Oh, what a year this was in Jerusalem, in Israel, and in the world!
Hard to believe I used to worry about things being the same year after year in Jerusalem and finding new things to share with you.
But now it’s time to say goodbye to the challenges of 5781 and welcome the new year 5782, beginning on Monday night.
The clouds in the night sky covered the Knesset.
Nature has been a constant this past year, but which will come first – the first rain or the budget – or – oy – another election?
The new sign at the bus stop reminds us of a sweet summer in Jerusalem.
Sports fans are celebrating Israel’s win over Austria 5-2 and advancing in the World Cup competition.
The Paralympics in Japan received less attention than the Olympics, but as usual, Israelis received medals in those races. Nine Israeli athletes received medals of which 6 were gold medals.
The Jerusalem Night Run included a group of visually impaired runners.
The winner in the Jerusalem Night Run received almost no attention. The event was much more modest than the last Jerusalem Marathon.
A book launch for the book ‘Hidden Heroes’ brought together Russian refusniks and individuals who worked for their release. More on that another time.
Tours are back at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. The table buffet was set with sweets for the annual Israeli President’s New Year Diplomats Reception, not for the tourists from Kiryat Gat.
However, there was time for a photo with Herzl next to the pomegranates.
Last year, the 5781 annual diplomat event was all online.
For 5782, President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal hosted a live event. All the diplomats lined up to shake hands, pose, and have their photos taken.
The new Ambassador from Morocco was the only one to make a presentation to the new Israeli President.
The Egyptian Ambassador has been to Beit Hanasi many times.
But the Ambassador from Bahrain, Khaled Al-Jalahma, made his first appearance at Beit Hanasi.
Still serving as Military Secretary to the President of Israel is B.G. Alaa Abu-Rukun, and he and the ambassador agreed to stop, pose, and smile for me.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived late and spoke briefly at the formal part of the program inside, where everyone was required to wear a mask.
The diplomats were then asked to go outside, and take a glass of wine or juice to raise for a toast, l’chaim,
and taste an apple in honey for a sweet new year.
Apples and honey can be found on the new Jerusalem street signs.
Signs for a sweet year for 5782
and a healthy one, line Jerusalem streets,
along with the new signs for the new school year. Classes have started even as the number of corona cases rises. One girl in our family was in school for only one day before returning to zoom school.
When corona closings started last year, outside minyanim popped up and out on many Jerusalem streets. For Rosh Hashana 5782 outside prayers are again recommended, but not mandated. Thousands were at the Kotel, Western Wall, divided into sections, for selihot after Shabbat.
The rules keep changing to keep us on guard. Tour groups are to be allowed into Israel soon with no mandatory quarantine.
Now to prepare holiday meals, starting back slowly from no guests for so long. Oh, the days when eight at the table was a normal day.
After taking photos of hundreds of dignitaries and not being in any of them,
I finally gave in and had my photo was taken with the oldest working journalist in the world, 97 1/2 years young Walter Bingham.
As 5781 comes to an end – Shana tova!