Birchat Kohanim Attracts Kotel Crowds

The annual Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing 

at the Kotelthe Western Wall, on Chol HaMoed Sukkot,

is known to attract large crowds.

Jaffa Gate

Entering the Old City by way of the Jaffa Gate the crowds looked normal,

with the plaza all ready for a large Sukkot holiday fair.

Muslim Shuk. Arab market

The Muslim Shuk was set for the Jewish crowd, with talitot for sale

Arab shuk, Muslim Quarter

and there was even an Israeli flag on display.

Muslim Quarter

I started out late, and was surprised to find that

the route to the security entrance was not the one I usually take.

crowd birchas kohanim

The crowd grew and waited very impatiently

 there was nearly a riot as security personnel would let no one in.

Jerusalem riots

It was very hot, uncomfortable and impossible to move,

then the crushing crowd surged forward and pushed everyone along.

Wailing WAll

Inside the plaza area I saw the regular crowded holiday scenes,


with people as far as you could see, both to the right

lulav sukkot

and to the left.

Western Wall

The Kotel, the Western Wall is usually packed with people on Sukkot,

Kossel Sukkot

and certainly for the Birchat Kohanim.

This year, 

Birkat Chohanim

there were people watching 

Old City Sukkot

from rooftops,

Kosel Sukkos

stairwells and small passages.

There seemed to be fewer kohanim

Birkat kohanim

   with arms raised and covered by white talitot, but

birchas kohanim

 there were hundreds of raised arms taking photos on their cellphones.

Old City

After the blessing, the trick was to find a way to leave,

birchas chohamin

again pushing through the crowds. 

Aish Ha torah

At least this man found some solitude

in the sukkah on the roof of Aish HaTorah.


Old city streets

Regular folks grabbed whatever spot they could,

Old City streets

while others slowly proceeded out to the Jewish Quarter.

I thought that I was finished with the crowds, but then I went to Beit Hanasi

for the Israeli President’s annual open sukkah.

Wow, was I wrong–but those photos

will have to wait for later, as there are more crowds 

again on the streets for the Jerusalem Parade. 

Whatever estimates you see quoted for this year’s Birchat Kohanim, 

they will have to be low if they do not include the thousands 

who were outside the plaza area and unable to get in.

Moadim L’Simcha !

Aliens Land on the Knesset or Go Fly a Kite

No matter what you read in the media about Israel,

the end of August is all about what to do with the kids.

There are no regular ganim and school does not begin until next week.

Take the kids to “office camp” is an option, or

call on the grandparents or any able-bodied (even non) adult,

to help look after them.

There many things to do in Jerusalem, Israel, in August, 

but the annual kite festival at the Israel Museum is one of my favorites.


Looking up at the colorful kites can be dangerous,

The Israel Museum

if you are not careful and trip on the strings on the ground.


Many kites got stuck in the trees,

The Israel Museum

but people were still smiling anyway,

The Israel Museum

except this one man on the wall who was determined to get his kite down.

kite, The Israel Museum

Not all the kites ended up in the trees though,

The Israel Museum

as some soared over the crowd 

kite, The Israel Museum

in the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden.

kite, The Israel Museum

Blue and white kites were popular this year

The Israel Museum

 with many of the families who filled the grounds.

For this 27th annual event, over 7000 people registered, 

The Israel Museum ,

and even more spread out over the wide expanse of the Israel Museum.

The Israel Museum

There were not just colorful kites,

but also Kabuki Theater entertainers,

The Israel Museum

providing music,

The Israel Museum

and more color along with entertainment.

The Knesset

So did aliens land on the Knesset?  Not really.

The Knesset is across the road from the museum and this soaring kite 

The Knesset

looked like it was landing on the roof.

No aliens landed, and there was no violence, 

kites, The Israel Museum

 just enough wind and music and kites, for a day of families and fun.


More photos to be posted on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.

Jerusalem Marathon 2012

Months of planning and weeks of extensive preparations

"flags" . "truck" , "special truck"

 went into the Second International Jerusalem Marathon,

but no one had control over the weather.

With heavy rains the night before and more rain in the forecast,

many spectators stayed away.

"wet street', "rainy day"

The runners of the full marathon raced through nearly deserted streets.

"shelter" , "rain"

 Security was out in large numbers,

but they often tried to find cover from the rain.

"Jaffa Gate" "Old City' , "large sign"

The marathon route went into the Old City through Jaffa Gate,

"high five" , "lady running marathong'

 where loud music, entertainers and spectators cheered the runners on.

"motorcycles", "runners"

The rain stopped as the half-marathon leaders entered the Old City.

"10 kilometer runner" "runners'

The sun was shining on the 10 kilometer race leaders,

but soon after hail started coming down.

"reflection in water',

Under grey skies, through wet streets,


15,000 runners, including 1500 from 


50 countries from around the world, 


came to run.

"girl running"

When the sun came out, so did a smile.

"walking group"

With streets closed to traffic, the only way to get around was to walk.

"Christian toursits"

Some tourists seemed to enjoy walking instead of using their usual buses.

"girls running"

It would have been harder to run in really hot weather,


but in spite of the weather and Jerusalem’s uneven and hilly streets,

runners seemed happy to be in the race.

"Chai Lifeline"

Running to raise money for good causes and charity or self-satisfaction

they came…neither rain, nor sleet nor hail,

nor threat of terror kept them away.

 I took way too many photos and plan to put more on

The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

Meanwhile, to see more runners, check out this video:

"metal sculpture", "art", "men dancing', "Jerusalem marathon pictures"