Rosh Hashana 5781

This year in Jerusalem, Rosh Hashana was not like in previous years. As with most of the world, the Jewish New Year was spent alone at home or in small gatherings rather than in crowded synagogues and overflow services. 

At the Kotel, the Western Wall, the usual huge crowds were missing.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Capture-kotel-2.jpg

Sections were divided into small prayer groups before Rosh Hashana for late-night Selihot.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Capture-plaza.jpg

Those smaller groups filled some of the plaza areas this year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Capture-kotel-after-Rosh-Hashana-2.jpg

And then at night after Rosh Hashana, even those small groups were gone.

Such a sorry sight, at a time usually filled with tourists and visitors. 

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue was empty for the first time in its history.

The green spaces of Jerusalem, all of its parks, were called into use.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is park-signs-walk-004-b.jpg

These signs were posted wishing park visitors’ good health and a good year.

Jerusalem Gazelle Valley opening day

A special announcement was made that the Gazelle Park would be open during the lockdown, with everyone required to wear a mask.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Schneller-Compound-219-b.jpg

Hope they turned off the water sprinklers on the holiday for Gan Sacher, Sacher Park. Extra bins for holiday trash were available. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Schneller-Compound-214-1024x708.jpg

The ads for juice near Gan Sacher had a happy holiday greeting.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is almond-walk-001-b.jpg

Almonds were ripe on the tree and falling to the ground. Only they were so hard I could not crack the ones I brought home with a hammer.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Machane-Yehuda-Market-before-Rosh-Hashana-5781.jpg

Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk, was busy the week before the impending holiday shutdown. Shoppers were rushing to stock up with food and supplies. Supermarkets were filled to overflowing capacity. 

Display of unusual fruits for Rosh Hashana in shuk, Mahane Yehuda market

Fresh new fruits for the second night of Rosh Hashana are especially popular this time of year.

pomegrante seeds

A long time favorite, yummy pomegranate pie for the holiday. 

Family of beekeeper at Beit Hanasi before the New Year.

No little bees photo ops this year, and a very much smaller reception for beekeepers was held at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. 

Tzipi Hotovely taking a photo of the food at Beit Hanasi

No big New Year event for foreign diplomats at Beit Hanasi as in the past.

Photo credit: Mark Neyman GPO

This year President Rivlin hosted a socially distanced private reception for diplomats who were seated apart and all wearing masks.

The Selihot in the Beit Hanasi Synagogue was an annual event during Rivlin’s tenure. This was the last chance as his 7-year term is up in July.

However, this year due to religious service size restrictions these will not be held during this three-week lockdown period.

For a lockdown, this new Jerusalem project in the Schneller Compound is the place to live, to enjoy parks and open spaces. It is a magazine perfect neighborhood.

From Jerusalem this past week, all eyes were watching the signing of treaties with UAE and Bahrain. Only later I noticed on the left side for Israelis, a man in the front rows got up to take a photo on his phone, as the US side sat politely.

The Old City Walls that night were illuminated with flags of Israel, the US, UAE, and Bahrain in honor of the historic occasion.

Already numerous interactions have taken place. The webinar on health and technology I listened to is worthy of sharing with you soon, it was so impressive what they have done in Abu Dhabi in the last few years.

Photo credit: Shifra

However, also on the Jerusalem streets near the Prime Minister’s Residence, the protests continue. Though there was a supposed lockdown, a large table was set for 120 people, with no distancing, no masks, and lots of noise for Rosh Hashana on the first night. Protests in democratic Israel are legal.

Sorry, but I find their behavior UNEXCEPTIBLE.

New security cameras are being installed in the area, and new security is reinforcing the regular police and border police who have had to deal with these loud mob scenes week after week.

Sweet New Year poster for Rosh Hashanah

But for now, hoping all have a sweet and healthy year.

President Reuven Rivlin gave New Year greetings in English this year.

Next year in Jerusalem!

Meanwhile, preparing for Sukkot holiday to start October 2, 2020,

We spotted the first sukka of the season!

What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

The holidays are over.

It is time to get “back to normal.”

The Knesset winter season has opened, and universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza destroyed a home in Beer Sheva overnight.

Thankfully the mother was able to run with her 3 sleeping children to a safe room.

In Beer Sheva schools are closed, as students are home for a “rocket day.”

Happy New Year sign up way after new year in Jerusalem Israel

On one Jerusalem, Israel, street, the Happy New Year signs were still up.

Jerusalem Israel building cranes

And building cranes were also up, way up, and back to the business of building.

Jerusalem Israel Montefiore Windmill shield of arms over door

The Montefiore Windmill is now open as a winery and tourist spot.

The missing Monefiore coat of arms seems to be back over the door.

Bride and groom in Inbal lobby Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays, weddings galore filled the days and nights.

Ben Gurion actor in Jerusalem Israel at Christian Media Summit

Conferences and Israel 70-year missions are too many to list, enough to surprise Ben Gurion.

Jerusalem Israel conference with US Ambassador Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu on stage

Two hundred international Christian media professionals came for a media summit.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and US Ambassador Friedman were featured at the opening event.

I met a woman from Canada, a radio team from Estonia, and sat next to a working couple from The Hague, all supporters of Israel.

These visitors were all excited and happy to be here.

Security at First Station at end of day

Check out the security, still partially visible as I left the event at First Station.

Har Hazaytim tour buses in Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays tourist buses were still lining the road on Har Hazeitim, the Mount of Olives.

Record numbers of tourists arrived this past year in Israel.

Ido Aharoni diagram at ITSS

Ido Aharoni told the International Tourism Security Summit (ITSS) that Israel’s Main Value is its creativity. He used as an example actors in a theater group who bake bread on stage as part of the show. All the actors are blind and deaf, and use 1500 physical cues to perform perfectly every night in the theater.

which kills more people sharks or coconuts?

Summit seems to be the new term for conference. Some of the slides at the ITSS were great.

This one I really appreciated. Who knew how many people are killed by falling coconuts a year?

Night on porch of Inbal Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Inbal has been renovating, and the patio was lovely at night,

View from Inbal balcony at night Jerusalem

as was the view over the Liberty Bell Park with the Dan Boutique Hotel lit up in the distance.

German Chancellor and Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

As soon as the holidays were over, Angela Merkel arrived in Israel.

Israeli President House lunch for German delegation in Jerusalem Israel

The German Chancellor, her delegation, and Israeli guests were served lunch at Beit Hanasi.

Prof Aumann talks with Andrea Merkel at Beit Hanasi lunch

I wondered what Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Aumann said to Merkel as she entered the room with the Israeli President.

Jerusalem Israeli President House reception for Andrea Merkel and delegates

Other Nobel Prize winners were invited, and the only female Israeli winner sat next to Merkel.

Jerusalem street blocked to traffic during visit of German chancellor

Most people only paid attention to the German delegation in Jerusalem when streets were closed.

After the holidays, and traffic was back to normal, filling the streets.

Rabbinic Judges Swearing in at Israeli President House

Twenty-four new rabbinical court judges were sworn in this week at Beit Hanasi.

New Rabbinical judges with Israeli President

This photo of the President, Chief Rabbis and the head of selection committee has received attention for being all male.

Rabbi Amar and Rabbi Yosef at Israeli President House

But have you seen this photo? I am looking for good caption, open to suggestions.

This is only a fraction of what has been happening, and so much more is scheduled for after the holidays.

A Jerusalem favorite starts tomorrow.

Over 120 varied locations are open for free in the annual  100 Houses from Within 

Jerusalem Israel Zeev Elkin office

Municipal elections are at the end of October.

Signs were popping up everywhere.

This pop-up store front became a campaign location.

Holidays may be over, but much is still happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Torah: Bond for Eternity

Last week an amazing event was held at the Kotel,

the Western Wall.

Tens of thousands of people crowded

into the Kotel Plaza and well beyond to get a view.

They filled the stairways and the Old City streets.

torah scrolls at westwern Wall

They came as 75 Torah scrolls were dedicated,

one for each Israeli killed last summer

in Operation Protective Edge.

Laurent Amram from Montreal

started Kesher Lanetzah, a Bond for Eternity,

with a vision that stated

“We cannot get them back, but we can perpetuate their names.”

The international fund raising campaign 

was a huge success with the last two Torah scrolls

coming from International Young Israel Movement

based in Jerusalem, Israel, including one

 from the Leo V. Berger fund.

However,

Shai Abramson

 before IDF Chief Hazan Shai Abramson sang

Presient Rivlin writing letter in Torah

and President Reuven Rivlin wrote one of the last letters,

Kesher Lanetzah at Kotel

and while all those honored to carry a Torah

into the Plaza for the ceremony stood ready and waiting,

another photo-op was happening in the Women’s Section.

There, near the Kotel, a number of dignitaries had gathered,

to mark another Torah’s journey.

Head of IDF with torah from 1967

New IDF Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkot,

Torah from 1967 returns to western wall

Chief Chaplain Rafi Peretz,

Reuven Rivlin holds torah from 1967

and President Reuven Rivlin,

 took turns holding a small Torah scroll with a navy blue cover.

That Torah scroll was the one that Rav Shlomo Goren held

 on that fateful day in June 1967,

when after 19 years, the Jewish people were

able to return to the Old City and the Kotel.

Torah scrolls

כי מציון תצא תורה, ודבר ה’ מירושלים

For Torah will go forth from Zion,

and the Word of God from Jerusalem.

May this be a good start to the new month of Elul.

man blowing shofer

 חודש טוב