This year, as Shabbat ends, the Passover holiday begins and the seder and holiday meal is to begin. My preparations started early, but I realized in the past in 1994, 2001, and 2005, before we made aliyah, we had also a second seder – and 3-day holiday with more meals and more guests.
So this year in Jerusalem, one seder should be a-piece-of-Passover-cake easy.
If you have not been to Jerusalem, Israel, for the past year, you are in for big surprises when you return to the Jerusalem streets!
Jerusalem on Rosh Chodesh Nisan 5781, is not as you remember it. You will not recognize many of the Jerusalem streets as they emerge from coronavirus lockdowns and closings
Today a new initiative was announced by the Mayor’s Office, “ברוטינה” or ‘Be’rutina” as in return to routine. Hundreds of thousands of shekels will be invested to help revive the local cultural and creative scene and promote internal tourism by Israelis, as the airport is still closed to foreign nationals.
It’s spring and feels like it today. Beginning on Rosh Chodesh Nisan there is a special blessing to say when seeing the budding fruit trees.
Last week, Jaffa Gate was open as COVID-19 restrictions lessened on Sunday.
People were at the Orient Hotel this week.
The doorman was back at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He would not let me inside, but was happy to pose for a photograph.
Banks are closing and moving online, and here on Palmach Street, a new supermarket is on its way. However, it remains to be see seen just how cheap it will be.
The carousel was turning again at Takhana Rishona, First Station.
The kiddie train was on the track with people and bikers on the path.
Sports and Culture Minister Chili Tropper spoke at the Run 4 Afikim start before runners left from First Station on the charity run to Eilat.
Benjamin Netanyahu hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The Czech Embassy opened an office in Jerusalem and they discussed vaccine distribution.
The Ivory Coast property is still available if any country is interested.
Cafes in Mamilla Mall had lines of customers again on Monday.
Even the tourist train was running again as the Old City opened up.
School groups were touring and learning about the Jewish Quarter.
By the Kotel, Western Wall, dividers kept the still-limited numbers of worshippers allowed for prayer services apart. Thousands were coming during the whole day on Monday.
This is one of the new water fountains for washing hands. There was also a new row of taps for drinking water installed near the restrooms,
Restoration work on the stones of the Western Wall is still underway. I keep watching that scaffolding as it moves from one location to another.
On Monday, there was one bar mitzvah celebration after another, all day long with music and balloons and festivities. It felt like the good ol’ days.
Workers on the major building project in the Armenian Quarter should send more customers to this small shop nearby. The Old City shops were shuttered for so long, it will take time to recover.
Jaffa Road cafes were busy, with chairs lining the Light Rail tracks.
The Light Rail stops were filled with passengers waiting for the next train, as people converged upon Jerusalem’s central shopping area.
When tourists return to Jaffa Road they will not recognize the area. Look up, and tall buildings tower over the Machane Yehuda Market , the shuk.
At least the piles of ripe strawberries look familiar in the shuk.
It was announced that Paris Fountain in France Square is getting a major makeover.
This is the simulation published by the Mayor’s Office last week.
Near the Jerusalem Theater, Chopin Street is open to traffic at last. It will take a while for drivers to get used to the major changes.
And after all these years, the Ohel Nechama synagogue on Chopin Street finally got an elevator up in time for Disability Month in March.
The Hansen House has reopened with signs for ‘Spring in Jerusalem’. The gardens inside the gates welcome visitors, with masks and social distance.
More signs for the outdoor nature event are along the Jerusalem streets.
Multiple new children playgrounds have been developed over lockdowns.
Building and construction continued over the past year.
For the first time in a very long time, someone I did not know on a Jerusalem street asked me to take a photo.
It’s been quite an unusual year for sure!
Too many have been sick and died.
Certainly, not everyone is happy with the construction, as building new projects often involves the loss of smaller older buildings, like this Sephardi synagogue.
There was a lot happening on the Jerusalem streets and though some are getting a slow start preparing, excitement is building with anticipation of families together this year for Passover.
And oh yes, another election! Number four in two years on March 23rd.
Outside the Knesset Building they are preparing to count votes – again.
it would be nice if the next Knesset would finally pass a budget.
That’s it for now, though more was happening on Jerusalem streets.
Jerusalem, Israel this time of year is usually one of the busiest.
Pesach, Passover, has many other names, including the holiday of spring, and the holiday of freedom. Streets are usually full of people, rental cars, tour buses, and holiday pilgrims.
This year the yearning for freedom from home isolation was felt around the world as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic kept people inside their homes.
This year with Pesach and Easter coinciding streets should have been packed.
Instead, they are empty.
Three years ago this was the scene at the Kotel, Western Wall for Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing.
Ten men prayed together at the Kotel and recited the blessing today.
A tiny microbe has done what wars, stabbings, suicide bombers, car-rammings and other forms of terror could not accomplish.
However, if nothing else, Israelis are resilient.
Moving off the streets and online, here are five suggestions to experience Jerusalem over this holiday week.
Instead of sharing places to go and things to do in Jerusalem, Fun in Jerusalem is offering at home ideas.
2. The Tower of David Museum has virtual tours free for this week, check out one introductory tour HERE
Or take time and explore the site for other tours HERE
3. The Jerusalem Cinematheque is closed. Last month when I went to a special performance, already concerned about the virus, I heard a woman coughing. Quickly I went in ahead of and away from her. Hard to believe that was just over a month ago and one of their last events.
However, the Cinematheque is offering a wide variety of entertainment links, from first-rate old US movies to ‘Peter and the Wolf’ performed by the Royal Ballet and Metropolitan Opera mega productions: HERE
4. The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem is also at work getting more content online: HERE you can see the video from Yemen exhibit.
5. Experience the Western Wall Tunnel Tours from home:
Sadly the exciting Jerusalem night shows are on hold.
But here is a bit of the introduction to the Tower of David Night Show.
And the City of David Sound and Light Show Finale.
Hoping all stay well, wishing you a healthy holiday.
Let’s keep in touch virtually, until we can see you again soon on the Jerusalem streets.