In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Be the Best you can Be

In Jerusalem, Israel, September days seem to be cooler.

Then along comes a hot day and a humid night.

But summer is over and back to busy schedules.

This was a busy week, one of those when it was hard to decide which events to attend.

Israeli champion female football team, winning soccer players

President Rivlin hosted Israel’s best female football (soccer) players today.

The ASA Tel Aviv team, second-time champions, brought their winner’s cup to Beit Hanasi.

Beit Hanasi President Rivlin posing with women form Movilot

On Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin hosted religious women from Movilot, an organization that promotes employment for ultra-Orthodox women in Israel.

Rivka Ravitz his long-serving Chief of Staff was there for the morning event.

Later in the day, it was announced that she gave birth to her 12th child.

President Rivlin Chief of Staff Rivka Ravitz at Beit Hanasi

I hesitated and did not take a photo of Rivka in the morning, but here is one from last year.

She was always at the President’s side, but stays out of the photographer’s view.

President Rivlin GPO IDF Spokesperson photo for 80th birthday
photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

The next day without his faithful assistant, the President received a birthday cake.

“There is nothing more thrilling than to celebrate your 80th birthday with the youngest and most daring brigade in the army. With you, I feel safe and young. In Pirke Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), it says ‘80 years old for heroism.’ But you, you are the real heroes.”

Israel Committee Logistic Center

The September 17 election day is approaching. Before the previous election on a trip to the logistic center, we were told how the day after an election they begin to prepare for the next one.

Israeli election logistic center workers

Did anyone really believe then that indeed we would have an election again so soon?

The only thing for sure about this election is that no one really knows what will happen.

Avigdor Liberman at Israel Knesset Opening

What I can tell you with certainty is there is a new film called”Leiber-Man” directed by Nurit Kedar.  Because of election laws, it cannot be shown on Israeli TV until after the polls have closed on election day. Kedar received invaluable film footage from Alexander Gentelev before he passed away which she incorporated brilliantly in her documentary.

Avigdor Liberman arrived in Israel as a 20-year-old and started working at the airport handling luggage the next day. He has held many senior government positions other than Prime Minister. How his actions will affect the next Knesset will be more clear next week.

I am staying away from political debate and moving on to graffiti.

Jerusalem Israel graffiti

Some of the recent graffiti has been colorful.

If you want, some of the recent photos of ugly graffiti are here.

Jerusalem Israel one year in Guatemala Embassy

This sign for Guatemala was put up over vandalized Honduras thank you. 

Why mention graffiti this week?

Foot bridge near Begin Center in Jerusalem Israel

On my way to the Cinematheque for the “Leiber-man” documentary, I looked down and saw this inscription on the footbridge over Derech Hevron, Hebron Road.

Promised Land on path over Hebron Road Jerusalme Israel

I had to stop, look, think, and go back again.

View from Hevron Road foot bridge of Old City

This view from the pedestrian bridge is one I try and share with participants of photo walks. 

The walls of the Old City are across the Sultan’s Pool. Looking in this direction, Jaffa Gate is in the distance.

This area was part of No Man’s Land from 1948-1967.

View of Old City from foot bridge near Begin Center

I wonder who did this.  What will happen next in the promised land is hard to predict.

Muslim women in Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel

I do know – that nearby Muslim women were having a picnic in Liberty Bell Park.

Inbal hotel welcome banner

Next to the park at the Inbal Hotel, a large welcome sign was up for international delegates for the Declaration of Our Common Destiny.

Common Destiny meeting with Israeli President

Its lofty aim is to support President Rivlin’s challenge to engage unity within diversity. When meeting the scholars and advisors at Beit Hanasi, he said:

“The miracle of the Jewish people is not only that we survived for thousands of years. The miracle is that, despite the fact that we were spread all over the world, speak different languages and developed different traditions, we always were one people. Despite our differences, we remained bound by our shared history, our core values and beliefs, our Book of Books, and our commitment to improving the world. It helped that our enemies always saw us as one people. Our enemies don’t see any difference between one stream of Judaism and another: Secular, Haredi, Reform, Conservative, Masorti – for them we are all Jews. “

Banners at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem Israel

I heard about a very different and special mission which was based at the Inbal Hotel.

The special Children’s Center Israel Trip sounded impressive.

I thank my friend for telling me about Yaakov Shwekey’s family and how they brought a group of special needs children on an amazing trip of a lifetime to Israel.

Oh, there was so much more, but enough for now.

Be the best you can be.

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

Jerusalem: Layers of History Underground

It is obvious the future skyline of Jerusalem, Israel, is changing daily, as buildings go up and up.

But centuries of history of Jerusalem are underground going back thousands of years.

Jerusalem Western Wall plaza view

This is the image most think of when mentioning Jerusalem of old.

But under the Jerusalem, Israel streets layers of history are being revealed daily.

View of southern excavations old City Jerusalem

Along the southern side of the Old City Walls, the new excavations can be seen by everyone.

Givati parking lot archaeological site outside walls of Old City Jerusalem

The intricate archaeological work under the Givati Parking lot is another site open to the public.

Givati Parking lot excavation

Across from the Old City Walls, not far from Dung Gate, centuries-old houses are being restored.

Roman remains in Jerusalem archaeological dig

The remains of Roman domination in Jerusalem are on display.

House under excavation in Givati pakring lot in Jerusalem Israel near old City walls.

One new discovery was a two-story house. The destruction by Rome of Jerusalem was so powerful that the upper level of this house fell on top of the lower one and a two-meter high piece of the structure was unearthed.

Givati Parking lot excavation

As in other Ir David finds of the historic time period, blackened remnants from the destructive fires were discovered in this house.

I opted to take photos from above and not enter the bedroom below.

Jerusalem drainage route unearthed and from Givati parking lot to Western Wall

But below we did go.

We followed the path of the drainage system of Jerusalem to the Shiloah pool in the Kidron Valley, which was under the Jerusalem streets in the time of the Romans.

Map of old city Jerusalem in Givati Parking lot

This map shows the route of the planned Pilgrims Path which is being excavated and made safe for tourists.

Another layer under the old street has been found, the drainage channel from which the last Jews of Second Temple times tried to hide and escape from the Romans.

picture of Jerusalem in time of Rome

This poster illustrates the street scene in more pleasant ancient times and the drainage channel which ran below it.

However, the last Jews of Jerusalem did not escape to Masada.

They were discovered hiding in the drainage channel by the Romans and all murdered.

The artifacts they left behind are being revealed daily at the Sifting Project in the Zurim Valley.

Drainage path under Jerusalem during Roman times

Today large portions of the drainage channel have been careful revealed by archeologists.

From the Givati Parking lot, we surfaced at the base of the Western Wall.

Jerusalem Israel Western Wall stones of destruction from Rome

Here are stones from the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, tossed away and remaining today.

Stone with ancient markings in Jerusalem Old city

Pieces of stone with Temple carvings are in this area by the Davidson Southern Excavations.

Under your feet, almost anywhere in Jerusalem’s Old City are layers of history.

Jerusalem Israel under ground archaeological discoveries

A new excavation under the Western Wall exposed a very old mikvah, a ritual bath.

Digging under Western Wall

Work in this area leads archeologists to believe the Greeks were building a theater that was never completed.

Stones of Western Wall under ground

More sections of the Western Wall stones have been revealed under the present street level.

Jerusalem Israel Davidson Archaeological Park and view of Har Hazetim

The Davidson Southern Excavation is continuing with new discoveries, with the view of the Mount of Olives in the background and Al-Aqsa Mosque on the left.

Children in Jewish Quarter on trip

Children, tour groups, thousands of all ages filled the Jerusalem Old City streets during the Nine Days leading up to Tisha B’Av.

Sitting on stone in Jerusalem Israel reading Eicha on Tisha b'Av

People sat on the ground, on Jerusalem stones to hear Eicha, the book of Lamentations, at night.

Tens of thousands arrived all night long for Tisha B’Av at the Kotel, the Western Wall.

There was so much more I could share, but I will conclude with two favorites on Tisha B’Av.

Jerusalem Israel Tisha B'Av old man walking

This gentleman with a lovely English accent, born in 1931, took a head start before the group walking around the walls of the Old City. He said that he comes most every year for the last 25-years.  Later during the walk, he refused any help, and his only complaint was timing to get to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv after Shabbat.

Kessim, Ethiopian religious leaders, have been coming to the Kotel each year before Tisha B’Av to pray.

Before Tisha B'Av Kez, Ethiopian religious leaders visit Jerusalem to pray

Near the Kotel, under this old archway, three of the men, from the larger group of Kessin all dressed in white who were on a tour, stopped to talk.

Think about it–their traditions went back to the times of the First Temple.

They arrived in Jerusalem to find Zion, Jerusalem, the First Temple had been destroyed.

Another ancient war, another layer of history yet to be revealed.

On and below the Jerusalem streets, old and new, constantly evolving.

Though  15 Real Photos of Arab Girls was the most popular RJS post.

I hope you enjoyed these bits of archeological finds, there are more to share next time.