Jazz event at the Israel Museum was open to the public.

Selfie of starting line for Crossroads Janglo night run

After a delay because of rain during Hanukkah, Crossroads and Janglo held their 5th annual night run.

In this photo taken just before race began at the starting and finish line, you can see the winner wearing blue shorts. For the group selfie, he looks like he has already run, won and is celebrating.

Jerusalem Israel sign for ArtBnB festival

AirBnB has been discussed and covered endlessly this week.

But did you hear about ArtBnB music in Jerusalem at the Maffil?

Jerusalem Israel Hullegeb Festival Israeli Ethiopian Arts

The 9th Jerusalem Hullegub Festival featuring Israeli-Ethiopian Arts is December 20 – 26.

Beit Hanasi reception for new mayors and heads of Israel council Moshe Lion speaking

President Reuven Rivlin hosted new mayors and heads of councils at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence. Of 100 newly elected community leaders, 60 attended. New Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion got in the last word, but it was noteworthy that many Arab, Muslim, and Christian mayors came to Jerusalem to attend and were asked to speak.

Jerusalem, Israel, Hansen House at night lit up Ester wooden structure

As I walked home one night in the Hansen House garden,  Ester was lit, resembling a spaceship. 

Hansen House at night venue for events

I heard music coming from the direction of Hansen House, so went to see what was happening. Not only is it a new center for arts and technology, but it has also become a popular and colorful gathering places for food, drink and events.

Jerusalem graffiti on Judah Mamacabi Street waiting for Messiah

One Only in  Jerusalem, Israel photo – taken at #7 Judah Maccabee Street  ” WANTED ALIVE  MASHIACH BEN DAVID Reward redeemed world. “

There you have it.

Only a bit of what was happening in Jerusalem.

Diversity, disability, culture, coexistence, up and down, always something new happening.

Miri Mesika’s song from performance at Shalva seemed like a beautiful way to conclude.

For those interested, more GPO at Shalva photos HERE

Singer sewing machine for sale on Jerusalem street

You never know what will appear next on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

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