Jerusalem Streets Preparing for Passover, Protests, and Spring Holiday Time

The week before Pesach, Passover, many houses are turned upside down and kitchens are cleaned and changed over for the holiday.

Children are out of school – but are they ready to help and clean?

The current Knesset is on recess after a tumultuous session. 

The good news, the Knesset Museum is showing positive signs of progress.

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One place you did not find me was standing on the street across from Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence waiting to photograph Knesset Members coming and going for meetings on a judicial reform compromise.

I did pass by Natan Sharansky but decided not to put my camera in his face.

Not only pots, pans, and kitchenware are out on the Jerusalem streets, but large displays of toilet paper stand there next to the fresh produce.

Some streets were easier to access than others this week due to the protests.

Plenty of Israeli flags were flying above the streets, as usual before the spring holidays, while others were carried to protest locations.

People came from all directions, for both a protest against the government, as well as one supporting Judicial reform. Sorry for those who arrived in Jerusalem by train on Monday and had to walk, as buses were not getting through the blocked streets.

The fountain at France Square was behind a barrier. I will spare you photos of the stronger metal barriers found on more and more Jerusalem streets.

In spite of it all –

Signs have gone up on old buildings to go higher in remodeling projects.

The Jerusalem skyline is changing as new buildings go higher and higher.

One hundred and twenty-five years later, Theodore Herzl would certainly not recognize Jerusalem today.

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Beit Avi Chai has new posters announcing spring and summer events.

A new non-profit called OurPeople was established to help Russian-speaking Olim who have come recently in increasing numbers.

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This is one room in the new business complex that OurPeople opened this past week on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem.

Love those old tiled floors in all the rooms.

The spring weather has not been the best, but nevertheless, there were activities for young families in the parks on Shabbat.

And on Friday there was a bike ride around Jerusalem. Those Jerusalem streets were not closed for long when the dozens of bikes went by.

The Community Center on HaPalmach Street held a mini-fair on Friday. The weather was cold, but the families attending seemed to be enjoying the events, especially those inside. Notice the box outside for food donations of chametz, food not for Passover use goes to those in need.

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It seems as if all the Jerusalem flower beds are constantly dug up and replanted with new flowers for the spring holiday time.

And weddings! So many weddings with people coming from around the world to get married in Jerusalem before Passover.

The hotel had changed over to Passover-only food. But unless you saw the sign on the front door or missed seeing bread on the table you would never have known. Amazing what can be done using potatoes these days!

Government offices are to be closed from Wednesday, April 5, through Saturday, April 15, 2023. But the rest of the country will be busy exploring and enjoying nature parks and museums.

In Jerusalem, there are too many things happening to mention now.

Will have to see how many I am able to attend in the short time of Chol HaMoed, the intermediate days this year, starting with Birkat Cohanim, Priestly Blessing scheduled for next Sunday morning.

Happy Passover on the wall of Old City Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate

Happy Passover


The Real Jerusalem Streets

Jerusalem in November: More than Elections

At the beginning of November when the clocks changed it was dark so early that 7:00 pm felt like midnight in Jerusalem, Israel.

But the long dark nights are good for noticing the new spots where lights have been added, like here on the top of Mishkanot HaSha’ananim with the Montefiore Windmill in the distance.

The work on France Square and Paris Fountain resumed as new sod was brought and placed instead of the fake grass.

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Work went well after dark to complete the landscaping.

Signs on a temporary barrier warned people to keep off the real grass.

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As construction fences come down more new buildings are visible.

The election for the 25th Knesset took over this week’s news and headlines, with commentators around the world projecting opinions.

The boxes of the low-tech paper slips with letters from the various parties were kept filled so as not to reveal what party was more popular.

But in our neighborhood, the letter ל – lamed – filled the streets. Election Day was a public holiday and student drivers were out in droves for lessons.

My first time voting in a new location and I thought that these steps were cute with colors and names in English. However, on closer look when I got home, I noticed that it was “ORENGE” instead of orange.

But more happened this week in Jerusalem than just the elections.

Aliyah Day was overshadowed by the elections, good thing there is another chance to celebrate Olim in the spring on yud Nissan.

The Zalman Shazar Prize for Jewish History was awarded at Beit Hanasi.

The award recipients sat in the front row with President and Michal Herzog in the President’s Residence main reception room.

Chili Tropper spoke at the event, perhaps for the last time with the expected changes of government, as Minister of Culture and Sports.

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Yesh Atid, but what the future will be for Yair Lapid and his administration is unknown.

Also, this week at Beit Hanasi, was an event hosted by the President for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, which he will head this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Significantly, a woman working for better Bedouin living conditions was included in the program along with government ministers.

I missed the photo op outside of the President with tech leaders, as the door to the smaller diplomatic room was open for the first time in weeks. Renovations were completed and the room has a new look in shades of blue, with new furniture and upholstery in the special seating areas.

Looking back at the yellow decor of the past, I found one of the first photos I took in this room almost 10 years ago.

Almost time for new Chief Rabbis–those who are saying that five elections in under four years were enough, should get ready for more elections when 2023 comes around.

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People come and go, however, one constant in Jerusalem at Beit Hanasi, is the Presidential Cat, but even he was up a tree this past week.

The Jerusalem International Animation Festival, the Einstein Festival, and more new signs are along the Jerusalem streets for November events.

On November 9th, for the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Walter Bingham is to be honored near Jaffa Gate with his image projected on the walls during the Jerusalem commemoration. Walter is the oldest working journalist and is busy planning for his 99th birthday in a few weeks.

If you don’t know his story, Google it, it’s a great one, but way too long for now.

November 23-26 is time for the 10th Piano Festival at the Jerusalem Theater.

The new Jerusalem signs are up to warn to prepare for the winter weather.

In Jerusalem in November, winter is approaching with long dark nights. But it also means the vivid colors of the flowers lining the Jerusalem streets are out during the daylight hours.

Come and see for yourself, on a Jerusalem Photo Walk, what’s really happening on Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Passover Photo Favorites

The Passover holiday has ended in Jerusalem, Israel, and around the world.

When we awoke on Sunday morning, the Knesset building was shrouded by the dense haze/sand in the air. Not a favorite sight to photograph.

Even with the indoor mask law lifted last night, I would advise wearing one outside today on the Jerusalem streets!

But before we move on to the Yoms, starting with Yom HaShoah on Wednesday night, there were special scenes of this past week I want to share.

The wall of Jerusalem’s Old City near Jaffa Gate was lit up at night with a colorful Pesach Sameach, Happy Passover greeting for the week.

As the holiday was to begin, windows had to be closed to keep out the smoke from the burning of chametz, as the last bread or pasta was taken out of the house and burned in countless fires around Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem streets were quieter than usual, with less construction going on over the holiday period.

The excited sounds of tourists returning were pleasant to hear instead.

The Kotel, Western Wall, was the main attraction for most visitors.

There was a tour group at the egalitarian section when I was there.

The main Birchat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, was held twice to accommodate more people with less crowding, the same as last year.

The damage caused to Al Aqsa Mosque by rioting thugs was evident in the broken windows you can see above. On another night of rioting, their firebombs caused an old olive tree on the Temple Mount to catch fire. Meanwhile, after Israeli security cleared the area, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were able to pray there peacefully for Ramadan.

Security was on higher alert and patrolling strategic locations.

This woman became a favorite when she bent down to explain to her young daughter not to be scared since the security was there to protect her.

The magnificent horses of the security patrols are always a favorite, even better when all they have to do is sit and watch the crowd.

Holiday music along the Jerusalem streets is also a favorite sight and sound.

You know the visitors are back when the port-a-johns are on the move.

Is a Greek flag on your mask a good sign of security for this Greek official out and about with his son?

Good to see these usually closed doors along the Armenian Road wide open.

Jerusalem streets require a protest sign, and this one is against the internet.

Some of the days of Passover were hot, others cold, but on one hot day the Iriyia, Jerusalem Municipality, gave out bottles of water that were much appreciated.

Multiple places in the old city sold bottled water, but along s main walking route to the Kotel, one family was giving away water to those who stopped and recited the appropriate blessing.

A hot day means if you don’t drink it’s easy to dehydrate. Also, it is a danger to slip on the stone Jerusalem streets that can be as slippery as ice. Emergency response teams were ready to provide aid and transport those in need to hospitals.

Food. So many restaurants were open for Passover observant visitors.

Jerusalem streets were cleaned up over the Passover holiday, with more than the usual runs to keep up with all the extra waste.

The art was back in Mamilla Mall. This piece was designed to encourage people to watch their speech and avoid Lashon Hara, talking badly of others.

There were tours and special programs for families at the museum and tourist sites as usual, but not many tourists found this Jerusalem art fair.

Tucked away behind the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, on the entrance street, only one lone cat was near the feeding station the day I went to check it out.

On Wednesday of Passover, in the evening there was a controversial Flag March. I went to check it out for myself and decided to share this short video to show the real Jerusalem streets.

As usual, thousands are peaceful, and only the few trouble makers make the news photos and headlines.

The Temple Mount is closed to Jews until after Ramadan, which ends with Eid al-Fitr on May 3 and 4, 2022. The Druze are celebrating Nabi Shu’eib in memory of the Prophet Jethro. And today is Orthodox Easter Sunday, with a major ceremony “Holy Fire” held yesterday in the Old City.

Until the dirt clears from the air, I am content to stay inside and pack up the Passover dishes once again.

As every year, we concluded the Pesach seder with “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Hoping to see you next year in Jerusalem!