Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem

I have a problem this week – I have been wondering what to share.

Today is Tisha B’Av, the Ninth Day of the Hebrew month of Av, a fast day, and the saddest of the year on the Jewish calendar for centuries.

Is it appropriate to write about the special session held in the Knesset?

Not the one where the attendance board was lit up with the photos of the many Knesset members who were in the building all night to vote.

Or what about my visit to Old City on Friday for a special photo-op with a delegation of international Ambassadors?

I decided today, without coffee or water, that those and other stories will wait until next time.

Today is Tisha B’Av.

It’s blistering hot outside on the Jerusalem streets.

Last year was very different,

However, last night I went to walk around the walls of the Old City, and it felt similar to past years.

The night began after Shabbat with Eicha, the reading of Lamentations, sitting on the ground, in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park was one.

The security was as extensive as the crowd was diverse.

Going past Damascus Gate always requires a quick stop to take a photo.

However, the moon over the Lion’s Gate was more impressive last night.

The views towards the Mount of Olives at night over the Tomb of Absalom

and the cemetery at night, though not so easy to photograph, amazing to see from this side of the Jerusalem Old City streets.

The area near Robinson’s Arch with those original stones from the Temple’s destruction is not such a great photo this year as restoration work on the stones of the wall continues. But as usual, when I go there to check, it was quiet with only a few people.

But the scene at the Kotel, the Western Wall, was like, not sure what word to use, one huge “celebration.” Tens of thousands of people at midnight, singing slow sad songs, women on the other side sitting in a circle on the ground singing also.

This view is from above

but doesn’t show the hundreds of people leaving and even more arriving.

I did a very quick video to give an idea of the crowd on my way out.

I went by the quiet Hurva Synagogue in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter.

The archeological display has been improved with new lighting.

A memorable scene was in the Cardo, with a lone young man sitting on the stones near remnants of the Roman Empire, the pillars of a once-bustling marketplace.

Then by Jaffa Gate, a group of young people was listening to the history and significance of Tisha B’Av.

The diversity of people, so many people, coming and going all night long.

One man was power washing the stones at the entrance to Mamilla Mall. At 1:00 am, he was getting ready for Tisha B’Av day. Though all the stores and restaurants were closed, Mamilla is a major route for people coming and going to the Kotel all night.

And as I approached home I saw another impressive sight.

The sanitation workers were out to do the clean-up after Shabbat.

Much hotter, but cleaner street on Tisha B’Av today.

There’s much more happening on the Jerusalem streets but it will have to wait for next time.

Take care and stay well, hope to see you soon.

Jerusalem 15 Happenings for Bright Summer

The Jerusalem summer of 2021 is looking to be brighter and so much better than last year.

In 2020, Jerusalem, Israel gatherings were limited because of the multiple and changing coronavirus restrictions. Museums shuttered. Theater lights were dark. Festivals were canceled.

See what’s new and what’s happening again in Jerusalem for this summer:

The wooden structure, called Ester Tower, in the Hansen House garden, was lit at night for Design Week. Talented artists prepared other unique and original pieces for the Runaway Circus theme of the annual event.

The fullest IDF band in recent memory was assembled on July 6th, for Israel’s outgoing 10th President Reuven Rivlin to welcome Israel’s 11th President Isaac Herzog to Beit Hanasi, the President’s Official Residence.

The sculpture of Reuven Rivlin in the garden was unveiled in the morning.

During a rehearsal break, members of the honor guard were able to see the ‘heads’ and read histories of the former Israeli Presidents.

The full red carpet was rolled out for the arrival of the official motorcycle-led motorcade in the early evening after the Knesset swearing-in ceremony.

President Isaac and Michal Herzog were escorted in by the IDF military and Beit Hanasi personnel.

Former President Rivlin waited to escort the new occupants inside to the main reception room where the Beit Hanasi staff and family waited.

Warm speeches and hugs, and more children than usual filled the room.

Stopping on the way out to sing Hatikvah for the live stream and cameras,

the Herzogs waved goodbye to the former president,

who was accompanied by Rivka Ravitz and her staff who also are moving on.

But not only was it good to be back again at Beit Hanasi this week.

It was good to see the fountain and lights back on in Teddy Park!

Last year it was not operating and no children were having fun in the cooling water as it stops and starts and pulsates upwards overhead.

Groups are back in the parks, tour groups and tour buses are again seen on the Jerusalem streets.

First Station was busy when it was allowed to be open over the past year. Starting soon in July at First Station there will be a new activity: ice skating.

Signs are up for the annual Beer Festival July 21-23, again to be staged in Gan Haatzmaut, Independence Park.

The Wine Festival is to be back on July 26-27th at the Israel Museum.

The annual Street Ball Festival is set for July 27-28, and the Outline Festival “layers” August 5-12th.

Food Trucks are back in Hinnom Valley from now until the fall.

Jerusalem signs are up for summer in the neighborhood. In August there will be street performances and street installations along nine main Jerusalem streets.

Sultan’s Pool and Safra Square concerts are to be back again bigger than ever.

Camping sites for families are planned in six Jerusalem parks on July 29 from 4:30 pm to July 30 at 10:00 am.

Urban nature events and guided tours will augment the end of August Silchot tours.

At the Botanical Gardens, a Snow Kingdome is to run from July 25 – August 31st, with ice figures and lights.

Work at the Tower of David is ongoing, but events were also announced.

So much and more happening in Jerusalem for a busy and bright summer! See full details of Jerusalem summer events

Let us know what you decided to do this summer on the Jerusalem streets.