Not eating or drinking is called a “fast,”
but without water and morning coffee…”slow” would be more accurate for me.
The Tisha B’Av fast started on Monday, August 8, 2011 at nightfall,
this post should have been out on Tuesday, but even after the fast…sorry–still slow.
Mourning the destruction of Jerusalem in the reunified Jerusalem
is a unique experience.
Tens of thousands of people gather at the Kotel, the Western Wall,
and sit on low chairs or on the stones to recite the sad verses of Eicha and Kinot.
For so many centuries, The Book of Lamentations asks…Alas, how could it be?
Some opt to sit
while others prefer to sit in small groups. Many stay all night.
As the Jewish Quarter closed for the fast day,
much of the Muslim Quarter was open
with colorful displays of food to break the Ramadan fast.
Colored lights lined the way of most
but not all the alleyways.
For the seventeenth year in a row,
Women in Green assembled a large group in Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park
for prayers and speeches, followed by a walk around the walls of the Old City.
This year they shared the park with the “tent city” protesters
and the night with Ramadan celebrations.
The march was to begin at 11 pm, much later than usual because of Ramadan.
For the first time the marchers had to watch out for an empty light rail train.
It was well after midnight when the group arrived at
Sha’ar Shechem, the Damascus Gate.
Street vendors and Israeli flags filled the sidewalk and on to the street
and families and more vendors kept coming.
Security personnel watched the quiet scene.
After passing Herod’s and Lion’s Gates
Dozens of idle buses lined the road ready to transport
the hundreds of people still coming and going after 1:00am.
The Kotel entrance plaza was a busy place all night.
Near Jaffa Gate a new table was set up to sell photos of the Baba Elazar z”l.
While tens of thousands of people were out on Tisha B’Av in the Old City,
a few minutes away this normally busy intersection was deserted.
This year, Ramadan coincides with the month of August,
so devout Muslims will fast all day and at night crowds will gather to eat and shop.
Abu Sharif, a member of the PLO and former advisor to Arafat,
has called for “Friday intifadas during Ramadan”.
Walking around the Walls on Tisha B’Av concluded peacefully.
Last year thousands of Muslims prayed in Jerusalem every Friday of Ramadan.
It is possible to share the streets of Jerusalem peacefully.
After the fast, as Israelis head to the airport and up north on vacation
…at least the streets should be a little less crowded.
More photos of Walking around the Walls on The Real Jerusalem Facebook Page.