Not a Regular Day in the Park

 Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, lies in the midst of a huge desert region,

 it is a refuge for birds from the Middle Eastern summer sun.

The large trees provide shade for people,

 groups both large

and small.

Summer days can be quiet,

maybe a water fight after a frisbee game,

 a  bike ride

 

or a nap.

As the sun goes down though,

 

it comes alive, with people and picnics

 and baseball 

and often there is even a white horse to ride.

But Thursday was not a regular day.

 There were police vehicles

and beautiful police horses in the park,

 a blimp hovering above

and a second one near by.

There were major street closings; it was not a good time to be a passenger in a taxi.

For awhile, it felt like a ghost town, a movie set, like when President George W. Bush visited Jerusalem.

 The Gay Pride Parade, with an estimated 3000 participants, came down the hill from Ramban Street

and past the park towards the Knesset.

 

Police seemed to be everywhere, in the center of town and along the parade route.

Photographers were also out in great numbers, running after that colorful shot .

More police than marchers?  Maybe.  And the Ultra-Orthodox?

 This family wanted to get to the park for dinner,

but waited patiently to be allowed to walk across the street.

 A long day with lots of red tape, but no large, violent protests and few outlandish displays.

Plenty of pink cotton candy and

  in the end, a regular day in the park after all.

Lights Back On

There are many museums in and around Jerusalem,

 including the Museum of Natural History,

the Museum for Islamic Art,

and the Tower of David.

 

There are displays from angels & demons

at the Holyland Museum 

to water at the Science Museum.

Located high on a hill is the Israel Museum.

  After months of construction noise, in November 2009, renovations were well under way

and in December 2009 the last building crane was removed.

 

May 24, 2010, the chimney was really smoking.

Work has also been done in the area surrounding the museum,

 resulting in newly paved walking and biking paths

with “street” signs,

 a sculpture, “The Struggle”

and new sidewalks.

For the official opening on Sunday night, the viewer stands were up, but there was still work to finish.

The dome of the Shrine of the Book, site of the Dead Seas Scrolls,  was visible behind the security area.

Streets were closed to the public long before the Prime Minister and President were to arrive.

The fireworks ending the program of the grand opening could be seen by all in the area.

 Inaugural events continue all week with musical performances at night.

The rock concert in the Art Garden 

could be heard not just by the new entrance and cafeteria, but in the surrounding neighborhoods as well.

The closed gift shop was well-lit

but more impressive when viewed from a distance.

The Israel Museum, popular with locals as well as tourists, has signs up seeking renewed membership.

After a very long time, the lights are back on at the Israel Museum. 

Next week a wine party, all you can drink…

Still Waiting

If you wait one nano-second after the traffic light turns green, the cars behind will honk,

but a shopkeeper will arrive two hours late to open his store.  Still waiting?

 

 The Knesset summer recess has begun,

 all pending legislation will wait.

The proposed new conversion law caused such an uproar that even visitors got into the fight.

 Now all sides have time to read the bill carefully and work towards a compromise.

Also, in the week leading up to Tisha B’Av, doctors picketed against the proposed budget

and civic groups again gathered to protest new pending Holyland building legislation.

For three days, Jonathan Pollard supporters protested that he has been held too long,

but he remains in a United States’  jail, so he and his supporters are still waiting.

  

Before Tisha B’Av, hundreds of groups

including many children on outings

 

 

 

 

 

 

passed through the streets

 

 

 

 

 of the Old City.

For Tisha B’Av,  tens of thousands of people made their way to the Kotel, the Western Wall

to quietly pray and recite Eicha, Lamentations, at night and Kinot during the day.

Restaurants and entertainment venues were closed at night for the day long fast,

and usually busy streets were quiet as many people stayed home to fast and not use any extra energy.

But there were hundreds of venues, including “Tonight we don’t learn Torah”

where Tisha B’Av was observed.

There was even a special reading of Eicha by Chief Rabbi Metzger to hundreds of people

who gathered near the Shalit family, who are still waiting for over four years to see their son.

 

It is five years since the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip were forced to give up their land,

  many are still waiting to get into permanent homes

and we are all still waiting for peace.

 

 It took many years to finally agree on building

the magnificent Hurva Synagogue in the Old City.

So many disagreements,  so many people still waiting to come together.

As the sun set on Tisha B”Av, there were clouds on the horizon,

  at least on one issue there is agreement, in spite of the clouds and humidity,

we will still be waiting for rain for some time.