This past year has shown no one can predict what will happen next.
After well over a year with so little happening due to corona restrictions, last week was one very busy, “back to normal” week.
Finally, too many good things happened hard to decide what to share first.
The view in the distance from the footbridge over Hebron Road appeared the same as for centuries the sun reflected off the Old City walls.
But as the week began, down below in the Sultan’s Pool, the huge stage was lit for a major Chabad event at night for men and boys.
At the same time across the way on the Begin Center main stage, the final performance of Rebecca: Mother of Two Dynasties was being performed by women for women.
The Begin Heritage Center was also the site for special weekly Bible sessions.
Of course, the Jerusalem buildings keep going up and up.
The old entrance of the President’s Hotel was been cemented shut.
Goodness, even those famous steps from the Montefiore Windmill down by Yemin Moshe are gone.
Some of the street work is hard to explain, with pavement recently done – being redone and landscaped.
And those new blue historical signs becoming more common than the regular road closures.
But this week there was more happening in Jerusalem!
Postponed for a year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are to be held this summer.
The Israeli Olympic and Paralympic teams were invited to Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence for a traditional sendoff and official photograph.
Large black & white photos of participating athletes were posted outside the main entrance.
The Japanese Ambassador to Israel attended and was interviewed by Walter Bingham, the world’s oldest active journalist at the young age of 97.
The Ambassador also posed with leaders from the Israeli Baseball team, playing for the first time in the Olympic competition.
The team photo was taking at Machane Yehuda Market, and two of the baseball players were at Beit Hanasi for the send off event.
Inside, the veteran Paralympic athletes had seats near the front.
For the first time in a very, very long time, the main hall was filled, over filled to capacity.
Ready to present a gift to President Rivlin was European gold medal winning rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram.
The traditional posed photographs were taken afterward outside, more HERE.
But how long has it been – two big events hosted at Beit Hanasi in one day?
And with full buffet tables!?
The same evening a business leaders conference included live entertainers.
Rows of invited guests, seated with the Israeli President, used to happen regularly, but not this last year of President Rivlin’s seven year term.
The round of farewells the past few weeks has been continuous.
The Israeli Business Roundtable had a cute image in their presentation.
President of Israel Reuven Rivlin spoke to full houses on Wednesday.
Then after Shabbat, he departed on a farewell visit to the United States at the invitation of President Joe Biden.
But he is to be back on Thursday morning, to hold a state reception ceremony for President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and his wife, on a state visit to Israel.
President Steinmeier of Germany will plant a tree in the Avenue of Presidents in the gardens of Beit Hanasi and will then sign the Beit Hanasi visitors’ book and President Rivlin will host a state banquet in their honor.
Three years ago, Beit Hanasi held a state dinner for Andrea Merkel.
A full schedule before July 7, 2021, when Israel is to get a new president.
Getting used to new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his emails. Since the airport has been a source of new corona variants, Bennett has appointed Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ronni Numa: “who has been doing exceptional work in Bnei Brak and with the ultra-orthodox public. He will receive the responsibility to integrate and manage dealing with the coronavirus at the crossings.”
No certainty to when borders will be open and tourists will return.
And finally, I am slow today! How could I forget? This week also we had a reunion of former Virginians in Ramot Mall, as two couples were able to get into Israel from the US to see their children and grandchildren. So it’s happening, slowly.
Who knows what next will happen on the Jerusalem streets?
Hope we can see you here soon. Meanwhile, virtual tours are available.