Best of Passover in Jerusalem

Best of Passover in Jerusalem

The Passover holiday in Jerusalem, Israel, is always a busy time with so much to do.

After days of cleaning and shopping, and a late night seder, what next?

This year I decided not to spend hours in the car along with millions of other Israelis going to lush camping sights and sandy beaches, but rather to stay home and explore what Jerusalem has to offer.

Now to share with you some of the best of Jerusalem for Passover this year 5778.

Where else to start, but with food.

Jerusalem Israel humus shop closed for Pesach

Some restaurants like this new humus place were closed tight for Passover.

Kosher for Pesach Holy Bagel and Shwarma in Old City for Pesach

But not to worry, in Jerusalem, there was an abundance of kosher for Passover places to eat. This Holy Bagel in the Old City is not only mehadrin kosher, but “KOSHER without fear of legumes!”

Pesach pizza and matza in Mamilla Mall for Pesach

With baskets of matza on the table, this potato crust pizza looked good enough to eat. People were standing in lines for seats to taste for themselves.

Pesach in Jerusalem food displayed in window for Pesach

Pizza, rolls, sandwiches, pies, cakes and more…one of the best places for Passover food is in Jerusalem, Israel.

Pesach crowd in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem, Israel, with two Muslim women walking through the mall

Mamilla Mall was busy and crowded with local shoppers and international tourists, plus entertainment and performances for children.

Pesach in Jerusalem, people dressed in varied clothing

Another favorite was seeing the clothing in the Old City, with many dressed in their holiday finest, wearing every type of outfit imaginable.

View of Tower of David inside Citadel on spring day of Passover

With so many activities for families, it was hard to decide what to do first, as dozens of museums and sites were free for children. The Tower of David had families walking, touring, and climbing.

Ramparts walk in Jerusalem on Pesach

From the Tower of David you could see the Old City ramparts walk with tourists going along the top of the walls of the Old City.

Volunteers pouring water to give away to visitors to Old City on Pesach

Days were warm and the sun beat down midday. But volunteers were in several locations in Old City offering cups of water, free to all who walked by.

Menorah in Rova in front of Hurva Shul for construction of new elevator to Western Wall Kotel

The Golden Menorah was moved near the Hurva Synagogue, where tourists were busy taking photos.

Construction fence at site of new elevator for access to Kotel near steps where menorah had been before in Jewish Quarter

This menorah is a photo posted near where the gold one was located. The Western Wall elevator is to be constructed here.

Remember I said every type of clothing imaginable? How about a Betar uniform from the 1920’s?

Pesach crowd in Kotel plaza after Birkat Kohanim on Pesach

It was reported 100,000 people were at Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, Monday morning.

Afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach at Kotel

In the afternoon and for most of the week, the Western Wall Plaza was still filled with families.

Visitors to Western Wall Plaza from Rova on afternoon of Chol HaMoed Pesach

All day long tens of thousands of people came and went from the Old City.

Visitors line up to go to Temple Mount on Passover afternoon

This line was not at the security entrance leading to the women’s section, but just a long line of tourists waiting to access the Temple Mount.

Pesach afternoon and egalitarian space at Western Wall was empty

The egalitarian section, however, was almost empty. On the right of this photo, if you look very closely, you can see children playing near the stones from the Second Temple.

While so many were in the Old City, other Jerusalem locations were also holiday destinations.

Gan Sacher on Pesach with people grilling and lounging

In Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, smoke filled the air with dozens of extended families grilling meat for large meals, with boxes of matza on the tables.

Passover in Jerusalem, Israel, in Gan Sacher

Children were playing as family members and friends were sitting and talking or playing sports.

Another extremely popular destination was the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens pond on Passover

Thousands of people wandered the grounds over Passover.

Pond lily in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

I was fascinated by these flowers in the pond. There is so much beauty in what was formerly a garbage dump.

Jerusalem Botanical Gardens children's activity on Passover

There were planned and supervised activities for children,

Boy and girl looking at flowers in Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

as well as colorful flowers to capture their attention.

Jerusalem park on Pesach with people eating and grilling

Nayot Park was one of dozens of Jerusalem parks where grills were going, smoke was rising, and matza was on the table.

One parking spot is worth standing until your car arrives in Jerusalem on Passover

Driving in many locations took much longer than usual. Finding parking was not always easy. A free parking spot in a good location was worth saving.

There were varied musical events at night, too numerous to list.

Old places like Hansen House were full of activity.

So much was happening in Jerusalem this Passover week.

More photos: Old City HERE    Gan Sacher HERE   Botanical Gardens  HERE

I will end with a video of the Birkat Kohanim,

Pesach in Gan Sacher two little boys palying

and one of my favorite photos, of these young cousins getting to know each other at a Gan Sacher picnic.

Wishing all a good holiday and Shabbat Shalom

 

KING DAVID: Lasers New Light from Jerusalem

KING DAVID: Lasers New Light from Jerusalem

I love going to the Tower of David.

Visits to the Tower of David Museum for fashion, photos of the old days, or the 100 years celebration of Allenby, all were fascinating.

Nothing tops the photo ops of night-time events in the citadel of the Tower of David.

Night at Tower of David Jerusalem, Israel

Waiting outside at night, dwarfed by those ancient towering stone walls, an awesome feeling to historical past, that never gets old.

Jerusalem Israel Tower of David at night

The views inside the citadel, on the platforms above Jerusalem, Israel, are amazing.

A chance to see the new night experience KING DAVID, was not one to pass up.

Jerusalem, Israel, Tower of David citadel at night

Pre-show lighting of the inside walls runs for 15 minutes, as up to 420 visitors are seated.

Modern laser technology casts words on the walls of old.

Tower of David pre-show lighting for KING DAVID

On a cool, humid night, the city lights turned the sky shades of pink, not the usual black sky, contrasting with the intricate light patterns.

One is to imagine David escaping to the oasis of Ein Gedi by the light projections all around the inside walls.

Tower of David Museum flowing waters on walls of citadel

Cascading, flowing water is yet another scene.

Introducing KING DAVID new sound and light show Tower of David

After the introduction of the evening, the sound of the musical performance surrounds, while the laser projectors illuminate with 250,000 lumens and 35 million pixels.

KING DAVID show begins with art inspired by his story Jerusalem Israel

David has inspired countless works of art by major sculptors and painters over the centuries.

In this latest creation, scenes change rapidly, going through the life story of King David.

KING DAVID scene of Ruth in fields of Bethlehem Jerusalem Israel Tower of David

The historical narrative begins with Ruth, David’s great-grandmother, gathering wheat from the fields.

Scene young David at Tower of David show Jerusalem Israel

There is David as a shepherd tending to his flock in the pasture, and here with Samuel the Prophet.

Not all is bright and cheerful.

There is the story of fighting the Philistines and David with Goliath.

Nit laser and sound show Tower of David Jerusalem Israel

Can you find what is real and what is light projected against the stone walls?

Tower of David night show scene with harp Jerusalem Israel

David the musician plays the harp for King Saul, as walls are made to resemble tents.

Scene in Tower of David 12 tribes of Israel Jerusalem

The 12 Tribes of Israel settled in Israel with Jerusalem as their capital.

Tower of David laser and light show KING DAVID Jerusalem

The Ark of the Covenant is brought to Jerusalem.

Scene of celebration Tower of David story of KING DAVID

People dance and rejoice in the streets of Jerusalem.

Tower of David light show KING DAVID Jerusalem Israel

There are so many stories of David’s life, each one famous on its own.

Scene with King playing card Tower of David show Jerusalem Israel

The Tower of David Museum ‘Night Spectacular’ centered on the building of Jerusalem over the centuries.

This new night light spectacular features, David, King of Israel, David HaMelech.

Tower of David scene of David the Poet with psalm on wall Jerusalem

You see his palace, to enter by candle light.

Besides being a warrior, David is also credited with composing the Book of Psalms.

Jerusalem rejoicing in final scene of KING DAVID at Tower of David

For the finale, after King David looks out into the starry night sky above Jerusalem, the City of David, doves fly above musicians and joyous people.

Musical ending for KING DAVID at Tower of David Jerusalem Israel

Let’s all pray for peace in Jerusalem.

The Night Spectacular has been running for ten years,

and will continue to be shown.

One of the most famous psalms, Chapter 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” is featured in the following video.

Still not enough? The following is a two-minute video of the early action of the laser and light show which runs 31 minutes.

KING DAVID opens at the Tower of David on April 1, 2018.

What a Week in Jerusalem: Presidents, Parliamentarians, Ambassadors and More

The third week in February is always a busy time in Jerusalem, Israel.

Unlike the US, where only one February weekend celebrates President George Washington,

Street sign George Washington in Jeruaslem

here in Jerusalem, Washington is honored all year long, and  Abraham Lincoln is right around the corner. 

The annual Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization, COP, had over a hundred leaders participating in this year’s mission.

Football numbered shirt presented to President Rivlin in Jerusalem

COP Presidents were greeted by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who received this numbered jersey from a visiting US football player, who were in Israel on a tour.

Malcolm Hoenlein looks up at Jewish football player Geoff Schwartz at CoP dinner in Jerusalem Israel

Jewish football player Geoff Schwartz presented COP CEO Malcolm Hoenlein with a shirt.  Hoelein is looking up, seconds before he stood on a chair to get a better view.

Ambassador Friedman and Tammy Friedman

Also at the opening gala were US Ambassador David Friedman and his wife Tammy.

Dr Leah Goldin with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem

President Rivlin consoles Dr. Leah Goldin, mother of Hadar Goldin z”l, whose remains are being held captive in Gaza.  There was another birthday of Hadar’s this week, 3 1/2 years after Hamas killed him, after agreeing to a cease fire.

Parents of Avera Mengistu at dinner CoP to raise awareness of their son held captive 3 years by Hamas

Also sharing their plight with the Presidents were the family of Avera Mengistu, and their spokesperson.  Over 3 years ago, the mentally challenged Avera wandered over the Gaza border and was kidnapped by Hamas.

Five former Israeli Ambassadors speak to Conference of Presidents at Waldorf Astoria

This was a not just a week for presidents, but for ambassadors too. On the dais in the Waldorf-Astoria Jerusalem ballroom, these five former Israeli ambassadors to the US, Moshe Arens, Sallai Meridor, Ron Prosor, Zalman Shoval and Itamar Rabinovich, shared their experiences.

Israeli Knesset hosts International Parliamentary heads at conference

At the Knesset, over 30 International Parliamentary Heads came to Jerusalem to share their knowledge at a Knesset Conference.

With all these important international leaders in Jerusalem, the most impressive session I attended went unreported.

Insights into Israel Bedouin girl at Israeli University excelling in STEM education

Entrepreneurs Dr. Yossi Vardi and SanDisk CEO Shahar Bar-Or, introduced Sereen to the COP Presidents after lunch at the Inbal Hotel.

Sereen is a 15 year-old Bedouin girl who grew up near Beer Sheva, and is an outstanding STEM student in an Israeli university. Her father’s cousin is a professor in both Stony Brook and Ben Gurion Universities, and promotes good education as key to success. Sereen, seated on the left wearing a dark hijab, is at the table with other promising Israeli young women. Her very proud mother is seen on the right in a tan colored head covering.

African American basketball players in Israel

Presidents, parliamentarians, and ambassadors, and even professional football players, are not the real streets. A new book “Alley-Oop to Aliyah” tells us about over 800 African-American basketball players who came to Israel over the years to play basketball. They loved it. Some stayed and made aliyah, and their children are playing ball and serve in the IDF.

Jerusalem Marathon 2018 huge announcement near Jaffa Gate

Out on the streets, this week’s Jerusalem’s Shaon Horef, Winter Noise, location was Jaffa Gate.

Shaon Horef שאון חורף ן Old City Jaffa Gate

Light projections and music played on inside Jaffa Gate at multiple locations.

Tower of David for Shaon Horef Jerusalem Monday night event in Februrary

Hundreds of people were climbing the steps throughout the Tower of David after dark.

Music and dancing at Jaffa Gate for Winter Noise event

The presidents were so close, they could have wandered over to see the crowds and danced along next to the walls of Tower of David at this free event.

Jerusalem Israel wild flowers growing in Valley of Cross

This was not a week to be cooped up all day in meetings! Look down and you see flowers blooming.

Clouds and colored sky photo Jerusalem sunset over Israel Museum

Look up and you could see magnificent sunsets.

Jerusalem Marathon finish line ready for races in March

A finish line is up next to Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, for the Jerusalem Marathon on March 9.

Happy Purim Jerusalem street posters

But first Purim.  Jerusalem street signs wish everyone a “Happy Purim.”

Preparations for costumes and food and meals are well under way. Young school children can be seen wearing their crowns on the streets. The not so young are also planning their holiday costumes.  There may be presidents this week, but next week there will be queens and kings and many more important personalities.