10 Alternatives to Politics and Elections in  Jerusalem

10 Alternatives to Politics and Elections in Jerusalem

If you followed the headlines about Jerusalem, Israel, this week you saw elections, politics and more politics.

Party volunteers outside a Jerusalem voting place for Knesset 22

Our voting place was very quiet midday, though there were more party booths than last time. I went at that time hoping to interview voters in line, but there were none.

Jerusalem streets seemed strangely deserted on election day and the day after.

Israel election voting booth for Knesset 22

There were fewer paper ballots for political parties than the previous election so you might mistakenly think it would be simpler. President Rivlin has been busy working for a unity coalition government.

However, still, could we possibly go to election #3?

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I have cut an exhausting list down to 10 of many more happenings:

Mossad the movie at Jerusalem Cinema City

  1. GPO sponsored “Mossad the movie” a humorous diversion for invited media.

Palmach building site in Jerusalem Israel

2. But back on the streets, “A new beginning” was posted on this construction site near where we voted. I could write new construction and building posts every week!

President Rivlin hosts beekeepers before Rosh Hashana

3. In honor of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, President Reuven Rivlin had his annual meeting with beekeepers. Three generations attended. The President was presented with new honey, branded with a photo of his late wife Nechama on the label dedicated to her memory.

End of summer at Jerusalem Theatre Israel

4. You know it’s the end of summer, not only by the cooler evenings but also by the Jerusalem Theater festival.

Jerusalem Israel end of summer festival at Jerusalem Theater

On the nights from September 16-19, the plaza was filled with music and celebrants.

Music at First Station after Shabbat by Feter Hendel

5. More music at First Station, with live music before Shabbat at Kabalat Shabbat and after Shabbat, at the Melava Malka celebrations. These are regular free events featuring various musical entertainers.   The group Feter Hendel played for their first time at the open stage venue.

Beit Avi Chai is one of many other locations which has a special music event this week.

Yemin Moshe Jerusalem Israel at night

The streets of Yemin Moshe are usually dark and quiet at night.

6. However, the sounds of the Solomon Brothers’ musical selihot filled the alleyways after Shabbat for the first set of the Ashkenazi selihot, the annual prayers prior to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

sellichos in Yerushalayim at night in Yemin Moshe

As in the past, the women’s section was filled to overflowing and young women either stood outside to listen or left to find other services.

Jerusalem Great Synagogue on night selichos choir and chazan

At the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the choir and Chazan led selihot. 

7. Same prayers, but a very different sound than the music of the Solomon Brothers.

Thousands attended selihot services at a long list of locations around Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, cafes lining the streets were filled with diners, and wine glasses emptied.

One couple was sharing a sushi platter, away from the cool night breezes.

Skateboarders were flying through the air in the Liberty Bell Park skatepark.

I passed dozens of tourists walking to late-night activities.

This time of year, before the holidays, weddings and engagement parties are planned.

Jerusalem Israel near Mamilla Mall an engagement site with flowers and lights and music.

But for the first time, I happened upon an elaborate set up for a wedding proposal! It looked like she said yes.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion with Bonei Zion Prize winners

8. The Tower of David hosted the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize Award Ceremony.

Mazel tov balloon

Mazel tov to all!

Colorful Israeli sunset

Headlines were filled with political positioning. But of those sunsets this time of year!

We also hear people are reading fewer books.

9. But in Jerusalem book launches seem more frequent. I shared here about Rabbi Meir Soloveichik’s new book. Recently Freddy Freundlich’s Born on the Right Side of the Tracks was a compelling story. Last week Cheri Tenenbaum launched her personal story in “Woman of Few Words.”

“Palestine Posts” compiled by Daniel Chertoff with a first-hand account of Jerusalem in 1947- 1949 was launched.  Chertoff read from the powerful and beautifully written letters of his father Mordecai Chertoff z”l who worked at the Zionist ‘Palestine Post’ which became the ‘Jerusalem Post’ during the critical years of the founding of the State of Israel.

10. Big excitement in sports – the Israeli Baseball team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!

Jerusalem contemporary art festival sign

And what’s next? For Heaven’s Sake!

The Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, with 200 artists, 30 exhibitions in 14 venues. The full listings can be found HERE

Table with honey and cakes and Shana tova, New Year Rosh Hashana

From the land of milk and honey, it is time for apples and honey for the new year 5780.

Jerusalem public bus with Rosh Hashana greeting of Shana Tova in Hebrew

Shana Tova!

Happy New Year from Jerusalem!

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.