How to Spend Time in Jerusalem in 2020


Time in Jerusalem, Israel, as in much of the world during the corona pandemic, has become a blur. Days have become weeks, then months and a New Year is almost here.

Since March 2020, an 8:30 backyard minyan, morning prayer service, has been one constant. No need for a watch. I could set my clock to the minute when they start.

We live in a “mixed” Jerusalem neighborhood, and there is no synagogue on our street. But starting after Purim, I have woken up to the sounds of morning prayers. As  I brush my teeth or stand at the kitchen sink, I have been able to receive the Priestly Blessing from a distant voice.

Kotel during coronavirus for morning services

The Kotel, Western Wall, in the morning, was set up for bar mitzvah groups in keeping with the latest COVID-19 regulations. This time of year the area is often packed with thousands of people.

Kotel Plaza divided into sections for late night selihot during coronavirus pandemic limitations on size of gatherings

But this year at night, there are chairs set for Selihot placed “socially distant” from each other.

Chairs placed in Wilson Arch Kotel at night

The Kotel area inside Wilson’s Arch was set at night, ready for the next morning.

This screenshot of prepared prayer spots feels frozen in time.

Jerusalem path near the Israel Museum above the Valley of the Cross

In the past, I walked the Jerusalem streets for hours, looking for crowds, people, and interesting sites to share. Now going out means staying away from those crowds and avoiding people.

Recognizing friends at this time is not so simple. With hats, sunglasses, and masks, someone who you have not seen a few months can be difficult to recognize.

Sign for New Year gatherings in Jerusalem Plarks

Over the summer during this coronavirus time, Jerusalem began offering park camping opportunities. Families were encouraged to come to outside green areas. A sign in Nayot Park is encouraging families to spend their holiday time in nature areas.

Bunch of grapes growing on Jerusalem street

One image for the passing of time are grapes ripening on the vine.

Polce vehicle turning to exit park area

No, this police vehicle was not trying to block these people. The driver was on this part of the path–with no vehicular exit–for his first and last time.  He got stuck, and had to back up and try and turn around to get out of the area.

old Belarusian flag, now used as the opposition flag in the rallies against Lukashenko

There have been eleven weeks of loud protests near the Prime Minister’s Residence and the Knesset. However, this was the first time seeing a protester near the Knesset with a Belarus flag.  His aim, which is for Israelis to pay attention to the situation in Belarus, worked – the large red and white flag got me to notice.

Jerusalem Israel Hebrew signs posted on street corner

As summer ends, new signs were up and it is time to support the Jerusalem Symphony.

At the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, there’s a  YEMEN Fest – מופע גרוב-ג’אז-פאנק

entrance of the Jerusalem Bible Lands Museum

There’s still time to book a tour in person or watch online at the Bible Lands Museum.

Jerusalem Yad Vashem exhibiit

After many months, Yad Vashem also announced it’s opening its doors at limited times.

Sacher Park new seating near the play equipment

The summertime weather was pleasant and  Jerusalem nights were cool. But now a heatwave has arrived.  It’s too hot for the play equipment or midday picnics in Gan Sacher. 

Jerusalem school year sign during coronavirus

School is to start on September 1, 2020. It’s going to be an interesting time for all.

The usual back to “Kita Aleph” – first-grade mega productions have been toned down. With COVID-19, it’s one parent, wearing a mask, holding the hand of a small child walking into the unknown new classroom. Capsules, masks, and moving online is the pandemic era new norm.

Wishing all students and teachers a good and healthy year!

Women soldiers in the Israel army

And now is the time for new Israeli recruits to the IDF to begin their army training.

Six years ago, Chazan Shai Abramson led the IDF Choir at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.

As the Jewish holiday season with so many unknowns approaches is a good time to repeat the prayer for the Israel Defense Forces and all of Israel, and the world.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay healthy.

Hope to see you sometime soon on the Jerusalem streets.

8 thoughts on “How to Spend Time in Jerusalem in 2020

  • August 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Sharon, Just wanted to thank you once again for the wonderful connection you give us to what is going on in Israel. You are truly so good at this, and we appreciate it. Wishing you and your family a shana tova . All the best,
    Marcia Moskowitz

    • August 30, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you Marcia! Hope you all are well.

  • August 30, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Your photos and explanations are so clear that I can imagine myself there. Our grandson just got to israel Wednesday and is in his two week quarantine; we were to be coming with the family for succos, but that’s been scratched, sadly. We are davening for a safe and healthy shana tova; we want to get to our beloved israel. IY”h , we hope that time is not too far away.
    כתיבה וחתימה טובה.

    • August 30, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      I so appreciate your constant support and comments. Hope all are well and he has a great year, in spite of corona crazy times.

  • August 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    what a great photo summary of what this crazy time is like! Love your pictures, they tell the story in ways that words just can’t portray …I feel the heat, and the pain, and the loneliness by the kotel, the sourness of the grapes, the plight of Belarus and the sounds of the choir.
    Thank you.

    • August 30, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you Sharleen.

  • September 6, 2020 at 4:37 am

    A real insider’s tour with authenticity with an eye for what really is being seen. lovely.

    • September 6, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you. Shava tova


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