Five Jerusalem Events You Should Know About

With summer coming and the pandemic officially over, the crowds and tourists are returning to the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

So many good things are happening.

You will see blue and white flags flying.

Buildings rise higher and higher.

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Road works seem to be everywhere in Jerusalem.

A first this week – the security guard insisted on escorting me safely past the heavy equipment working on the road.

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A bit of surprise June rain and the grounds were still green.

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Yemin Moshe, as always a great location to stop and snap a photo.

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The fountain in Teddy Park is back on for summer fun near the Old City.

The old dragon in Liberty Bell Park is big and bright blue,

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and purple flowers abound around the Jerusalem streets.

However, this week I want to share 5 events you may not have heard about, not on the Jerusalem streets, but held inside involving thousands of people.

  1. The Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) held a quiz competition at the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

Throughout Israel, 5th and 6th-grade students competed on their knowledge of Israeli topics. The winning groups were set for a final round.

With a panel of judges, this was a more modest version of the youth Bible Quiz on Independence Day with the Prime Minister and Jerusalem Mayor.

Mostly enthusiastic young supporters from the various nine schools in the final quiz filled the auditorium.

I was so happy I was not a school chaperon as the questioning went on.

Also happy I did not have to answer the questions posed to the teams.

The competition included an impressive speed round.

In first place was Orot Etzion – Neve Daniel from Gush Etzion, and in second place was Jerusalem’s Yehuda Halevi School.

But at this event – all involved were winners!

The two young men who received the best score stayed afterward with their proud mothers to do a video for KKL-JNF.

2. The Jerusalem Prize for Israeli Unity was born as a social initiative on behalf of the families of the boys Yifrach, Shaar, and Fraenkel and the former mayor of Jerusalem MK Nir Barkat, after the kidnapping of Iyal, Gil-Ed, and Naftali z”l in the summer of 2014.

The prize was established in memory of the teens and the appreciation of the unity that enveloped Israeli society and Diaspora Jewry at the time.

At the ninth award ceremony held at Beit Hanasi, the only prize winner I was familiar with this year was Lori Palatnlk, founder of Momentum.

But Jerusalem, always a small world, I arrived home at the same time as my neighbor – who had been in the audience.

3. President Herzog was at the NBN Campus to open the day for the World Jewish Congress Jewish Leadership Bridge for the Future initiative.

International delegates sat with Israeli leaders at tables to meet and discuss the future.

4. This week started with volunteers from the past year Sherut Leumi honored, starting in the morning at the Beit Hanasi, President’s Residence.

Followed by an evening event in the Mitchell Garden for thousands.

The park was filled with food and activity options under a perfect blue sky.

The United Hatzalah volunteers are easy to spot in their orange vests.

Later, the Sultan’s Pool was the scene of entertainment for the volunteers who did their National Service in a vast variety of positions around Israel.

The week honoring volunteers ended at International Conference Center.

Unity was the theme, and Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah shared the space, but it was a men-only event with a musical program inside.

5. For this favorite annual event, you will have to wait until next week,

but here’s a clue about who were the sponsors.

Wonderful things are happening on and off Jerusalem streets.

Now you know about last week’s events with promises for the future.  

Why not come soon and see for yourself what’s happening in Jerusalem, Israel?

World Zionist Organization Meets in Jerusalem – What you did not see

The preparations for Israel to celebrate 75 years were well underway. Thousands of visitors arrived and came for the celebrations to be held for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.

Jerusalem street signs were up celebrating independence on all the corners of the city, plus parks and museums, and theaters.

In a prelude to the day, the World Zionist Organization held its Extraordinary Zionist Congress in the Jerusalem International Conference Center from April 19-21, 2023.

Newly elected WZO President Tova Dorfman opened the first plenary.

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People came from all over the globe for these political meetings of the 39th World Jewish Congress.

The American Zionist Movement held a special lunch meeting on the first day with Avi Mayer, the new editor of the Jerusalem Post, speaking and answering questions.

Also the first day in the afternoon, the Herzl Forum met at the ICC for a gathering of social and business, tech, and innovation leaders.

The second day opened with a program highlighting 125 years of Zionism.

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Networking, meeting new people, and catching up with long-time friends after the pandemic closed down tourism to Jerusalem were highlights.

Thursday morning the WZC delegates were a wide offered a variety of tours. However, one group decided instead to march with Israeli flags to the Knesset to protest the government.

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As buses returned, a buffet lunch was served.

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The first WZC afternoon plenary began with an award to Avraham Duvdevani. Duvdev, as he is well known, was one of the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem in 1967.  As an Israeli politician and activist, he has served both as the chairman of the WZO and chairman of the Jewish National Fund. Yaakov Hagoel, WZO Chairman made the presentation.

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As Duvdev returned from the stage to his seat, people got up from their seats and crowded around to congratulate him.

And then…the balagan began as the plenary vote on resolutions opened.

The stenographer trying to record the discussions could not keep up with the commotion on stage as the presidium decided to leave for Rabin Hall.

The Rabin Hall was one of many meeting rooms in the Convention Center renamed for this conference.

Meanwhile, in the main auditorium, delegates shouted “busha’ as it got later and later and I and many others had to leave.

However, what you did not see or hear about was another group meeting.

At the same time the “adults’ were disrupting, and continued to do so into the next day to protest the presence of MK Simcha Rothman in the building,

a youth conference for informal education and young leadership was held in the Convention Center. The 1000 young Israelis had the opportunity to meet with young people from around the world.

The enthusiastic delegates aged 18-23 represented 14 global Zionist youth movements from an impressive variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Great Britain, South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Venezuela, Sweden, Denmark, and Israel.

They met and talked and interacted in large groups with translation provided, and ate lunch together in smaller groups.

They had panel discussions in various languages, here in English

and also Spanish for example.

While the World Zionist Congress ended with shouts of busha being heard,

the Youth Congress ended with the singing of Am Yisrael Chai.

An Extraordinary World Congress to celebrate Israel at 75.

With hope for the future with those Zionist Youth Leaders who were in Jerusalem from around the world meeting in the same Jerusalem International Conference Center. Hope they enjoyed their time on the Jerusalem streets and come back soon and often.

Jerusalem Week of Lows and Highs

The news making international headlines is that

Shimon Peres, שמעון בן שרה,

is in the hospital in serious condition on a respirator.

One of my favorite photos of former President Peres

Shimon Peres and Jams Snyder at Israel Museum

was taken at the Israel Museum 50th Birthday Bash 

Who else would be presented with their own photo

taken at opening of the museum fifty years earlier?

Free entrance to the Israel Museum

is being offered this Thursday night.

I wish I could take advantage of the offer, but there are just too many

things happening in Jerusalem, Israel…again!

All the summer concerts in Jerusalem parks

and the Hansen House special children events have ended,

as it’s time to go back to school.

My favorite posters are up,

sign back to school

like this one of the Jerusalem municipality welcoming boys

sign back to school

and girls with “Hello First Graders.”

Where else is the start of school treated

as bigger deal than college graduation?

mekudshet festival sign

Signs are also up for Mekudeshet, a culture festival

with weeks of extensive music and arts programs.

Plus, the annual Italian Festival is also going on this week.

50 years Jerusalem sign Hebrew

Signs are up as the city prepares to celebrate

50 years since the end of the Jordanian occupation

and the reunification of Jerusalem.

A new wall has been erected at Beit Hanasi,

the Israeli Presidential official residence.

construction at beit Hanasi

However, it is a temporary barrier

construction site at Israeli President House new entrance

as construction work for a new visitor entrance has begun.

While work proceeded behind the wall,

Beit Hanasi was busy with international visitors.

World Jewish Congress delegates came on Monday,

World Jewish Congress posed for photo with Presidetn Rivlin

and posed for group photo with President Rivlin.

While on Tuesday the spouses and partners of diplomats

posted in Israel were hosted by the Rivlins.

DEI one phot of foreign spouses at biet hanasi

This is one of the group’s photos,

from 80 countries, 33 nations were represented that day.

Some of those visitors had been to Jerusalem many times,

but for others it was their first visit.

How good it is when people come and see the great things

that are happening on the Jerusalem streets for themselves.

Hope to get to some of Jerusalem’s newly-opened parks,

as the countdown to Rosh Hashannah reminds us,

 the new year is coming soon.