Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

Jerusalem After Holidays Now What?

What’s new in Jerusalem after the holidays?

Looking back at last year it seems much is the same. 

The universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza hit a home in Sderot.

Again, thankfully, the family was able to get to shelter and was not physically hurt.

View of Old City Jerusalem from other side of Yemin Moshe

Winter clouds hover over Jerusalem and the Old City as seen from Mishkenot Sha’ananim.

View from Yemin Moshe of Old City and road to Zion Gate

Holidays are over but tour buses line busy streets, coming and going from Zion Gate.

Houses Within in Jerusalem at Hansen House

The annual Jerusalem ‘Houses From Within’ was held at the end of October.

The sign was up for entry to the old leper hospital grounds, one of 200 sites open to the public.

But it is so different now, unlike the first tour nine years ago when it was in ruin.

Nine years ago the price of tomatoes made headlines, this year it is the scarcity of butter.

Jupiter and Moon in sky over Jerusalem Israel

Jupiter was in line with the moon. Crazy–this photo received hundreds of likes on Facebook.

Amazing. It is so fascinating what gets attention on social media.

The new moon and conferences galore begin as the holidays end.

The Herzl Conference on Contemporary Zionism ‘From Vision to Reality’ was a first-time event.

Jerusalem Har Herzl grave at night

The opening was held at night on Har Herzl close to Herzl’s final resting place, with the gravestone illuminated.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Former US Senator and Vice-Presidential Candidate Joe Lieberman was on the opening program, mentioning proudly that he has children and grandchildren who made aliyah.

Stanley Fischer at Herzl Conference in Jerusalem
Dr. Stanley Fischer was another featured speaker on the program, along with President Reuven Rivlin.

Leaders of Jewish Agency Board of Governors after showing of video remembering Pittsburgh

The annual Jewish Agency Board of Governors opened on a somber note with a powerful video remembering those murdered in Pittsburgh one year ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu at Begin Center for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors at the Begin Center.

Begin Center security for Jewish Agency Board of Governors

There was security for the Prime Minister, this time I got a photo as they were taking it away.

Stephen Harper in Jerusalem for gala dedication for Hula Lake Park Visitor Center

Security was at a high level at the Waldorf Astoria. But, unlike most events, security let guests at the KKL-JNF Gala get close enough to photograph former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper seated next to the Netanyahus. The new KKL-JNF visitor center in Hula Lake Park is dedicated in Harper’s honor.

Though busy with government and election drama, President Rivlin hosted a special meeting on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence.

Elan Carr and President Rivlin at Beit Hanasi

US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Elan Carr attended.

Panel on antisemitism at Beit Hanasi

The panel also included the UK – Lord Eric Pickles, France – Frederic Potier, Germany – Dr. Felix Klein, and European Commission – Katharina von Schurbein. The consensus was that education is the key to combating antisemitism. Opinions once considered fringe are becoming mainstream on campuses and they are spreading. The problem is not a Jewish one, but one for all humanity.

BLMJ Glorious Martyr exhibit

The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem shared important finds from an excavation in Beit Shemesh. Though no one knows exactly who the ‘Glorious Martyr’ was, the dig exposed a large Byzantine church, filled with hundreds of glass pieces and stone lamps.

Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem opening of Glorious Martyr

On opening night invited guests arrived to see the exhibition and hear from experts.

Seat of donor or high church official from Glorious martyr exhibit in BLMJ

A favorite object was this marble piece, probably the ‘seat’ of a high church official or donor.

Who knew hundreds of years ago donors had names on plaques in churches?

International Science Centers and Science Museum Day is November 11.

Jerusalem Science Museum play area

Look for free admission to the Bloomberg Science Museum and again the end of November.

The annual Piano Festival at the Jerusalem Theater is from November 13-16.

AniNation in Jerusalem street poster

But first will be the annual international Animation festival in Jerusalem – AniNation.

Science and tech and start-up conferences–always more happening on Jerusalem streets!

In honor of Aliyah Day, celebrated this week, time to share an old favorite.

Sign about learning to speak Hebrew

No government and elections looming.

Years of rockets from Gaza.

Serious threats from Lebanon and Iran.

Jordan, a very cold peace partner.

Rush hour traffic reaching nightmare levels.

Miracle in our times,

Am Yisrael Chai. 

 

Jerusalem Sukkot Ready or Not

Jerusalem Sukkot Ready or Not

Sukkot.

Ten years ago, the first RJS blog was published on Sukkot – Holiday Crowds in Jerusalem.

The holiday season crowds in Jerusalem, Israel, have arrived again.

The first day of the holiday was a beautiful day, but the next day there was a sound and and light show the likes of  I have never seen in Jerusalem.

Thunder and lightning went on and on, long enough to finally get a good video on the 7th attempt.

Open sukkah with President Shimon Peres

The late President Shimon Peres hosted the Beit Hanasi open houses back in the early days of RJS.

Beit Hanasi sukka decorating with Ruvi Rivlin and children

This year President Reuven Rivlin invited children into his sukkah to help him decorate.

Israeli Presidential cat in garden at Beit Hanasi

The Presidential Cat was in the garden to supervise.

Sukkah at Beit Hanasi for the Israel President

Children were busy making decorations and paper chains.

As Sukkot holiday approaches in Jerusalem,

Lookup!

Jerusalem building with a sukkah

Sukkot are popping out on porches,

Jerusalem sukkah on a porch made of wood

on a low balcony,

Jerusalem sukkah on a porch

or on stilts to support the sukkah as it extends off the porch.

Jerusalem large sukkah for a restaurant

Restaurants need a large sukkah to accommodate holiday crowds.

The sukkot in the above photos have bamboo mats used on top as s’chach. 

Jerusalem boy cutting palm branch for top of sukkah

This is the time of year in Jerusalem to trim the palm trees, so that the large branches can be put on top of the sukkah.

sukkos

Searching for the perfect species in the main market near Machane Yehuda is an annual sight.

Sukkos in Jerusalem people selling lulav and estrog

In Jerusalem, also, popup shops for lulav and etrog were easy to find.

Sukkot birchat kohanim 5780 at Kotel

Tens of thousands gathered at the Kotel, the Western Wall, for Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing which was broadcast live.

These were the usual sights throughout Jerusalem, Israel this week.

But I will end with ‘not your average sukkah’  –

Sukka photo, Image unusual sukkah

While nothing has been quite like this sukkah on a camel from years ago,

here is another unique sukkah, outside of Heichal Shlomo on King George Street.

Sukkah for Jerusalem Biennale reflective on King George Street

As part of the Jerusalem Biennale, is this ‘reflective sukkah’. The outside walls work as distorted mirrors. Look closely, see if you can find me in the photo?

The plaza in front of the Great Synagogue is in the background.

I hope this last photograph does not make you dizzy.

This week of Sukkot holiday meals and the overwhelming number of events did make me dizzy.

So much happening on the Jerusalem streets on Sukkot!

And you never know what will happen next.

Thunder and lightning on Monday night and again on Tuesday afternoon!

Jerusalem Sukkot thunder and lightning storm on Sukkot

When they say something moves as fast as lightning, yes, it moves fast and is hard to capture.

Many sukkot were blown down in the stormy weather.

Jerusalem home sukkah

I am now more satisfied to share this year’s modest decorations.

Happy that our sukkah is still standing!

Moadim L’simcha! 

 

 

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.