A highlight in the Jerusalem Light Festival in the Old City is “Rainbow.”
Here is a video of the light projection on the Hurva Synagogue
with music and exclamations from the crowd. Shabbat Shalom.
Time sometimes seems to pass so quickly and other times so slowly. This week in a heat wave every minute outside seemed longer.
The history of Jerusalem goes back millennia, and 30 years is a mere blink of an eye.
The British began their governance of Jerusalem after centuries of Ottoman rule in December of 1917, and left in 1948. However, in those 30 years, Jerusalem changed drastically.
The British brought with them a new life of culture to the Middle East, and a new exhibit at the Tower of David Museum shares it with us.
Have you ever thought about how much changed over the 30 years of the British Mandate?
British soldiers needed their entertainment and liquor. Cafes such as Fink’s Bar and Restaurant offered oysters and other delicacies previously unknown.
The London in Jerusalem exhibit offers insights into life on the real Jerusalem streets.
Infrastructure was important, but so were cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
Some items in this exhibit would not be considered politically correct these days.
This is a map of Jerusalem given to British soldiers. The photo is one of dozens of old photos in a slide presentation.
One of the five sections of the exhibit highlights the British Palestine Broadcasting Service (PBS) which opened in March 1936. “This is Jerusalem Calling!” was followed by broadcasts in Hebrew and Arabic.
Posters announced the various shows, plays and events new to Jerusalem, including flower shows with trophies presented to the winners.
The Tower of David today hosts numerous events on this stage and can seat over 300 people.
In this old photo we can see how the space looked before it was excavated in the 1980’s.
Over the centuries the Tower of David was used for military purposes. It was the first British Governor Sir Ronald Storrs who envisioned it as a cultural venue.
The British also brought sports. A military sports day was held on Mount Scopus in 1934. I am not sure what the sport was on these camels. Perhaps polo?
There is a photo of the sports field behind the YMCA.
Notice those barren hills in the distance.
With the culture and music, the British brought new dances too.
On each side of the exhibition room, there are three panels over the thick stone walls, which change to show the passage of time.
If you could look out, in 1918, you would have seen the scene above
and in 1933, in the distance was the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.
Ah, 1934 was a good year, Happy Birthday King George.
But by 1946, streets were blocked, and barbed wire was up, Jerusalem streets were dangerous.
This salon is reconstructed as it would have been in Rechavia, and has original artifacts on display.
Oh, and the British brought tea and grand tea parties, too.
And Pimm’s for summer afternoon cocktails at parties on the lawn.
Besides bars and cafes, ten cinemas were opened in Jerusalem.
London in Jerusalem offers visitors also, a small theater recreated with wooden benches, to watch vintage footage from the 1930’s and 1940’s.
While Allenby at the Gates of Jeruslaem featured the military history of the time, London in Jerusalem is a walk down memory lane of the real streets.
Both exhibits are to run until December 2018.
I think older visitors will appreciate this exhibit more than younger ones, even with the modern technology included. Therefore, I was especially pleased to see that this exhibit is disabled and wheel chair accessible.
At night, you can come back to Tower of David for the new King David Night Spectacular
So much happens on the Jerusalem streets these days, however, it was interesting to see what was happening at the beginning of the century also.
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.
Some restaurants like this new humus place were closed tight for Passover.
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!”
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.
Pizza, rolls, sandwiches, pies, cakes and more…one of the best places for Passover food is in Jerusalem, Israel.
Mamilla Mall was busy and crowded with local shoppers and international tourists, plus entertainment and performances for children.
Another favorite was seeing the clothing in the Old City, with many dressed in their holiday finest, wearing every type of outfit imaginable.
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.
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.
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.
The Golden Menorah was moved near the Hurva Synagogue, where tourists were busy taking photos.
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?
It was reported 100,000 people were at Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, Monday morning.
In the afternoon and for most of the week, the Western Wall Plaza was still filled with families.
All day long tens of thousands of people came and went from the Old City.
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.
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.
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.
Children were playing as family members and friends were sitting and talking or playing sports.
Another extremely popular destination was the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.
Thousands of people wandered the grounds over Passover.
I was fascinated by these flowers in the pond. There is so much beauty in what was formerly a garbage dump.
There were planned and supervised activities for children,
as well as colorful flowers to capture their attention.
Nayot Park was one of dozens of Jerusalem parks where grills were going, smoke was rising, and matza was on the table.
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.
I will end with a video of the Birkat Kohanim,
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