In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Israel, September days seem to be cooler.

Then along comes a hot day and a humid night.

But summer is over and back to busy schedules.

This was a busy week, one of those when it was hard to decide which events to attend.

Israeli champion female football team, winning soccer players

President Rivlin hosted Israel’s best female football (soccer) players today.

The ASA Tel Aviv team, second-time champions, brought their winner’s cup to Beit Hanasi.

Beit Hanasi President Rivlin posing with women form Movilot

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin hosted religious women from Movilot, an organization that promotes employment for ultra-Orthodox women in Israel.

Rivka Ravitz his long-serving Chief of Staff was there for the morning event.

Later in the day, it was announced that she gave birth to her 12th child.

President Rivlin Chief of Staff Rivka Ravitz at Beit Hanasi

I hesitated and did not take a photo of Rivka in the morning, but here is one from last year.

She was always at the President’s side, but stays out of the photographer’s view.

President Rivlin GPO IDF Spokesperson photo for 80th birthday
photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

The next day without his faithful assistant, the President received a birthday cake.

“There is nothing more thrilling than to celebrate your 80th birthday with the youngest and most daring brigade in the army. With you, I feel safe and young. In Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), it says ‘80 years old for heroism.’ But you, you are the real heroes.”

Israel Committee Logistic Center

The September 17 election day is approaching. Before the previous election on a trip to the logistic center, we were told how the day after an election they begin to prepare for the next one.

Israeli election logistic center workers

Did anyone really believe then that indeed we would have an election again so soon?

The only thing for sure about this election is that no one really knows what will happen.

Avigdor Liberman at Israel Knesset Opening

What I can tell you with certainty is there is a new film called”Leiber-Man” directed by Nurit Kedar.  Because of election laws, it cannot be shown on Israeli TV until after the polls have closed on election day. Kedar received invaluable film footage from Alexander Gentelev before he passed away which she incorporated brilliantly in her documentary.

Avigdor Liberman arrived in Israel as a 20-year-old and started working at the airport handling luggage the next day. He has held many senior government positions other than Prime Minister. How his actions will affect the next Knesset will be more clear next week.

I am staying away from political debate and moving on to graffiti.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Some of the recent graffiti has been colorful.

If you want, some of the recent photos of ugly graffiti are here.

Jerusalem Israel one year in Guatemala Embassy

This sign for Guatemala was put up over vandalized Honduras thank you. 

Why mention graffiti this week?

Foot bridge near Begin Center in Jerusalem Israel

On my way to the Cinematheque for the “Leiber-man” documentary, I looked down and saw this inscription on the footbridge over Derech Hevron, Hebron Road.

Promised Land on path over Hebron Road Jerusalme Israel

I had to stop, look, think, and go back again.

View from Hevron Road foot bridge of Old City

This view from the pedestrian bridge is one I try and share with participants of photo walks. 

The walls of the Old City are across the Sultan’s Pool. Looking in this direction, Jaffa Gate is in the distance.

This area was part of No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

View of Old City from foot bridge near Begin Center

I wonder who did this.  What will happen next in the promised land is hard to predict.

Muslim women in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel

I do know – that nearby Muslim women were having a picnic in Liberty Bell Park.

Inbal hotel welcome banner

Next to the park at the Inbal Hotel, a large welcome sign was up for international delegates for the Declaration of Our Common Destiny.

Common Destiny meeting with Israeli President

Its lofty aim is to support President Rivlin’s challenge to engage unity within diversity. When meeting the scholars and advisors at Beit Hanasi, he said:

“The miracle of the Jewish people is not only that we survived for thousands of years. The miracle is that, despite the fact that we were spread all over the world, speak different languages and developed different traditions, we always were one people. Despite our differences, we remained bound by our shared history, our core values and beliefs, our Book of Books, and our commitment to improving the world. It helped that our enemies always saw us as one people. Our enemies don’t see any difference between one stream of Judaism and another: Secular, Haredi, Reform, Conservative, Masorti – for them we are all Jews. “

Banners at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem Israel

I heard about a very different and special mission which was based at the Inbal Hotel.

The special Children’s Center Israel Trip sounded impressive.

I thank my friend for telling me about Yaakov Shwekey’s family and how they brought a group of special needs children on an amazing trip of a lifetime to Israel.

Oh, there was so much more, but enough for now.

Be the best you can be.

Jerusalem One Week in July – 9 Events and Fireworks

Jerusalem One Week in July – 9 Events and Fireworks

Once again it was a busy week in Jerusalem, Israel,

a week filled with events I am compelled to share with you.

Let’s see how many of these you heard about.

  1. Last night was another ‘pitch night’ for Jerusalem Biotech startups.

Jerusalem Deputy mayor at JlmBiomed meeting at Azerili college

There are so many innovative new biomedical and tech companies it is hard to keep up. Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum is a regular speaker at Azrieli College for Engineering for JLM-BIOCITY pitch nights.  However, last night twenty Chinese visitors attended this meetup on their last night in Israel before returning home to cities throughout China.

Did they understand all the English?

No, but they took plenty of photos on their phones.

Israeli President Volunteer Awards at Beit Hanasi 2019

2. President Rivlin hosted an awards ceremony to honor twelve volunteers, individuals, and organizations.

singers at Israeli President Volunteer Awards at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem Israel

While most of the Israeli media was out looking for riots, these young people were singing in the gardens for the Israeli President and invited guests.

President Rivlin and winners of volunteer awards at ceremony in garden of Beit Hanasi

The years of volunteerism and the diversity of projects of this honored group filled a souvenir book.

Photo for Jerusalem Unity Prize 2019 at Israel President's Residence

3. Again yesterday at Beit Hanasi, but inside this time, the Jerusalem Unity Prize was given to four groups. Three Israeli projects that promote unity and Moishe House for the diaspora. The award was started 5 years ago by then-Mayor Nir Barkat and the Fraenkel, Shaer, and Ifrach families in memory of their 3 murdered teens to promote the unity the families felt in their time of stress and mourning.

But there were more awards.

Diaspora journalism award in Jerusalem to Antonia Yamin

4. For journalism, one to Antonia Yamin for reporting for KAN broadcast media from Europe.

Zivla Klein award ceremony in Jerusalem Israel for journalism diaspora reporting

For print media, Tvika Klein won for his work with Diaspora reporting.

Dr Deborah Lipstadt speaking in Jerusalem Israel on antisemitism for Bnai Brith

The keynote speaker was Dr. Deborah Lipstadt who spoke on antisemitism.

Family of Deborah Lipstadt pose after her lecture on antisemitism in Jerusalem

She had support in the audience from family members. However, it was a shame many people were afraid to come because of the traffic delays the previous day. Seats were empty in what would have been a standing room only event.

Road construction can cause traffic to stop, but on that night there were no riots or serious delays.

US Embassy Jerusalem and IDI talk on religious freedom with Islamic sheikh speaking

5. The Israel Democracy Institute discussed the US Freedom of Religion report.

Who knew the US State Department has been issuing this report since 1998?

Jerusalem street signs for summer of 2019

Summer on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel and there are new signs.

6. The “Windows” exhibit in Gan Hasoos, Horse Park is causing buzz way before the Mekudeshet Festival begins in September.

Jerusalem Israel Hansen House entrance from outside gate

7. Hansen House hosts part of the Outline Festival events.

View of gallery at Hansen House for illustration festival

On July 4th which was advertised as opening day; this was the entrance to an exhibit.

view of one exhibit at Hansen House in Jerusalem Israel

Outline, illustration and poetry, and this was a speaker set up inside an audio offering.

Man looking at exhibit in Hansen House for an illustration festival called Outline

By night, this room was set up, during the day I was not allowed in.

Outline 2019 festival opening at Hansen House in Jerusalem

The courtyard was filled with music and people at night for the festival opening events.

During the day the guard did not know what I was looking for.

Jerusalem summer activities for children Hebrew street sign

Keeping children out of school safe and busy was high on families’ lists.

Jerusalem Israel First Station Hangar IDF exhibit

8. The IDF exhibit at First Station is an option. It is not busy in the morning, and you can get a security bracelet to enter on-site, not just online. However, I was not going to stand and wait for ten minutes in the midday sun to go inside when a guard at the door told me I was not allowed to take photos.

Jerusalem Israel Bell Park in summer

9. July 4th was a good time to go to Liberty Bell Park.

Jerusalem Israel Liberty Bell Park

The park was dedicated 43 years ago on the 200th-anniversary celebration of the United States Independence Day.

Liberty Bell in Jerusalem Park Gan Paamon

An exact replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is in the center of this Jerusalem park. Yes, with the crack.

This blog is getting too long to share more photos of the Terry Fox and Billy Graham memorial gardens and the many other sections of the Liberty Bell Park.

But in Israel on July 4th, one remembers that forty-three years ago was also Operation Jonathan at Entebbe.

Memorial in Jerusalem Israel Liberty Bell Park for Jonathan Netanayhu Yoni Park

The Yonatan Netanyahu Garden was quiet this year, while a bar mitzvah celebration was held nearby. For the 40th anniversary, there was a major event at the Jerusalem Theater.

What a week it was in Jerusalem, Israel.

Now for the fireworks which you have been waiting for.

For a first, the US Embassy Jerusalem had 4th of July fireworks at its celebration (on July 2nd).

My video on Facebook has had 45 shares and over 8,000 views.

The event was at the International Conference Center, the fireworks could be seen over the Knesset with the Israeli flag in view.

So much happened this week on and over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

 

 

 

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

King Herod of Judea-Builder of Caesarea

One thing Jerusalem, Israel does not have is a good view of the sea.

An attempt for a beach in Liberty Bell Park was a poor substitute.

So a trip to the coast and the sea was a welcome treat.

Beach front sign in Hebrew Caesarea port

The sign “The Sea” between palm trees greets visitors to Caesarea coastal park.

Caesarea excavations

Here part of the remains of Herod’s Sebastos Harbor has been exposed.

Roman bath house excavation in Caesarea

But other portions are being worked on carefully by archaeologists.

Visitor Center in Caesarea

The trip was to attend the launch of the new Visitor Center.

Visitor center in Caesarea

Josephus wrote of Herod’s tribute to Caesar in the first century BCE.

Herod the Builder. Herod the Great. Ruler of Judea. Builder of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Builder of the fortress, Masada. Builder of Herodion.

Scene of old port of Herod in Caesarea

Herod built Sebastos to honor Caesar Augusta and the goddess Roma.

In this photograph from the video in the new Visitor Center video, we see his vision.

Image of port Herod built today Caesarea

One scene illustrated the hundreds of boats that came through.

Herod’s building project took ten years to complete. Tons open tons of cement went into rafts sunk, along the coast which had no natural harbor.

Herod or Hordus as he is called in Hebrew began globalization in the region.

From video in visitor center in Caesarea

Caesar Augustus attended the gala opening of the one mile long piers and temple.

Screen shot of video in visitor center of Caesarea of Herod's port

However, this massive building project lay in ruins for 2000 years.

Artifacts found in port of Caesarea

Now, located in one of the fourteen vaults Herod built to support the platform of the temple of Augustus and Roma, the new Caesarea Visitor Center is open to the public.

The once-thriving area was rebuilt and hosted many rulers over the centuries – pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Samaritan.

Roman remains from building of Caesarea by Herod

In the museum, artifacts from various periods are on display.

Caesarea Visitor Center menorah

An ancient menorah was placed next to a modern visual box, hard to catch in a photograph.

Layers of history in Caesarea Israel

Visuals of the past help the visitor to see how the 60-acre site would have looked.

King Herod’s gateway to the Mediterranean Sea was constructed in the 1st century BCE.

Pieces of pottery over the years found in harbor

On display are recovered pottery pieces that span the centuries.

Visitor Center in Caesarea at sunset

This was the outside of the vault of the Caesarea Visitor Center at sunset,

Roman baths in port of Caesarea at harbor

and next to it an area where Roman baths greeted weary seafarers.

Bottles of wine at event to launch Caesarea visitor center

The Caesarea project was funded by the Rothschild Foundation and featured family wine at its launch.

Sunset by the beach of Caesarea

As the sun set, this was as close to the beach as I could get.

Because of the tight security, I was afraid if I left I might not get back in.

Lights go on at launch of Visitor center at Caesarea Isale

The lights went on, the program began.

Woman and man dressed as statutes at nigh event in Caesrea to launch new visitor center

Musicians played and the statues turned. Oh my, they turned out to be live performers.

Israel president Rivlin speaking at launch of visitor center in Caesarea

President Reuven Rivlin arrived after a tour of the new museum and spoke.

President Rivlin and Arianna Rothschild cutting ribbon at new visitor center in Caesarea, Israel

Cutting the ribbon with Baroness Ariana de Rothschild before he headed back to Jerusalem.

Then the party and music really got going.

Perhaps that is why the neighbors were invited along with media and dignitaries?

Fancy ladies loo at launch of Caesarea visitor center.

Though I do not usually take selfies, this outdoor portable toilet fit for royalty needed a photo. Sorry, I cannot share the pleasant smell. This was not your usual portaloo.

The Caesarea harbor is to be once again a major stop for visitors.

I took a short clip from the video, which should be the first stop on a visit to the new Caesarea Visitor Center.

King Herod. King of Judea. Hard to describe in a few words in a blog.

Visitors can now experience parts of his story in Caesarea.