5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

The full moon was shining over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Red balloons were tied outside of restaurants, street cafes, and wine bars.

Celebrations had begun for Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentines Day,” the week after  Tisha B’Av. 

Extra security was posted along the path between Yemin Moshe and Sultan’s Pool, where the Jerusalem Film Festival was having its opening night.

Scene 1:

Female Israeli security guarding at night Jerusalem

In the shadows, were three Ethiopian-Israeli women in uniform posted on guard duty by the gate.

Artists Colony at night Jerusalem Israel

The Artists’ Colony was empty, until the International Arts Festival, from August 6 – 18.

Teddy Park Fountain lit at night Jerusalem Israel

But nearby the fountain in Teddy Park was full. Day and night, all summer long, one hears the squeals of children enjoying the water and at night, there is music too.

Scene 2:

Jerusalem Teddy Park Fountain at night Muslim women and children and Jewish women and children

Teddy Park is a place where Muslims and Jews come together regularly, night and day.

Lights on walls of Jerusalem Old city at night

The Old City Walls were lit for the Tu B’Av crowds to enjoy.

Israeli Squash Tournament near Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Old City

In keeping with the RJS theme: “What will you find next on the Jerusalem streets?” the Israeli Squash Tournament was being held near Jaffa Gate.

Israel Squash Tournament in Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate

Israeli athletes competed in a specially constructed area,

Israeli Squash Tournament at Jaffa Gate

playing for large trophies,

Israel Squash Tournament trophies

lots of large trophies and medals for various age groups.

People watching Squash Tournament including Jerusalem Mayor

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was sitting front and center watching a game.

Scene 3:

Arab couple and children watching Squash Tournament in Jerusalem Israel near Jaffa Gate

As they strolled through the plaza, this young Muslim family stopped to watch.

People watching Squash Tournament in Israel near Jerusalem Jaffa Gate

However, I thought this was one event best seen on TV.

Jaffa Gate Tower of David full moon

The moon was shining above as I walked from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Night of Tu B'Av men at Kotel

The men’s section had many empty chairs and tables.

Tu B'Av women at night at Kotel praying

However, the women’s section was filled with hundreds of women–there was not one empty seat.

Scene 4:

Women praying at Kotel on Tu BeAv

One group praying together was of special interest. Israeli women from across the religious spectrum came from north and south to pray together.

After praying in unison at the Kotel, dozens of women arrived to join them for a Tu B’Av celebration nearby.

Tourists at night at Kotel taking photos

The Old City was filled with thousands of people, tourist groups, and Israelis of all ages. Photos and selfies galore were taken by excited visitors.

Scene 5:

IDF soldier carrying a baby being helped by Haredi men near Kotel on stairs

I will leave you with one last scene on the stairs near the Kotel.

A young IDF soldier was holding a baby on this left arm and a folded stroller on his right arm, with backpacks dangling over his shoulder and his kippa in his hand.

First, one man insisted on taking the stroller from him and up the stairs. Then another young man turned to help to carry the backpacks.

None of these five scenes are considered headline worthy.

But all happened on the night of Tu B’Av on the Jerusalem streets.

With headlines of division, strikes and protests, 5 scenes of comfort, of rays of light in the darkness.

 

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE

9 New Holiday Scenes in Jerusalem

 Jerusalem, Israel,

is old and new and constantly changing.

These birds flying over the ancient walls of the Old City

Jerusalem migrating birds

are migrating as they have for centuries,

though those powerful lights are new.

Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Israel new window display

The Waldorf-Astoria has new window displays.

Jerusalem Israel sunset view

New towers are being built,

 the Jerusalem skyline is changing.Mamilla Mall view at sunset from near Jaffa Gate

At the David Citadel Hotel, those white things in the distance

are balconies being prepared for Sukkot holiday meals.

View of Jaffa Gate from outside Jerusalem Israel

I was at Jaffa Gate at sunset

and looked up at the Tower of David,

Tower of David, Jerusalem Israel Old City

to see something new on top.

That is a special cork sukka designed as part of the

 3rd Jerusalem Jewish Contemporary Art Biennale,

by artist Avner Sher.

At the Jaffa Gate below there is nothing new,

Keporos at Old City with live bird

just this man performing the kapparot ritual

moving around a live chicken.

Man waving bird over head of two women for Keporos at Jaffa Gate Jerusalem

These women did not look as comfortable with

the ancient custom to absolve one’s sins before Yom Kippur.

Jerusalem Old City train for tourist to Western Wall

The new Old City Train was ready bright and ready to go.

Lights of new food places above Cardo in Old City Jerusalem Israel

Here are two new bright signs above the Old Cardo.

Jerusalem Israel new sound and light show City of David

The City of David has a new sound and light show.

Jewish second temple stone found in excavation under site of new police station

This decorative stone from the Second Temple is a new find

 by archaeologists near the Kotel, the Western Wall.

I went to the Old City before Yom Kippur,

Western Wall selihos booklet for late night Selihot at the Kotel.

Synagogue Old City Sephardi

While the synagogues were quiet that night,

New police station and roof of building near Kotel for selihot

from the new observation spot above the

new police station building

Western Wall Plaza full of people for sehlhos after midnight

the crowd stretched further than my lens could capture.

Kotel for Selihot 5778 Jerusalem Old City Israel

Tens of thousands of people kept arriving

though it was well after midnight.

Women at Kotel for Selichot 5778

Would selfies at the Kotel be considered new?

Jerusalem Israel Old City view of Western Wall and dome of Rock at night

The dome and wall are certainly not new,

but always impressive sight lit up at night,

so late that no transportation was in sight.

For the last time this year,

Bus from Old City with sign Gmara Hatima Tova

here is a bus with the Yom Kippur greeting,

“Gmar Hatima tova”

“May you be sealed for a good year.”

Now that is old too.

As soon as Yom Kippur ended in Jerusalem,

Jerusalem Israel sukka on a balcony

sukkot started popping up.

If you would like to not only see the Kotel scene,

but hear a bit of the selihot prayer,

I am sharing this short video:

Now it is time to prepare for new holiday and guests.

חג שמח

Chag sameach.