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.