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

 

Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Global Forum For Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: Inside and Outside

Antisemitism is not a thing of the past.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, here in Jerusalem,  said “I would really like to make it clear that the struggle against racism and anti-Semitism is important to me.”

Also this week French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian while in Jerusalem said, “There is a friendship between France and Israel that is deep and enduring, and expresses itself in many, many ways. I wish to send through you my best regards to President Macron.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs hosted The 6th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem, Israel, from March 19-21.

Global Forum against antisemitism in Jerusalem opening plenary

Together we can fight online hate speech was the opening plenary of the first day. The night before a large gathering listened to US Ambassador David Friedman.

Man from Australia wearing kippa with Aboriginal designs

People came from around the world, with 87 countries represented. This friend as you might guess came from Australia, but I also met a man from Trinidad, and several people from South African countries.

Global Forum Justice Ministers Israel, Germany, Greece and Italy

Ministers of Justice from Germany, Greece, and Italy joined Israel Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked in signing a joint statement confronting online hate.

Facebook regional director of policy at Global Forum in Jerusalem, Israel

Delphine Reyre, Facebook regional director of policy in southern Europe, told of Facebook efforts to curb terror sites.

This week it was reported that Facebook closed down a Hamas page.

However, Twitter has not closed even one hate site.

Former Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls speaking at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel for Combating Antisemitism

Near the end of the Global Forum, the former Prime Minister of France, Manuel Valls, speaking in French, received applause for stating anti-Zionism is antisemitism.

Bulgarians with Presidential visit to Jerusalem Israel

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spent plenty of shekels on this event. Here the delegation with the President of Bulgaria arrived and waited politely to be seated at lunch.

Abe Foxman introducing President of Bulgaria at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

Abe Foxman was given the honor of introducing Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

Radev remarks were in English. Not only is his English excellent, he showed amazing patience while being stopped for selfies during his visit.

Bulgarian Ambassador, President Rumen Radev, and Ron Yaakoby

Here Radev (center) posed with the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel on the left and Ran Yaakoby,  Chairman of the Global Forum (right) of MFA.

Dessert tray at Global Forum in Jerusalem Israel

With lavish food and desserts, oh how very sweet the Global Forum was. Facebook photos HERE

But will it make a global difference to curb antisemitism?

Celebrity guests like Mayim Bialik got media coverage. Anti-Zionism, manifested in Israel Apartheid Week, has spread to India for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, for most locals what was happening to the streets was of more immediate concern.

Jerusalem new center under construction

Outside the International Convention Center where the Global Forum was held the streets change daily due to construction.

New roads in Jerusalem, Israel

This road expansion was open after weeks, or months, of work.

Jerusalem street construction fixing crossings.

I had to wait to cross until this small earth mover moved out of my way.

Jerusalem Israel new housing near future fast train to Tel Aviv

This is one of the new neighborhoods near those streets reaching completion.

Bridge for Tel Aviv to Jerusalem fast train outside of Jerusalem as seen from highway

The fast train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will not open this month.

Train station in Jerusalem for fast train to Tell Aviv

But when it does, those apartment dwellers are near the fast train station, and can be in Tel Aviv in half an hour.

Coming soon Gan Sacher

Coming soon?

Whatever they are doing in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is to be completed soon.

Gan Sacher trees in bloom on spring day with blue sky

Meanwhile, as I walked along Gan Sacher on my way home from the Global Forum, I saw something which all can appreciate now.

With spring weather and trees in bloom, we can appreciate what we have today and hope for a better future.

Spring is in the air. This year all Easter celebrations coincide with Passover, so tens of thousands of visitors are arriving daily.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.

חג שמח

Chag Sameach.

 

New Signs of Spring in Israel

New Signs of Spring in Israel

Pesach, Passover,  the holiday of Freedom and the holiday of Spring,

begins two weeks into the Hebrew month of Nisan.

Spring flowers in Jerusalem, Israel in Beit Hanasi garden

In Israel, spring is a time of green and of spring blooms of all colors popping up in the warm sun after the winter rain.

Clouds in sky, power lines and green along road in southern Israel

On a recent trip south toward the Negev, clouds billowed over the power lines.

Negev green after winter rain as seen from highway

All along the highway, green was the predominate color.

Fields of green vegetables are ready to pick for the holiday tables.

Hasslat Gush Katif vegetable packing plant in southern Israel

Our trip was to see a new vegetable packing plant in the Negev called חסלט Hasalat.

The facility was impressive on many levels.

Trucks unloading vegetables at packing plant in southern Israel

The size and capacity are impressive. Those openings are for two large trucks filled with produce to be delivered.

Vegetables marked with red stickers were rejected by packing plant for kosher customers

Not all produce is accepted, and these crates with red stickers contained rejected produce.

Gush Katif packing plant water being checked for insects

Samples of deliveries are washed and rinsed and checked in the lab, through a series of fine filters.

Man inspects for tiny bugs in vegetables in southern Israel packing plant

The specially trained inspectors are looking for insects less than a millimeter in size.

Man uses magnifying glass to examine small bug found in vegetable rinse water in packing plant in southern Israel

They know how to tell tiny insects that are not easily washed away from those that are.

Packing Gush Katif vegetables in southern Israel

Once the produce has been checked and declared clean, it then to goes to the packers, who have to dress warmly, as the rooms are kept cool.

People inspecting cabbage in packing plant Israel Gush Katif

The cabbage checkers check and recheck for insects, before the cabbages are sent along to be put in plastic bags.

Work room in Hasslat packing plant for Gush Katif vegetables

This is a large plant, with multiple rooms that process a variety of vegetables.

With Passover approaching, the demand for romaine lettuce will surge.

Ready-cut carrots, parsley and cabbage for salads will also be in great demand.

Israel green from winter rain people working in fields

Along the road agricultural workers were working in the green fields.

Bomb shelter on farmers for safety from Gaza missiles in southern Israel

These bomb shelters for farmers were built for protection as the rockets rained in from Gaza.

Now they are being used for storage, but if an alarm sounds, in the Negev there is no time to head home. Some workers have less than fifteen seconds to run to shelter.

After 12 years, Gush Katif produce, though no longer from Gush Katif, stands for quality and bug-free vegetables with low pesticide use, and some are grown organically.

Cabbage growing in hot house in southern Israel

Farmers are growing in special green houses in the Negev, sending their produce to be packed at Hasalat and then sent to stores in Israel and around the world.

Not all the farmers who left Gush Katif have permanent homes yet, so many years after they were expelled.

Kfar Darom building sites ready, but still no homes built

These are the housing plots for the new Shavei Darom community.

Gush Katif Kfar Darom playground built though no homes yet

The JNF playground is built and ready, but there are no children yet to play there.

Kfar Darom mikvah built before any homes Gush Katif

The community mikvah is state-of the-art with access for those with disabilities.

Land for homes Kfar Darom Gush Katif to rebuild

The Shavei Darom infrastructure is ready, but there are no homes built yet.

12 years after the destruction of Gush Katif, those expelled are still living in temporary residences.

Southern Israel bomb shelter next to bus stop

Bomb shelters next to bus stops are real and ready.

Cabbage in hothouse in Southern Israel for Gush Katif vegetable

But it was good to see that greener days are ahead for some of the former residents of Gush Katif.

It’s also good to see the new signs over the Jerusalem streets for Passover.

Street sign Happy spring holiday

 Chag Aviv Sameach Be Yerushaliyim

Happy Holiday of Spring in Jerusalem.