Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Jerusalem Past, Present and Future

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem, after the Six-Day War in June 1967. Under Jordanian occupation, from 1948-1967, there were no Jews living in or allowed to visit the Old City.

Jerusalem Saint Louis Hospital over the green line from old city

The story is told of a woman who lost her dentures when they fell from a window of the St. Louis Hospital on the border on May 22, 1956. One of the French nuns retrieved it, requiring the cooperation of both the Israeli and Jordanian forces. “Unfortunately three teeth had melted loose in the Jerusalem sun.”

The hospital is still active and seen here with freshly painted blue trim on its windows. Today, the light rail train tracks run where, for nineteen years, No Man’s Land divided Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Israel as seen from St. Louis Hospital

This is the view from the hospital roof today.  The walls of the Old City look the same, but No Man’s Land is much different today from 1948-1967.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Under Jordanian control, this was as close as a Jewish person could get to the Temple Mount, so the above photo was taken from a lookout at Notre Dame, which is next door to the hospital.

The inviting modern view approaching the Old City with Mamilla Mall on the left, a stark contrast to the days when the area was under threat by Jordanian snipers shooting.

Image from Tower of David before Mamilla Mall renovation
photo credit: C. Goldberg

Here’s an interesting view looking toward Mamilla after the wire and barriers that divided the city had been removed, but before the area was developed.

Stones fallen from Temple Mount at base of Old City Western wall

The ancient stones thrown from the Temple Mount remain at the base of the Western Wall as a reminder of the destruction of the Second Temple.

under the Kotel excavation
photo credit: IAA

Under the ground near the walls of the Temple Mount archaeologists have carefully continued to work and find layers of history.

Floor found under Western Wall Plaza
photo credit: IAA

A new discovery, an ancient mosaic floor was uncovered and is carefully being preserved.

Yom Yerushalayim is a day to celebrate old and new Yerushalayim.

Going back over previous years on Yom Yerushalayim.

Three years ago President Trump was in Jerusalem,  it seems like a lifetime ago.

Remember two years ago the Giro d’Italia cyclists filled the Jerusalem streets?

Tower of David on Jerusalem Day

The Tower of David in past years hosted huge crowds.

This year the Tower of David will reopen for Yom Yerushalayim to more modest numbers of guests and only outside venues will be open.

Jerusalem Day Israeli flags dancing in street

Tens of thousands young people singing and dancing with hundreds of Israel flags – not this year.

Jerusalem Israel King George Street crowded for Jerusalem Day

Those huge crowds filling King George Street are a scene from the past.

Jerusalem Israel Damascus Gate on Jerusalem Day

No marching through the streets of the Old City entering in the Damascus Gate.

Kotel at end of Jerusalem Day

The Kotel, Western Wall plaza overflowing with people will have very limited numbers this year for evening prayers on Yom Yerushalayim.

Jerusalem Day celebration in Jerusalem

Last year with endless huge events who would have imagined this year?

The usual celebrations in Jerusalem are very limited this year due to COVID-19.

The big 50 year celebrations are nice to remember.

Fewer people are to be on the Jerusalem streets to celebrate.

But this year from around the world more can join and participate.

The Jerusalem Municipality, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Office for Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, and the Jerusalem Development Authority for the Development of Jerusalem will hold a special festive broadcast on Thursday, 27 Iyar, 5780 (May 21, 2020) from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in honor of 53 years since the reunification of Jerusalem. 

A virtual two hour live broadcast from special sites in Jerusalem, alongside stories of heritage and interviews with those who fought in the Six-Day War of June 1967, will be broadcast on the Facebook Pages and YouTube of the World Zionist Organization and B’nai B’rith International on Thursday, May 21, 2020, between 2 pm and 4 pm Israel time.

There are many other Yom Yerushalayim programs offered online.

From wherever you are in the world, the Jerusalem streets are only a quick click away.

Crowds in the past for major holidays will not be on the Jerusalem streets this year.

Hoping next year we can all be out on the Jerusalem streets together.

 

 

Jerusalem Lag B’Omer to Yom Yerushalayim

Jerusalem Lag B’Omer to Yom Yerushalayim

Jerusalem, Israel center of the world?

Jerusalem at center of world

This mural, based on a medieval map, is at Kikar Safra, Municipal Square, and is called “Center of the World.” There’s Jerusalem in the center with Europe, Asia, and Africa positioned around it.

Walls of Old City Jerusalem Israel light with flags and we stand with you COVID-19

With the world going virtual and viral during this coronavirus crisis, a night of unity with the Diaspora was held with a projection on the walls of the Old City near Jaffa Gate, which had flags and the message “Israel stands with you.”

Now is a good time to stay inside.

A May heatwave is not unusual in Jerusalem.

Neither is the weather going from too cold to too hot.

However, this week is very hot!

Jerusalem Israel view of Valley of Cross from above

On my last walk before locking down, the Valley of Cross was bright green.

Today in the dry heat it is rapidly turning to summertime dead yellow.

But the big news, after over 500 days and 3 elections – there is a government.

Israeli Government 35 cabinet in Chagall Hall

The new Israeli Government #35 has 36 Ministers and 15 Deputy Ministers. The first socially distanced meeting was held in the Chagall Hall. Already there is the discussion (or rather dispute) whether this is better than a 4th election. Time will tell, but stability and progress would be nice. Meanwhile coming up with clever names for ministerial positions kept some folks entertained.

Lag B’Omer was very different this year, besides the cool weather last week.

In Jerusalem, we could open our windows, as air quality was a great improvement over past Lag B’Omer celebrations.

The smell of forest fires was in the air this morning, though we cannot see anything burning.

However, for Lag B’Omer, Jerusalem is not the place to be, but usually Meron is.

Light large fire at Meron on Lag B'Omer

This year the only legal large bonfires were in Meron.

Where, instead of the usual tens of thousands of people crowding around, 50 guests were allowed for each of three fires.

One of the Lag B’Omer events at Mount Meron was broadcast live by the Government Press Office.

Singers on Lag B'Omer at Meron at night

Musicians and speakers were spread out on various outdoor positions.

Screen shot GPO live of Meron on Lag B'Omer coronavirus

The guitarist was wearing a mask.

Boyaner rebbe wearing gloves at Mount Meron

The Boyaner Rebbe who was honored to light the fire wore gloves.

Two Haredi men wearing hats and face shields COVID19

These two men wore face shields, at a very different Meron celebration this Lag B’Omer.

In Jerusalem, for Lag B’Omer in the afternoon, our local Chabad tried to provide some music.

It was not quite Macy’s parade but was meant to entertain the children at home.

Now schools have reopened and traffic appears to be back to normal.

Emergency MDA bus
Credit MDA Spokesperson

COVID-19 new cases and other numbers have gone down. But MDA is ready with its latest emergency vehicle – a MDA bus.

Inside demonstration of new MDA bus treatment center
Credit MDA Spokesperson

Inside multiple patients can be treated at the same time as seen demonstrated above.

Israel transports into Gaza in May 2020 COVID-19

The entire time of this novel coronavirus Israel has sent supplies into Gaza on a regular basis. The first week of May, 260 tons of medical supplies crossed over from Kerem Shalom Crossing.

View of Nachlaot in Jerusalem Israel

On my last photo walk, this was a view of Shaarei Hesed.

Liberty Bell Park in Jerusalem Israel in January 2020

Here is another image from the Liberty Bell Park.

For the first time, Jerusalem has overtaken Eilat in the number of hotel rooms (11,100) and now has the most in Israel. Some hotels are planning to start open next month.

No idea when photo walks will start up again.

King George Street Yom Yerushalayim

The crowds of singing and dancing for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, will not happen as in the past years. The major official event will begin at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on Wednesday evening with the Prime Minister and President scheduled to speak.

Music and songs will be broadcast by Jerusalem municipality and multiple organizations. Smaller events are to be held in Jerusalem community locations.

Plus, there are to be small local flag dances in dozens of cities around Israel to celebrate the 53 yeas of the reunification of Jerusalem.

Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut flags and flowers

Neighbors have their flags ready for Yom Yerushalayim. 

Jerusalem Pesach crowd on Jaffa Road

Celebrations changed drastically this year. The large holiday crowds did not appear as last year.

Jerusalem Israel Dome of Rock Old City

For centuries Jerusalem has been an attraction. Last year, 1.26 million tourists stayed in Jerusalem, spending a total of 4.17 million nights in the city.

Jerusalem continues to be Israel’s largest city, with 919,400 residents.

For a second consecutive year, there was negative migration of -6000, the lowest level for a decade. Of those leaving the city, 46% have left for communities in the Jerusalem metropolitan area. The number of those moving to Jerusalem is the highest ever – 12,800 people.

Red sky at sunset over Israel Museum in Jerusalem Israel

And the blazing sky over the Israel Museum and Jerusalem streets at sunset – impressive.

Oh Jerusalem, What Days in May

Oh Jerusalem, What Days in May

In Jerusalem, Israel, waking up on Tuesday morning the official email began:

* From yesterday (4 May 2020), additional businesses and activities will be allowed to open including: Libraries, all kinds of non-medical treatment on the human body, complementary medicine, hotels and guest houses, nature reserves, heritage sites, national parks, zoos and safaris. Activity at swimming pools will be permitted for competitive athletes and therapy.

* Malls, open-air markets and gyms will be allowed to open on 7 May 2020.

Restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 were working. Special intensive care units were closing.

People were looking forward to getting out of isolation and their homes.

Clouds over Jerusalem Israel

Clouds were began gathering over the Israel Museum.

Jerusalem Israel cloudy sky in May

Clouds were filling the sky over the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem cloudy day white clouds over Knesset

The large flag on the Knesset was blowing in the wind.

Jerusalem Israel clouds in sky

The weather forecast had called for rain. Rain in Jerusalem in May?

Jerusalem sky pink clouds

It was raining in the north. Then Tel Aviv, even Beer Sheva had rain. Clouds started to change over Jerusalem.

Dark grey sky over Jerusalem streets

The clouds in the sky turned dark.

Black sky over the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

The sky over the Israel Musem appeared almost black.

Then winter-like weather in May pelted Jerusalem with rain, heavy rain.

Jerusalem Israel during a stormy day in May

Dark enough in the middle of the day for some of the street lights to go on.

Sunset after rainy day May in Jerusalem

But by the time the sun was to set, the sky began to clear.

May sunset with colorful clouds after rainy day

It was a sunset that colored the sky. Facebook was filled with photos taken as the colors changed.

Jerusalem Israel sunset with many colors

After a day of crazy weather, as the sky cleared, the birds came out again.

* The restriction on praying more than 500 meters from the home or workplace is canceled; the restriction of no more than 19 people for prayers in an open space remains in force.

For the next few days, up to 300 worshipers will be allowed to come to the Western Wall plaza simultaneously, contingent on them wearing masks.  Should all of the prayer areas become full, worshipers will be requested to wait outside the entrances to the Western Wall, with the required distances between them, until space becomes available.

Western Wall at night

Late at night the Kotel, The Western Wall had people coming and going again.

Jerusalem Western Wall divided into sections for social distancing opening up

Bar/bat mitzvah families can return to celebrate at the Western Wall in accordance with regulations.

The Health Ministry calls on the public to continue listening to the directives on physical distancing, wearing masks and maintaining hygiene, in order to ensure public health and continue the common struggle against the spread of the coronavirus.

Old City Lions wearing masks
Photo credit: Joshua Wander

The lions in the Old City are ready with masks, though not social distancing.

Always something new to see on the Jerusalem streets.

Meanwhile another crazy weather day, and new storytime by Pres Ruvi:

Stay well, everyone, and safe inside or outside your house.