Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,

began with an official ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.

Traffic on the way to Har Herzl to get to the ceremony

was backed up for blocks,

image Israel apartheid, photo Arabs Jerusalem, Palestinians picture

  it was faster to get out and walk to the shuttle buses,

rather than to sit in the line of cars.

Those watching the opening ceremony at home on TV,

photo security, image security

did not have to come hours early and go through layers of security.

But this year I did go and we were lucky,

as it was warmer than usual.

image Asher Aud, photo Holocaust survivor, picture torch lighter

The Holocaust survivor to light the first of six memorial torches was Asher Aud.

His son Tziki Aud leads one of my favorite organizations,

the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.

As with many other survivors,

without proper food during their growing years,

the children tower over their parents.

image large photo lens, picture of lenses for camera

Photographers were ready with powerful lenses.

image IDF, photo soldiers, picture soldier

Every beret had to be perfect,

image soldiers, photo IDF< picture Yad Vashem

for the honor guard on stage,

image soldiers, picture young soldiers, photo IDF

standing at attention for most of the program.

One advantage of attending a TV broadcast

is that you know it will start on time.

image rabbis, photo dignitaries, picture Jerusalem mayor

Even dignitaries had to arrive early, so there was time to chat.

image Rabbi Lau, photo Rabbi Yisrael Mei Lau, picture Rabbi Lau

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch to open the program

image memorial flame, photo Yad Vashem, picture flame at Yad Vashem

and passed the lighter to a soldier who saluted before leaving the stage.

image violinist, photo man playing violin, picture violinist

Sanya Kroitor played during the first of the musical interludes.

image Shimon Peres, photo Peres speaking, picture large screens

A large screen on each side of the stage projected

a huge image of the speakers to thousands seated in the plaza.

image Benjamin Netanyahu, photo Israeli prime minister speaking, picture Bbi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after President Peres.

image Yad Vashem, photo ceremony Yom HaShoah, picture Remembrance Day

The lights and colors were great for photos,

but I wondered how the view was for two people watching  from on top?

photo Yad Vashem, image torch, picture torch lighting

Each survivor honored to light a memorial torch stood

as a video with Hebrew and English subtitles retold their story.

The audience was silent,

listening to their incredible stories of survival.

image memorial, photo Yad Vashem, picture lights

Six grandchildren stood ready to help each grandparent.

image Shimon Peres with crowd, photo Peres at YadVashem, picture President shaking hands

At the end of the ceremony, President Shimon Peres went to shake their hands.

image Yad Vashem, photo Yad Vashem, picture Yad Vashem memorial

Then thousands had to get out of Yad Vashem and to find their way home.

On Yom HaShoah, there were way too many other programs

in community centers, synagogues and schools to mention here.

image Israeli flag, large Israel flags blowing photo, picture blue and white flags

Israeli flags were flying at Har Herzl cemetery parking lot.

The season “the Yoms” has started,

Israeli flags are popping up everywhere,

first Yom HaShoah,

 next week Yom Hazikaron, followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut.

image Israel 66, photo Yom Haatzmaut, picture Israel birthday

Signs are up announcing the celebration of Israel 66 on May 6.

#NeverAgain                #WeAreHere

UPDATE:

How could I?

I forget one of “the Yoms!”

As soon as I approached the Montefiore Windmill,

my mistake was obvious.

Busloads of children on school trips are on the streets,

Yom Yerushalyim is May 28.

Welcome Presidents to Jerusalem Winter Noise

 February,

it was so warm outside that I could not walk in the morning sun,

yet inside this afternoon I need boots, a sweater and to put on heat!

The US had Presidents Day,

but we also had our share of Presidents this week.

image flag Peru,photo flag Peru in Jerusalem, picture Peru flag

Flags were flying for Peru President Ollanta Humala’s visit.

The annual Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

held its 40th Mission this week in Jerusalem, Israel.

Not just presidents attended the main dinner event.

image Malcolm Hoenlein, photo US ambassador to Israel, photo Hoenelin  in Israel

 US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro was welcomed by

Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference.

After Shapiro spoke and left,

image Conference of Presidents in Jerusalem, picture of Israeli Prime MInister. Hoenlein and Netanyahu photo

 Hoenlein and PM Benjamin Netanyahu put their heads together.

image Netanyahu speaking, photo Israeli Prime Minister, picture Bibi Netanyahu

I already blogged about that speech on Israellycool in a lite way,

but today showed we can make a difference.

image Moshe Arens, photo Moshe Arens. picture Moshe Arens

I wondered what Moshe Arens was thinking as he listened.

image PM giving a gift, photo Hoenlein getting gift from Israel, picture Malcolm Hoenlein and Bibi Netanyahu

The size of the gift from Hoenlein to the Prime Minister was a joking matter!

UPDATE:

image Shimon Peres, photo Malcolm Hoenlein and Shimon Peres, picture Shimon Peres at Bet Hanasi

Later in the week President Shimon Peres got the same gift.

With intense security precautions and not full ballroom,

that dinner was worlds away from what was happening right outside.

Every Monday night in February, in a different site is

a Jerusalem street festival called שאון חורף – Winter Noise.

שאון חורף , photo Azza st, image art on building

This week all of Azza Street,

starting across from the Prime Ministers’ residence was the happening.

image band at night, photo singers on street, picture festival Jerusalem

Along the way were several musical groups,

picture Shaon Horef, photo building illuminated, picture Azza st

 illuminated buildings,

image Israeli flags, photo lots of flags, picture a lot of Israeli flags

and street acts, many hard to describe or photograph.

Sorry I did not get in all of the skis, but think I got all the flags.

Just please do not ask me what this was supposed to be,

and I will spare you of more

‘I have no idea what this is supposed to be’ acts.

image street festival Jerusalem,  photo shaon horef, picture legal grafiti

I am sure that I have that graffiti face in other street photos.

image of art on building, photo for Shaon Horef, picture Azza festival

The mikvah for women located in Yad Tamar finally reopened,

after it was shut for a very long time for repairs.

I could not help feel sorry for some young tourist using it that night!

Usually boring and quiet, the building was bright

image people dancing, photo dancing in street, picture dancers in street

and people were dancing in street outside.

image undera ge drinking, photo sign in Hebrew no one under 18, picture from Aza st festival

Hundreds of people were out and many were drinking beer.

Trying to control drinking, at one main site

signs were posted for 18-year old entrance and IDs.

image two men on street at night, photo two religious men, picture night on Jerusalem street

Who knows what these two men must have thought?

Perhaps like they had found themselves in another planet!

image Gaza, photo Azza Street, picture Gaza Street.

The next morning the street was clean.

This the only sign of Winter Noise,

 though I imagine at least a few people had some dark circles

under their eyes from lack of sleep.

Watch out Ein Kerem, it is your turn next week.

Never know what you will find next on the Jerusalem streets.

I would like to mention that

 photos are available for purchase.

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.