Beautiful Jerusalem Scenes then Rocket Siren

Last night as the sun was setting,

traffic around the Old City was heavy and slow.

image of crowd at Mamilla Mall

Mamilla Mall was crowded with people.

image Jerusalem toursists

The usually deserted Artists’ Colony was alive for

   Hutzot Hayotzer, the annual international arts festival.

016b Teddy Park

Security was tight for this mega rip-off, but hugely popular

image International arts fair

international fair of merchandise and food.

020b fund raising by sitting on street

This man was taking advantage of the crowds,

hoping to raise money for sick people.

 I walked through Teddy Park,

image Teddy Park Jerusalem

across from the Walls of the Old City, this former No Man’s Land,

image Jerusalem Park

 packed with people.

I imagine the designer of the special water fountain

036b  Water fountain at Teddy Park

thought of it as  a place where people would come together,

image mincha outside

but this corner as a place for afternoon prayer services?

image Jaffa GAte

Jaffa Gate was unusually quiet, the Arab vendors were not around,

image Arab market

and one of the major gifts shops was closed.

Israelis were out to enjoy the last of summer evenings,

but tourists have been scared away this summer.

Too bad they are missing the sights,

image Dome of Hurva Synagogue

like the beauty of  Hurva Synagogue as the sun sets,

Jerusalem at sunset

the Old City views,

image Kosel, photo Western WAll, picture Kossel

and seeing the majesty of the Kotel, the Western Wall, up close.

But my favorite scene was nearby on the Kotel plaza.

image Israeli soldier at western wall

A soldier just back from reserve duty, still wearing his gun,

had come to the Kotel with his young family.

He was surrounded by young admirers.

Perfect weather.

All was calm.

But,

Hamas broke a cease-fire for the 11th time,

and for the second day in a row southern Israel

was pounded by rockets and mortars from Gaza.

Then,

last night the warning siren went off

as we were on way home from the Old City.

We had to get out of  the car

and run to stand near a wall with no glass windows.

We then heard a boom in the distance.

It was a quiet street, with nothing special to photograph.

But the family members who were at the Kotel,

had to first go up against the wall,

then were sent into the tunnels to wait out the ten minutes.

Hamas was trying to hit Jerusalem, Israel,

with their rockets…again.

100 rockets launched at southern Israel since midnight

and 30 targets attacked in Strip overnight,

for way too many sleepless nights.

Rocket sirens now in Beer Sheva,

too many places to list.

How did so many thousands of rockets get into Gaza?

How did so little else get accomplished by Hamas?

Pope Francis View from Notre Dame

Ever walk by something many times and not really notice?

Even with my camera always out and ready,

I had not really paid attention

image St Louis Hosptial

to this building,

image St Louis Hospital

the Saint Louis French Hospital.

image St Louis Hosptial

Its gates were opened recently for a few hours to the press.

fresco image, picture of art under paint

Damage from a broken water pipe revealed hidden art on the walls.

Built across from New Gate of the Old City in the 19th century,

Comte Marie Paul Amédée de Piellat, a French nobleman funded,

designed and decorated the building after World War I.

DSC_4333b  frescoes on wall of hospital Jerusalem, Israel

His frescoes

photo art in St Louis Hospital

were revealed to the public after years out of view,

that whole story  has been written up in many places.

But, though I have seen the Israeli Antiquities photos of these frescoes,

image Rabbanut kosher certificate

no one posted a photo of the Kosher certificate near the entrance.

This hospital run by the Sisters of St Joseph of Apparition is kosher.

There is no sukkah,

but 50 volunteers came from Germany to clean for Passover.

 Arriving after the official tour had ended,

one of the two chaplains kindly showed me around.

Going through the nuns’ private upstairs sleeping quarters to the roof,

picture NOtre Dame Jerusalem Israel, photo where Pope is staying in Jerusalem

was a great view of Notre Dame where Pope Francis

will stay on his visit in Jerusalem, Israel.

image pope Jerusalem, Israel

By roof top, Notre Dame is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

image view Jerusalem

Too bad the patients at St Louis are much too ill to enjoy the views,

like this hidden oasis in back of the hospice.

image from ST Louis Hosptial

I could have spent hours up there,

image Jerusalem, scenic view Jerusalem

with incredible views

image view Jerusalem, Israel

of Jerusalem, Israel, from all directions.

When security is high, sharp shooters are posted on roof tops.

Ever wonder what that is like?

Now you know what they will see for Pope’s visit.

Too bad that streets will be cleared when Pope Francis arrives,

image Palestinian women Israel, photo Arab women, picture Palestinian Jerusalem

he will not see the real Jerusalem streets.

7 New Signs in Jerusalem

My father was born in the USA and served in the army during World War II.

  He would not let even a small item made in Germany into our house.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her delegation of 16 German government ministers

just visited Jerusalem, Israel.

 Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed her with the words 

“Israel and Germany have a unique bond forged of tragedy and hope,

and a great friendship and cooperation.”

Then she was awarded Israel’s Presidential Medal,

a sign of how much things have changed.

2. Anyone who knows a 6-year old, kita aleph  first grader,

image table with food, photo food for party, picture decorated table

knows that countless tables with piles of food,

like this one in Heichal Shlomo,

are the reward for sitting through hours of presentations.

image sidur party, photo mesibat siddur, picture decorated cake

This artistic creation is a sign of a siddur party,

only one of this week’s many extravaganzas,

where new readers receive their first prayer-book.

image new bus line, photo bus Jerusalem, picture Israel bus sign

3. New bus signs were up on Friday.

Time will tell whether all the route and number changes are improvements.

But new #15 bus took us straight to bus station in minutes!

 There was another new sign near the bus stop.

image British defense , photo security in Palestine, picture  Jerusalem

4. The “pillbox” got a new sign.

picture riots 1936, Palestine photo, image palestine, picture Palestine

Please read it carefully.

In Palestine, in 1936, Arabs were rioting against Jews.

Long before the State of Israel was established,

the British built these to protect and defend themselves against Arab attacks.

The new Cinema City had its grand opening this week.

There was a small protest because it is to be closed on Shabbat.

image poster in Hebrew, picture of activites in Jerusalem, photo of Hebrew poster

5. But also, this sign with many new Shabbat activities was posted.

imag Jerusalem marathon, photo Jerusalem marathon, Picture Jerusalem marathon

6. New signs for the Jerusalem Marathon seem to be popping up everywhere,

especially along the route of the March 21st race.

7. And to end with my favorite sign of spring,

image red flowers, picture anemoes, photo re flowers

the spring flowers blooming in the Valley of the Cross.

All photos available for purchase.

Israeli Knesset – Hadassah Outside and What’s Inside

The Israeli Knesset is open to the public.

But getting a chance to join a tour

with the Jerusalem Press Club and get a behind the scenes look

 is hard to turn down,

especially when I can take my camera.

People behind bars?

image Hadassah strikers, photo people near fence, image hospital workers on strike

Yes-striking workers from Hadassah Hospital,

image protest, photo peaceful protest, picture Hadassah workers on strike

hundreds of them in the Wohl Rose Garden,

image Hadassah workers on strike, photo striking staff from Hadassah, picture workers in uniform on strike

demonstrating across from the Knesset.

Too bad PA leaders were not around

to see what a peaceful protest really looks like.

Image protest sign, Hadassah worker on strike photo, picture of striker holding sign

Problems have built up for years in the medical center,

and the complicated situation affects everyone.

The latest news – 90 day delay and staff is to get 90% of their salary.

image protest in Rose GArden, picture demonstration across from Knesset, photo Hadassah strikers.

Hadassah medical specialists are experts at saving lives,

not for organizing protest rallies that offer dramatic photo ops.

image Hadassah protest, photo Knesset, picture with Knesset symbol

The demonstration could easily be seen from the Knesset.

Hopefully a resolution will be worked out soon.

Hadassah is essential to everyone in the Jerusalem, Israel area and beyond.

With security it always takes awhile to get inside the building.

A year ago after elections, a paper poster with the members of the Knesset

with their photos was posted by the entrance doors.

There were so many new faces,

that the guards needed photos to show who should be allowed in.

image Knesset members, photo sign in Knesset with who is there, picture Knesset attendance

Now there is a screen which shows which of the 120 members

are present in the building and which are not.

The modern-day legislature has 120 members,

similar to the number of members of the Knesset Gedolah of ancient times.

image small meeting room, photo Knesset , picutre Knesset room

We got to walk around and

see some of the small meeting rooms and many works of art.

iamge Israeli prime ministers., picture Rabin , Begin

In one of many photo galleries, this one of deceased Prime Ministers of Israel,

a spot is ready for Ariel Sharon’s photo.

image Knesset, photo inside Knesset, picture Israeli Knesset

The view inside the main plenary is familiar to all.

image Israeli flag, photos Israeli flag in Knesset, picture Israeli flag

The room was packed when Stephen Harper,

the Prime Minister of Canada, spoke here recently.

But European Parliament President Martin Schulz and

 David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain,

are to speak also, but with much less hoopla.

UPDATE: Seems Schulz’s remarks did get noticed after all!

And Cameron had to cancel due to floods in England.

Every Knesset member had a copy of the State Comptroller’s report at their place.

image Knesset seat, photo Knesset, picture inside Knesset

But a few had other reading material on their desk.

image Knesset seat, photo desk in Knesset, picture Israeli Knesset

I was glad to find at least one person is interested in the laws of shemita.

 There was Rav Rimon’s book on the laws of planting in the seventh year,

 but I could not clearly read whose name was on that screen.

The year is coming soon, last time in the cycle was a challenge.

image special synagogue, picture of shul in Knesset building, photo Kensset beit Knesset

The Knesset synagogue was on our tour,

but next time I really want to get a photo of the Muslim prayer room too.

image MK i

 MK Nachman Shai of Labor Party shared some of his views.

He had to leave to prepare his remarks,

as is the custom,

every Monday afternoon at 4:00 pm,

the opposition tries to “bring down the government.”

image symbol of israel, photo Israel image, picture of official symbol Israel

I guess he did not get a majority vote.

The present coalition government stands.

We are still here.

But Opposition is waiting to “ambush” at the right time of course.”

What a country!

Inspiration from Story of Esther Today

Inspiration from Story of Esther Today

Yet another red alert in southern Israel!

Talk of SodaStream ads and photos of Scarlett Johansonn

have made headlines around the world.

But I want to share some photos of real women in Jerusalem, Israel,

 that did not make the headlines this week.

image prayer protest, photo prayer at Western wall, picture Al quds

Thousands gathered  on Thursday evening

image Kossel, photo Kosel, picture Al Quds

at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

image prayer at Western Wall, photo Western Wall, picture Kosel,

for a special service with silver trumpets,

with tehilim, psalms,  and prayers,

image man praying, photo man covering eyes. picture man praying

ending as the sun was setting with the Shema Yisrael.

image Uri Ariel, photo MK URi ARiel, picture Uri Ariel at western wall

Housing Minister Uri Ariel was one politician who showed his face.

But did you read anywhere

prayer photo, image women praying at western wall, picture women praying

that the women’s section at the Kotel was full?

image women praying, photo praying, picture women at Kossel

Thousands of women were

image kosel, photo Western Wall, picture Kosel

praying for the future of Israel.

Also, this week was the Jerusalem Conference.

Out of the ten Jerusalem prize winners awarded there,

Geulah Cohen was only woman to receive the honor.

image Jerusalem prize, photo Jerusalem prize, image Nafatali bennetnt, photo Naftali Bennet

  Avraham Duvdevani was presented a certificate by Naftali Bennett.

Interesting that younger attendees had never heard of Duvdevani

and his contribution to Zionism and aliyah.

Last year I thought the lively “discussions” were because it was pre-election season.

photo Israeli politicians, image Michael Ben Ari, picutre Avi Wurtzman

But, with Rav Yisrael Rozen in the middle,

 MK Avi Wurtzman and former MK Michael Ben-Ari had quite an exchange

over government funding for education and families.

image panel at Jerusalem Conference, picture Rabbi, photo Israeli politicians

The entire panel got involved,

image Ayelet Shaked, photo Ayelet Shaked speaking, image Ayelet Shaked

but when MK Ayelet Shaked got the microphone

image Ayelet Shaked, photo Israeli politicians, picture Ayelet Shaked,

 and started to speak, everyone quieted down.

We may have had the driest January in history,

but this week we had enough rain to make tires spin on wet streets.

image tent, protest sign, photo mother vigil

 The week- long Mothers say YES to Israeli Sovereignty vigil

  near the Prime Minister’s House started off on a gloomy, wet day.

photo Nadai Matar, picutre Arieh Eldad, image food at protest

But there were plenty of cookies and drinks as former MK Arieh Eldad spoke.

All week long there has been a schedule of speakers.

photo tent, image Shani Taragin class, picture women studying.

The sun was shining when Rabbanit Shani Taragin led a class.

image vigil, photo Mothers say Yes, picture vigal at Prime MInister's hOuse

Even a neighbor coming to complain of noise could not stop her.

In an amazing Torah class she talked of Esther and Vashti,

so timely as Purim is coming.

Every child has had a special day of fun this week in school.

 The story of Esther is one of taking action, not giving in to an evil decree,

of not obeying a monarch, and of our survival and hope for future.

And finally to end on a bright note, the strawberries that were piled high in 

the shuk, the Machane Yehuda market, were so red I had to stop and look.

photo shuk fruti, image strawberries, picture strawberries in market

Maybe John Kerry keeps coming back to get away from the snow in US

and because he loves the strawberries that are in season in Israel?

Yihyeh beseder.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Where?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Where?

Timing and location are everything.

I was feeling badly for Romanian President Basescu who is here for an official state visit.

flag of Romania image, picture of Romanian flag, photo Jerusalem Romania visit

Though the Romanian flag was flying over some main Jerusalem, Israel streets,

his visit seemed so overshadowed by

photo PM Canada, image Steven Harper, picture Steven Harper and wife

the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen.

image red carpet welcome, photo red carpet for PM Harper, picture Bibi Netanyahu

PM Harper received a red carpet welcome,

picture visit Harper to Israel, photo Steve Harper and Netanyahu, picture honor guard review

and a full honor guard review.

image Israeli leaders, photo Israeli government leaders, Picture Israel politicians

Israeli political leaders lined up to shake his hand,

image official receiving line. photo dignitaries to greet prime minister, t

along with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and many religious leaders,

photo Canadian Jewish delegation, image Jewish leaders with Harper, picture group with Harper

and Jewish leaders from Canada.

image Harper and Netanyahhus, photo Steven Harper, picture Sara and Bibi Netanyahu

It was as close to a royal reception as you will find in Israel.

But then I talked with an Israeli receptionist,

she was much more interested in my camera than these photos.

She had no idea who Harper was and seemed to care less.

image cat, photo cat in Jerusalem, Israel cat picture

One of those famous Jerusalem chutzpah cats

came through to check out the flowers and red carpet.

But unless you were stuck in traffic with all the various motorcades,

 it seems possible not to have even noticed.

As a new snow storm is hitting North America,

the weather here has been perfect.

image trees cut back, photo trees in SAcher park, picture park

The trees damaged in the Jerusalem December snow in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park

 look stark against the blue sky,

image spring flowers, first flowers of spring photo, picture wild flowers

but the first wild flowers of spring are popping out.

The overseas visitors are heading home,

and the Israeli President and Prime Minister are leaving

for the World Economic Conference in Davos,

so the Jerusalem streets should be a bit quieter for a few days.

Perfect time to head out for lunch in an out-door cafe,

and enjoy the warm sunny weather,

another good reason to be living in Jerusalem, Israel.