Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

Jerusalem: Tisha B’Av Lows to Celebration Time

When we lived in Australia, Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, fell in winter.

It was a regular work day and school was not on holiday.

How different is the experience of Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, Israel.

Busy streets are shuttered at night, restaurants, wine bars and street cafes are closed.

For hundreds of years, Jews have been mourning and fasting on Tisha B’Av.

Stones left in pile from Second Temple next to Kotel wall Old City Jerusalem Israel

These stones next to the Kotel, the Western Wall, at Robinson’s Arch, are from the ruined Temple, and remain as a reminder.

Independence Park reading of Eicha

As a sign of mourning, every year Jews sit on the ground or on stones, or a low chair, to read Eicha, the Book of Lamentations.

Walk around Walls Women in Green on Tisha Be'Av

For the last 6 years I have joined in the Walk around the Walls, led by Women in Green.

Women in Green Walk around Walls of Jerusalem

Every year I am surprised by the size of the crowd, as hundreds of people of all ages join in, many carrying Israeli flags.

Walk around walls security leading way

Security led the way for the crowd walking around the walls. Security is always a concern, but I have never felt any danger.

New Gate, Jerusalem, Israel at night

First the walk passed New Gate,

Damascus Gate at night

then Damascus Gate,

People with Israeli flag walking by Flowers Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

and Flowers’ Gate. On this walk I get to see parts of Jerusalem not on my regular routes.

Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich, MK Zeev Elkin, Marc Zell, Yehudit Katsover, Nadia Matar at Lion's Gate Old City Jerusalem Israel

At Lion’s Gate, there was a speech from MK Zeev Elkin, along with others. He also spoke six years ago.

Night at Lion's Gate Jerusalem Israel Old City

Lion’s Gate is where, in 1967,  Israeli soldiers entered to liberate the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.

Lion Gate on Tisha BeAv for Women in Green

I am always amazed how many people stand and sit on the stones in the middle of the night to listen to speeches.

Lion's Gate security drone on ground after Walk around Walls Old City Jerusalem Israel

New this year were drones over the crowd.  The beautiful horses that used to patrol were missing.

Walls of Old City lit at night Jerusalem Israel

As I walked around to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the walls were illuminated.

Group hearing about excavations in Old City on Tisha Be'Av night

I was not alone as I passed a group listening to a guide in the southern wall excavation.

Night time Old City Tisha B'Av Jerusalem Israel

There were many tour groups and guides sharing the stories of ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Old City section with stones from second temple time and new platform

Walking around to the Kotel, I looked in by Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section platforms.

There those ancient stones have remained at the base for millennia.

Western Wall section where stone fell

It is a vast area, and hard to photograph, especially at night. A crop of the photo shows the cracked stone which fell the next day, almost hitting a woman.

Koitel Tisha B'av night Old City, Jerusalem Israel

And as every year, tens of thousands of people were coming and going, sitting and praying, singing, and some even socializing.

Western Wall Plaza on Tisha Be'Av night man and children sitting on stones

They were sitting on the stones or walking somberly, remembering tragedies of old.

View at night of Kotel Plaza excavations

For over 6 years, near the Kotel Plaza under the stones, levels of history are being revealed.

Temple menorah lit at night in front of Hurva Synagogue on Tisha B'Av night

The replica of the golden menorah of the Temple was shining brightly in front of the Hurva Synagogue. It was moved recently when work began on a new elevator access to the Kotel.

Six years of walking around the ancient walls, a simple act that for so many years our ancestors could only dream about. The distance seems less each time, but the hour is always late.

Jerusalem Israel summer festival 360 degrees

A Jerusalem festival this week is called 360 degrees,

however, Tisha B’Av mourning revolves 180 degrees.

After the lows of mourning, the roller coaster of life returns to celebration.

After Tisha B’Av comes a big wedding season.

Jewish wedding in Ein Hemed Jerusalem Israel Judean Hills

A new family starting a new home in Israel.

The situation in Syria is getting more intense.

Hamas continues to burn the south.

However, families from around the world are coming together.

At this wedding in the hills of Jerusalem, as at all Jewish weddings, there is a song to remember Jerusalem.

Not just on Tisha B’Av, but every day, Jerusalem was and is in Jewish prayer.

After Tisha B’Av, so much is happening in Jerusalem, Israel, it is hard to decide what to do first.

For culture, there are large musical performances in Sultan’s Pool and free movies at night in the parks.

For sports fans, there is a street ball tournament and a basketball competition, plus flags are up for 52nd International Children’s Games, set to attract 2000 teenagers.

If you hurry, you could have an up close view, there is a special offer at Kikar Safra, one of the best Airbnb deals ever – HERE

For more Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem, photos  HERE

Nine Days of Av

Nine Days of Av

Rosh Chodesh Av starts the annual period of mourning in the Jewish calendar before the fast of Tisha b’Av, the 9th of the month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples and other catastrophic events that befell the Jewish people.

With restrictions on live music, eating meat and drinking wine, there is a more somber mood this week in Jerusalem, Israel.

This year, however, the World Cup final provided and excuse for some to hold large gatherings to watch the game: at the Tower of David, street cafes and many outdoor venues.

Hinnom Valley Food Truck Festival in Jerusalem , Israel

This summer there is something new called Auto Ochel, food trucks in Valley of Hinnom.  The restaurants featured this week provided dairy meals for the Nine Days.

For this week, celebrations are limited, as for example, no Jewish weddings are held, in order to remember the destruction. 

Beit Hamikdash model at Israel Museum

This model of the Second Temple stands outside at the Israel Museum.

Corner stone from Beit Hamikdash in Israel Museum

Inside the museum a stone salvaged from its destruction in Jerusalem so many centuries ago is on display.

This time of year I remember the beautiful town of Yamit which was destroyed in 1981 in order to return every grain of sand in the Sinai peninsula back to Egypt as part of the peace treaty.

photo of photo of Gush Katfi before it was destroyed

Thirteen years have passed since summer of destruction of Gush Katif.  These beautiful homes were in one of the Israeli communities destroyed.

From Gush Katif Museum memorial for destroyed communities.

We are no closer to the promised peace.

Israeli fields have gone up in smoke over past three months. 7,400 acres were burnt.

Today two incendiary balloons from Gaza landed in a nursery school playground.

Sderot JNF playground built inside with bomb shelters

In this photo from Operation Pillar of Defense, November 2012, children in Sderot played inside the bomb-protected playground as missiles were launched at them from Gaza.

Who remembers the Truth about Gaza?

Excavation of new entrance to Western Wall Plaza

Thousands of pilgrims walked up these steps to the Holy Temples of old.

This week we remember the destruction in Jerusalem.

Ir David, City of David, is having a summer festival after Tisha B’Av, with camel rides and workshops.

The 35 th Jerusalem Film Festival begins next week, followed by the annual Wine Festival at the Israel Museum.

Next week we look forward to weddings, music and celebrations, and building new homes, with hope for the future.

Old and New in Jerusalem for Summer

Old and New in Jerusalem for Summer

Half of all Israelis are reported to be going overseas this summer.

At the same time, however, a record number of tourists are arriving.

Being out on the Jerusalem, Israel streets early in the morning is not my regular thing.

Jerusalem, Israel, Jaffa Street in morning

Obviously, I am not alone, as Jaffa Road before 8:00 am was a very quiet place.

Jerusalem view of Jaffa Street in morning

One lone runner came along as I stood near Kikar Zion, Zion Square.

Construction sign in Zion Square in Jerusalem Israel

Or rather what was Kikar Zion; there was a large sign and it was fenced off from view.

Jerusalem, Israel Zion Square being renovated

Inside the fence was a construction site, as the old Kikar Zion is getting a whole new look.

Jerusalem Israel Jaffa Street at night

Back on Jaffa Road after dark, a man wearing a in red shirt was running and had a hard time negotiating his way through the crowds.

Light rail on Yaffo Road at night Jerusalem Israel

The Light Rail trains blasted their horns to warn people out of the way as they slowly made their way along the tracks.

Lights on building at Zion Square at night Jerusalem Israel

The Herbert Samuel Hotel was lit with a colorful video for the Jerusalem Light Festival

Jerusalem light festival on Herbert Samuel Hotel at Kikar Zion

“I love Jerusalem” was repeated in lights, but it was hard to capture in one photograph.

Old downtown Jerusalem is getting a whole new look.

Jerusalem Israel umbrellas over street

If you can find your way past the construction site to find Yoel Salomon Street, it is once again covered with colorful umbrellas.

Umbrellas at night over Yoel Salomon Street Jerusalem Israel

Old or new, the umbrellas make interesting photos against the night sky.

Once again, the very old Tower of David Museum is offering a new exhibition for the summer.

View of Tower of David citadel and court yard for Rock Paper Scissors by Karen Sargsyan

From the museum entrance, throughout the archaeological gardens and up to the citadel ramparts, there are nine new pieces of art. These aluminum sculptures were crafted by artist Karen Sargsyan, who brought 100 kilo of aluminum and 3,000 knives from Holland to create these Jerusalem historical figures.

Jerusalem art exhibit Tower of David Rock Paper Scissors

There was a colorful King Cyrus the Great with the citadel in the background.

Queen of Sheba by Karen Sargsyan

This man was not bowing down to the Queen of Sheba, but putting finishing details to the sign before the exhibit opened to the public.

Tower of David summer art exhibit

Of course in the Tower of David Museum, you will find King David.

King David by Karen Sargsyan

King Herod, the Builder of old Jerusalem, has a whole new look.

Children’s activities in an air conditioned tent, is a new idea that sounds good, plus from middle of July to end of August children are admitted to the Tower of David without an entrance fee.

I love Jerusalem sign in Jerusalem Israel

The old “I love Jerusalem” sculpture has been moved from Kikar Zion to new location in Kikar Tzahal, Zahal Square.

Tourist information trucks #itraveljerusalem

If you want to find something old or new in Jerusalem, Israel, the new colorful #itravelJerusalem tourist information trucks are out on the streets full of information.

Fun in Jerusalem and Jerusalem City Pass Card

The trucks are distributing the new summer edition of Fun In Jerusalem. Also, selling new Jerusalem City Pass Cards, which enable tourists to ride on the Light Rail and city buses and to enter museums for the day both for free and at discount rates.

Mekudeshet festival signs in Jerusalem, Israel

Mekudeshet cultural festival starts August 8. You can count on them for creative and new.

Old and new are coming together this summer off and on the Jerusalem streets.