Wow, did I make a mistake;
I thought this was going to be a quiet week.
It began as the extra Israeli flags were taken down.
(Make sure you did not miss all blue and white photos
from Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day in Jerusalem.)
Then came unseasonable, heavy rains and cold temperatures,
it felt more like winter than spring.
The doormen of the Citadel Hotel had out their large umbrella stand,
it was not an easy time to stay either dry or warm.
Then the rain finally stopped on Sunday evening and the sun came out,
and everything in Jerusalem turned green.
First, I went to see the Cool Globes on exhibit near Jaffa Gate.
These 18 large globes, each a unique work by a different artist, were
installed for Earth Day and will remain in place through the summer.
Then I walked over to the YMCA for the opening of the first
International Jerusalem Symposium on Green & Accessible Pilgrimage.
There were way too many events and speakers to list here, but
Forsan Hussein, CEO of the Jerusalem International YMCA
welcomed the many international visitors to the city of Jerusalem.
Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, who started the green and accessible initiative,
posed with Dr Jose Bernal-Stoop from Mexico on the left
and Count Phillippe Piccapiertra,
the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem.
While there are always thousands of international visitors
who arrive in Jerusalem, Israel, daily, this
gentleman is the only one who I know who walked here from Sweden,
and I have to add that
Nilsson Jorden, a Brother of the Military and Hospitaller Order
of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem, has a great sense of humor too.
When I told him what I had written about him on the opening night
I was very relieved when he laughed.
I had not heard of this Order before, but their plan to make
The Old City accessible to all by way of special scooters sounds amazing.
Many Interfaith sessions and discussions were held,
Imam Farid Ansari of the Muslim America Dawah Center of Rhode Island,
seen here with Rabbi Amy Levin, came in specially for this symposium.
There was such an ambitious program with so many initiatives and
progressive ideas to improve use of natural resources for the future,
that I will have to share more on this another time.
But now on the Jerusalem streets, it is that time of year,
when young people have started gathering every bit of wood, old trees,
or beware, even watch out for your outdoor furniture,
and anything else that that will burn for the Lag B’Omer bonfires.
Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat, in his excellent presentation,
did mention what the four ancient Israeli cities have been known
for centuries for four elements,
Tiberias = water, Safed = wind, Hebron = land
Jerusalem = the city of “fire.”
Watch out for those fires this weekend!
Let’s hope we can keep Jerusalem green and accessible to all.
More photos from conference HERE