Jerusalem Preparing for Yom Kippur

Jerusalem Preparing for Yom Kippur

Rosh Hashanah is over.

It is back to work and school and routines

after three days of eating and praying for some,

and trips to state parks and nature reserves for others.

Now in Jerusalem, Israel,

it is time to prepare for Yom Kippur.

The late night Selihot are a major tourist attraction.

These special prayer services are now accompanied by music.

Most of the words are the same as boring recitations of old.

To get you in the mood, and save you hours of sleep,

here are a few short videos from recent years.

I was on my way home from the Kotel, the Western Wall,

going through the Old City late at night,

when I heard the beautiful sounds of these selihot.

I had to stop and listen to Chizki Sofer,

and share the beautiful service he led.

Another star is Yitzhak Meir,

who was invited to lead the services at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli President’s Residence, two years ago.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin got up to participate.

Last year there was a different musical tradition

with Sephardi Chazan Chaim Israel.

Once again President Rivlin sang, this time

 calling for “charity and good deeds.”

The traditional greeting this time of year

גמר חתימה טובה

May all be sealed for a good year

bus sign Yom Kippur

will again be displayed on Jerusalem buses.

Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Raise Your Glass

Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Raise Your Glass

In Jerusalem, Israel, it seems everyone is

is getting into the holiday mood,

as Rosh Hashanah,

the Jewish New Year, approaches.

Finally on Sunday, it felt cooler, as

Beit Hanasi symbol

  I was at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence

and noticed this new arrangement in the front garden.

Major renovations have been underway for months,

Beit Hanasi renovations

both outside and inside the building.

But the mess of construction has not interrupted

Beit Hanasi getting cleaned by power-wash

holiday preparations or official receptions.

Flowers with pomegrante

The flower arrangements included a fake pomegranate,

as the First Lady and the wife of Chief of Staff of the IDF

hosted 30 lone soldiers.

It was a rather modest event,

Walter Bingham ai Beit Hasnasi

with the highlights of the day being Walter’s outfit

Box for phones

and this box for soldiers’ cell phones to be deposited during the program.

New Year reception at Beit Hanasi for lone soldiers

The program was held in the formal meeting room,

Fist Lady Nechama Rivlin with lone solders at Beit Hanasi

with a group photo at its conclusion.

Then on Monday, it was back to Beit Hanasi again

Beit Hanasi new emblem

 where glass pieces had completed this design.

Ambassadors at Beit Hanasi

At the President’s reception for foreign Ambassadors

business cards were exchanged and

newly arrived diplomats from around the world met.

Beit Hanasi food

There was no comparison to the simple food served the day before.

It was disappointing that the US Ambassador was back in the US,

Ambassadors at Beit Hanasi

but Egyptian Ambassador Hazem Khairat

and Jordanian Ambassador Walid Obeidat

were seated in the front row

and greeted me later with “Shanah tovah.”

Rosh Hashana table at Beit Hanasi

The holiday treats were impressive

Tzipi Hotovely taking a photo of the food at Beit Hanasi

enough for Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely

to take a photo of them on her cell phone.

Rosh Hashana at Beit Hanasi reception for Ambassadors

Israelis do take “raising a glass’ seriously,

from lone soldiers to diplomats,

businesses and organizations,

reception after reception,

l’Chaim,

to celebrate Jewish New Year.

I finally got used to year 5777,

5778 Shana tova on Jerusalem Israel bus

and now it’s changing to 5778

Shanah tovah

Good New Year to all.

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

Prime Minister Modi in Israel: Warm Hugs and Agreements

The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

was in Israel from July 4- 7, 2017.

 The royal warm greetings and government attention was unprecedented,

starting with a large airport reception

with hugs and flags and music and lots of officials.

President Reuven Rivlin hugs PM Modi at Beit Hanasi

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin greeted Modi

outside Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

breaking protocol with a hug instead of handshake.

Walking red carpet into Beit Hanasi PM Modi of Indie

Both men then walked the red carpet to the residence,

Modi signing guest book with President Reuven Rivlin watching

and Prime Minister Modi signed the guest book.

President Rivlin and PM Modi shake hands after signing guest book in Jerusalem Israel

Time for another warm handshake moment,

In Jerusalem Israel India Prime Minister Modi signed official guest book

after the warm message.

Official meeting of Israel President Rivlin and PM India Modi in Jerusalem, Israel

Media crowded into the official reception room.

Most of the press left for the next stop on the full itinerary,

President Reuven Rivlin introduces head of Israeli Army to PM Modi of India in Jerusalem, Israel

and missed the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Army

Gadi Eizenkot, arriving to shake hands with Modi.

Then at the King David Hotel,

Lunch table at King David Hotel for PM Modi of India and those officials signing agreements.

the table was set for a lunch meeting between

the Prime Ministers and delegation officials.

Media ready for speeches of Israel and India Prime Ministers at King David Hotel i

The lunch went longer than scheduled

but the cameras were ready

Israeli government MK Kara and Stelinlitz at King David Hotel for India Israel press conference

while Israeli Ministers chatted and also waited.

PM Modi and Netanyahu enter room for press conference at King David Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Prime Ministers made their entrance,

Prime Ministers Israel and India at press conference

and gave their speeches

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi of India hug in Jerusalem after signing of agreements

followed by more hugs.

There were numerous jokes,

of this warm and hugging visit,Sign for Modi in Israel

and of Modi in Israel.

Photos of the Prime Ministers wading into the sea,

signing agreements, hugging, and

meeting terror survivor Moishe Holtzman

made some news reports.

They also went to see the Cochin Synagogue exhibit in the Israel Museum.

The attention showered on the Indian Prime Minister,

was more than I have seen for any recent international visitor.

 Israel’s Prime Minister acted as host and tour guide.

The love, respect, and worship, that the Indian visitors

showed for their Prime Minister was impressive.

The extensive agreements that were signed have great potential

for both countries and beyond,

Globe photo shopped over bald head in photo of important press conference

 the whole world should be applauding.

(Thanks to my friend Ron for photo-shopping the globe here.)

After all the waiting for the official ceremonies,

the tallest man in the room was seated in the front row,

and his bald head blocked my camera view.

Jokes, hugs and smiles,

the potential of this visit must be acknowledged.

Additional photos: King David Hotel  and Beit Hanasi.