Books, More Books and Authors

While eulogies for volumes with paper pages are being composed,

and Borders goes chapter 11,

 the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair opened on Sunday night

 at Binyanei Ha’uma, the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

Very strong rains with thunder and lightning, a rarity in Jerusalem, 

  welcomed author Ian McEwan who was awarded the Jerusalem Prize

at an invitation-only event.

Monday morning the convention center doors opened to the public,

where one exhibition hall

after another

and another 

and another 

were filled with over 100,000 books from more than 30 countries.

Along with Hebrew and English, there is plenty of Russian

and Esperanto. 

 There are university publications

to children’s books,

and a chance for everyone to find

something interesting–

even Obama’s Secrets.

Tuesday at a symposium on E-publishing, Google books was one topic

presented to a large crowd by an international panel led by Yossi Vardi.

All week a Literary Cafe featuring Israeli and foreign writers is featured.

All day long there are varied discussions in a variety of languages.

One impressive example of the dynamic of the presentations:

after a well attended panel discussion led by Israeli editor Noa Manheim,

 Czech Republic author, Tomas Zmeskal of “Love Letter in Cuneiform Script”

speaks with an audience member.

Some people will stay inside at the fair from 10:00am to 10:00pm all week, but

it is doubtful that the Chilean miners who were trapped under ground

and arrive in Israel today for a visit

will be taken to a book fair, no matter how large or popular.

Hope they are used to the sunshine by now,

as spring temperatures and sun are here, at least for a short time,

and the scene of the Old City walls is also not to be missed.

Attire to Inspire for Purim in Jerusalem

As 3 potential US presidential candidates ended their visits in Jerusalem,

  the Conference of Presidents of  Major American Jewish Organizations 

arrived for their annual meeting, but with increased security precautions,

there are often no public displays announcing such visitors.

However, the president of East Timor has flags lining his route.

In a week with every kind of weather,

the flags add color on a drab, cold rainy day,

 President Ramos-Horta’s visits Beit Hanasi,

the official residence of President Shimon Peres.

Official visitors do not affect most people , they are much more concerned

about the price of gasoline,

and, of course, the situation in Egypt, Iran, and the rest of the  Middle East.

With all the political unrest, the IDF has a new leader, 

Lt-General Benny Gantz,

and his first stop as the 20th chief officer was at the Kotel, Western Wall.

Thousands of others visited the Kotel the same day,

and some of their outfits might help solve the dilemma…

what to wear on Purim?


and Shushan are names found all year around in Jerusalem.

This being a leap year,

there is an extra month of Adar, more time to prepare for the holiday.

From the amazingly diverse Jerusalem streets,

some ‘everyday’ attire to inspire.

  There are female visitors

and male visitors in colorful clothes.

There are those dressed in all white,

or of course, in basic black.

These men on their way to Beit Hanasi, walking near

the Jerusalem Theater, prefer black and white.

Colorful hats are now on display.


Wigs are always popular.

Can’t wait to see what people will look like

when they actually dress up in Purim costumes next month!

Where Have all the Buses Gone?

The saga of the Jerusalem Light Rail continues with the public opening postponed from April to August.

 If you have not been to the center of Jerusalem lately,

you have missed what everyone is talking about.

 Jaffa Street

after years of construction,

with an indescribable  mess,

and digging,

and construction delays,


awaits the light rail trains.

Along the test routes people stop and look

and yellow-vested workers, do what ever it is they do to test the trains.

At first, private cars were banned, and lines of taxis

and buses filled Jaffa Street.

Today, choking vehicle exhaust fumes and overcrowding are just memories,

as nearly all of Jaffa Street is empty of all traffic.

      Yellow-vested security personnel are on corners to keep people off the tracks which have live power lines.

Originally signs read, “More than an hour”.

How long will they display, “Out of order” ?

It will be months until passengers are able to use the trains as regular transportation.

So where have all the buses gone?

Many are around the corner on narrow Agrippas Street

where even on a quiet wintry weekday thousands of waiting passengers line up


 and people spill onto the street from the narrow sidewalks


  near, the shuk, Machane Yehudah Market.


Many old stone buildings on Jaffa Street are set to be torn down,

while some are already being replaced.

Kikar Zion, Zion Square is getting a whole new look.

 With time,  Midrachov Yaffo could well be the heart of Jerusalem,

but a pedestrian mall on Jaffa Street near the shuk ready by December 2009 – impossible.

Meanwhile, buses are lined up on Hanevi’im Street waiting to get on to Agrippas,

filled with unsmiling passengers who could have walked to their destinations in half the time,

and the first light rail train has been hit by a car running a red light.


Signs for a Rainy Day

 German Chancellor Andrea Merkel is in Jerusalem along with nine government ministers.

 US presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is visiting too.

Surrounding Arab countries seem to be on fire, everyone has an ear to the news about Egypt.

But, the big news in Jerusalem is …it’s finally raining and it’s pouring!

After months of praying for rain…it is wet and cold.

Not as cold as much the United States having yet another ice and snow storm,

but the few people on the streets in the grey, damp weather usually

 are not smiling.

Now seems like a good time to share a few favorite signs saved for a rainy day.

Hope this immigrant’s childcare services are better than her English…unless she is looking for a new family.

“Enter” is in large letters, but check the small print. How old do you have to be to use the public toilet?

Spelling mistake or not a “mistak”?


A series of signs installed along the Jerusalem highway were deemed too political,

however, at night car headlights make the words visible under the fabric.

Also, in the ‘who gets paid to think these things up’  category…

after years as King George Street, new city street signs are in transliterated Hebrew, Hamelekh.

 A temporary warning sign loses something in translation.

 Many of these signs are posted around the city and sometimes even no garbage is below.


An old favorite, the staff smoking in the supposedly forbidden area outside the hospital entrance.

Bagels in this neighborhood are “H”, not “holy”, 

while in the Old City and you can buy a “cheese and ham” sandwich.

There are plenty of political signs; some discarded campaigns not so familiar,

while others cause such a stir they end quickly.


and how about this sign from an old campaign… something to think about?