Some Signs of Progress

Progress…The Jerusalem light rail system now has power for the entire length of its track.

At long last, it is much easier to cross at the intersection of Jaffa and Strauss Streets in the center of town.

A short walk from that intersection is the Bikur Cholim Hospital,

which has provided medical care in Jerusalem for over 140 years.

The privately owned buildings are threatened with closure.

There is a serious shortage of hospital beds and neonatal units in Jerusalem.

                                                 6000 babies are born here every year; where will the mothers go?

 Bikur Cholim Hospital was critical in saving many lives when suicide bombers targeted the city center,

now 30 million shekel is needed to keep the hospital running.

Signs to rally residents’ support are plastered along the street.

Doctors and staff who are facee with losing their jobs and pensions have recently organized protests.

 Knesset Member  Ahmed Tibi, who trained as a obstetrician, did part of his residency

at Bikur Cholim, publicly supports keeping it open, as do many residents and patients.

Today there will be a four-hour strike,  and non-essential  personal will be on the streets in a protest.

All around hospital buildings there is new construction.     Signs of  progress?

The old stone buildings next door have been razed and

the area between the hospital and

and  Ticho House on Rav Kook Street is being excavated for development.

Last week, if one took a short walk along Jaffa Street to the walls of the Old City,

Jaffa Gate Square was once again the place where the city is distributing free Christmas trees.

 Last year these bins were quickly emptied.

Again this year Santa was available to pose with a tree for photographers.


The free trees provided by the Municipality and the Jewish National Fund

were given to those who showed proper identification.

Organized distribution…a sign of progress! 


While we think of those in the northeastern United States dealing with too much snow,

 there is no snow or much-needed rain here, just sunshine and warm temperatures perfect for jogging,

walking or sitting in the park,

and for thousands of holiday visitors.

As 2010 comes to an end, there are no visible signs of progress on the release of Gilad Shalit, 

 each morning the numbers on the sign change as the days of captivity increase.

Sunrise, Sunset

As the world focused on the lunar eclipse coinciding with the equinox,

visible in North America,

 the full moon over Jerusalem seemed exceptionally large and bright

and the views from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City were spectacular.

The days will be getting longer as the seasons change.

Sadly, retired Chazan Yaakov Yitzchak Spanglet,  

formerly of  Toledo, Ohio passed away quietly during the night.

Beloved  ‘Jack’ came to America as a young child, grew up in New York,

and raised his family in Ohio.

He had the zechut, the merit, to spend the last two decades

of his long life in Israel surrounded by family.


 “One season following another” was one of his favorite lyrics, 

 from ‘his’ song …”Sunrise, Sunset”.

 He will be remembered fondly by friends, his wife,

and many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

May his memory be a blessing.

Just Some Smoke

Hours after another firefighter died from his injuries in the Carmel fire,

around mid-day on  Sunday,  Jerusalem firefighters are on the scene

as smoke is coming from the roof of the Dan Panaroma Hotel. 

Fire trucks line the street in front of the hotel.

Firefighters go up and down in their extension ladder several times,

but traffic does not even slow down to notice. 


There was a lot going on: firefighters dressed in full gear,

a water pumper truck,

water spraying,

 two firefighters in hazmat suits,


and only a few people slowing down to look.

The ladder comes down,

 time to pose for a photo


with the fire equipment. 

Just another day on the Jerusalem streets…