Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

The Jewish holidays fall early this year.

Upon turning the calendar page to September, one finds that Rosh Hashana is only a week way.

Not sure where the summer went or how the time flew so fast.

Children are back in school and holiday preparations have begun.

Gan Sacher new area with cafe and landscaping.

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is getting a major make-over.

The new cafe should be finished for holiday crowds.

Emek Refaim Shir Chadash pre-Selihot music Yehudah Katz

Music is filling the streets and concert halls.

Shir Chadash Synagogue on Emek Refaim sponsored a musical performance by Yehuda Katz.

Listen to a minute from the after-Shabbat performance in this video.

Night time in Yemin Moshe stairs

The streets of Yemin Moshe were quiet at night.

But inside the Yemin Moshe synagogue, the Solomon Brothers were leading selichot, the pre-Rosh Hashana prayers.

Newly painted lions before holidays in Jerusalem Israel

The twin lions in the Jewish Quarter near the steps to the Kotel, Western Wall, got a new coat of paint before the holidays. The next day, the eyes and detailing were added.

New elevator at Western Wall, steps blocked.

With construction for a new elevator access, the regular steps are blocked.

They had better work fast here before the holiday crowds arrive.

Night at Kotel, before Rosh Hashana night of selihos

The moon was a brilliant orange color in the sky over the Kotel.

A bit of the sounds of the night. Amazing how fast the moon had moved, I tried to get in in the video and did not succeed.

Though it was approaching midnight, people were coming and going, but there were no overflow crowds.

Night time at Western Wall Kotel, egalitarian area Robinson's Arch empty

The Robinson’s Arch area was empty as usual when I went to check.

Heichel Shlomo crowd on night of selichot

However, at Heichal Shlomo, the overflow crowd was also at the back door trying to get inside.

The Old City and the Great Synagogue were not where the crowds were for the first night of these selichot prayers. They were at First Station.

Takana Rishona at night

Walking past the vendor stands and restaurants of First Station, in the Hangar

Selihot in Jerusalem Israel with Yitzhak Meir at Takana Rishona

Yitzhak Meir was leading a musical selichot service.

His following has grown over the past few years, with a larger venue each year.

Crowd at First Station for Selichot

Thousands attended in the Hangar as he sang with musical accompaniment.

This was not your grandfather’s service, mumbling the words after midnight in a small shul.

Jerusalem Mayoral candidates dancing at Selihot

You may not see this again, but approaching the New Year, Jerusalem mayoral candidates danced together at the conclusion of selichot. 

Jerusalem mayor candidates holding hands

The race could get nasty after the holidays, but at least for one night, the candidates joined hands and were singing and dancing together. These photos are screen shots from You Tube video.

Politicians were out the first day of school to be photographed with children going back to class.

Rosh Hashana sign near Old City

Summer is over. Shana tova signs are up.

Second hand sale Yad2Fair in Jerusalem

It’s buying and selling season in stores, at second hand fairs on Jerusalem, Israel streets,

Man selling linen on Jerusalem Israel street before holiday

and from pop-up vendors of all sort of housewares for preparing for holidays.

Jerusalem street sign from FoZ for shana tova

From huge holiday wishes from Friends of Zion,

Rosh Hashana gift basket

to the Shana Tova gift basket I found at my door,

Sign for erev Rosh Hashana at Takana Rishona

and another evening of selihot and prayers at First Station, many are the signs of Jerusalem preparing for New Year.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah on porch

And yes already a week before Rosh Hashana, the first sukka was spotted.

Up on this porch, a family is prepared and ready in Mea Shearim,

Shana tova שנה טובה on side of building in Jerusalem Israel

At least for now, the faces of candidates for mayor are down, and holiday greetings are up.

Wishing all a successful school year and a very good New Year 5779.

שנה טובה וכתיבה וחתימה טובה

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.