Jerusalem: Lights, Action, Camera

Jerusalem. Israel. In August.

When the evening temperatures cool and the sun is setting, and people venture outside.

Jerusalem Israel Jaffa Gate at sunset from Bet Shmuel;

As the setting sun reflects off the Old City walls, it lights up a ‘Jerusalem of Gold.’

Inside Beit Shmuel, at the MassChallenge Finale, ten start-up winners were announced to go to Boston to present their business ideas with the hope of obtaining funding.

Mass Challenge Finale Mayor NIr Barkat receiving award Israel Ganot

But first on stage was Mayor Nir Barkat to receive a special award from MC director Israel Ganot. Barkat co-founded a very successful early cyber-tech startup called CheckPoint.

Nir Barkat at Mass Challenge Finale

Having attended one of Barkat’s early meetings where he shared his vision for Jerusalem to be a bio-technology world center, as I stood in the international crowd of hundreds of startup initiators, mentors and eager funders,  I marveled how far the Jerusalem biotech and startup scene has grown.

Jerusalem is no Tel Aviv, but watch out. To come so far in 10 years is amazing.

Hebrew Jerusalem Israel street sign for children in summer

During the summer in Jerusalem, what is on many minds is keeping their children busy.

Puppet Festival in Perusal Israel Hebrew sign

I love that there is an annual International Puppet Festival.

Summer programs for children in Jerusalem Israel

The Nature Museum has musical programs for children and special Shabbat programs.

The concerts in the Sultan’s Pool giant outdoor stage are too many to list.

First Station has free musical entertainment most nights.

This summer public parks not only have music, but some are encouraging families to camp out in tents.

International Arts Festival in Jerusalem end of summer

The annual end of summer biggie, the International Arts and Crafts Festival, is on.  Construction of the booths for dozens of countries to showcase their wares has been going on for over a week.

A line-up of various popular Israel performers are to be on the giant stage each night.

JTown Free to Be you and me at AACI Jerusalem Israel

The small JTown Theater stage at AACI in Talpiot has a new production.

“Free to Be You and Me” is performed and scheduled for children, with shows in the afternoon and Friday mornings in August.

This production of Marlo Thomas’ gender-bias-breaking work is very timely.

On other stages and screens, the Jerusalem Film Festival has announced its awards.

Founding of Shas political party film UnOrthodox opened Jerusalem Film Festival

“The Unorthodox” did not win a prize, though it was selected to be featured on the Jerusalem Film Festival opening night at Sultan’s Pool.

Director of The UnOrthodox Eliran Malka at Lev Smadar after showing of his movie

I saw the movie at Lev Smadar on Monday, with director Eliran Malka answering questions from audience after the screening.

All movies in the film festival have English subtitles. This trailer is in Hebrew, but I am sharing, that even if you do not understand the language, you can get a feel for the intensity of Shuli Rand’s performance. Rand plays a father whose daughter was expelled from school for being Sephardi, and goes on to initiate the Shas political party.

The docudrama keeps the audience on edge as it unfolds, even though we already know that Shas went on to be successful beyond every early projection.

Malka is a graduate of Maaleh. In case you are not familiar with this Jerusalem school, here is a link, as Maaleh’s film library is available to the public on the Maaleh website.

In honor of Israel@70, Maaleh has opened a special YouTube channel, where viewers have access to 70 Maaleh short films for free, and susan@maale.co.il is happy to email you the link.

Jerusalem culture festival MekudeshetAfter months of preparation and advertising Mekudeshet is running from August 8- 28.

How does one describe this out-of-box culture festival, where some events are free and in the middle of the night?

One performance is at the YMCA pool, and the audience is to come in bathing suits and participate.

Never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, or in the Y, or yes, up on the roof tops too.

Another week with so much happening in Jerusalem.

There is more, but I will leave you with part of a song from the versatile, talented Shuli Rand.

Rand performed in June, at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence.

 

 

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

5 Jerusalem Tu B’Av Scenes Not in Headlines

The full moon was shining over the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

Red balloons were tied outside of restaurants, street cafes, and wine bars.

Celebrations had begun for Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentines Day,” the week after  Tisha B’Av. 

Extra security was posted along the path between Yemin Moshe and Sultan’s Pool, where the Jerusalem Film Festival was having its opening night.

Scene 1:

Female Israeli security guarding at night Jerusalem

In the shadows, were three Ethiopian-Israeli women in uniform posted on guard duty by the gate.

Artists Colony at night Jerusalem Israel

The Artists’ Colony was empty, until the International Arts Festival, from August 6 – 18.

Teddy Park Fountain lit at night Jerusalem Israel

But nearby the fountain in Teddy Park was full. Day and night, all summer long, one hears the squeals of children enjoying the water and at night, there is music too.

Scene 2:

Jerusalem Teddy Park Fountain at night Muslim women and children and Jewish women and children

Teddy Park is a place where Muslims and Jews come together regularly, night and day.

Lights on walls of Jerusalem Old city at night

The Old City Walls were lit for the Tu B’Av crowds to enjoy.

Israeli Squash Tournament near Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Old City

In keeping with the RJS theme: “What will you find next on the Jerusalem streets?” the Israeli Squash Tournament was being held near Jaffa Gate.

Israel Squash Tournament in Jerusalem near Jaffa Gate

Israeli athletes competed in a specially constructed area,

Israeli Squash Tournament at Jaffa Gate

playing for large trophies,

Israel Squash Tournament trophies

lots of large trophies and medals for various age groups.

People watching Squash Tournament including Jerusalem Mayor

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was sitting front and center watching a game.

Scene 3:

Arab couple and children watching Squash Tournament in Jerusalem Israel near Jaffa Gate

As they strolled through the plaza, this young Muslim family stopped to watch.

People watching Squash Tournament in Israel near Jerusalem Jaffa Gate

However, I thought this was one event best seen on TV.

Jaffa Gate Tower of David full moon

The moon was shining above as I walked from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel, the Western Wall.

Night of Tu B'Av men at Kotel

The men’s section had many empty chairs and tables.

Tu B'Av women at night at Kotel praying

However, the women’s section was filled with hundreds of women–there was not one empty seat.

Scene 4:

Women praying at Kotel on Tu BeAv

One group praying together was of special interest. Israeli women from across the religious spectrum came from north and south to pray together.

After praying in unison at the Kotel, dozens of women arrived to join them for a Tu B’Av celebration nearby.

Tourists at night at Kotel taking photos

The Old City was filled with thousands of people, tourist groups, and Israelis of all ages. Photos and selfies galore were taken by excited visitors.

Scene 5:

IDF soldier carrying a baby being helped by Haredi men near Kotel on stairs

I will leave you with one last scene on the stairs near the Kotel.

A young IDF soldier was holding a baby on this left arm and a folded stroller on his right arm, with backpacks dangling over his shoulder and his kippa in his hand.

First, one man insisted on taking the stroller from him and up the stairs. Then another young man turned to help to carry the backpacks.

None of these five scenes are considered headline worthy.

But all happened on the night of Tu B’Av on the Jerusalem streets.

With headlines of division, strikes and protests, 5 scenes of comfort, of rays of light in the darkness.

 

Shabbat Shalom

Some say Tu B’Av is like a Jewish Valentines Day.

There was so much happening Thursday night in Jerusalem, Israel.

The streets were full of people and cars. Plenty to share, but short on time.

However, the walls of the Old City were colorful for Tu B’Av.

Jerusalem walls colorfully lit for TU B'Av

 

I thought perfect to wish all a Shabbat Shalom

שבת שלום