Hanukkah in Jerusalem is always a busy time, filled with events and family gatherings, nights with candle lighting, and plenty of oily, fried foods.
This year the week started off with glorious weather outside. The stone walls of the Old City were under a blue sky as colorful flags flew over the Cinematheque.
Inside the Isrotel Orient Hotel, on November 29, IMPROVATE launched its first Forum to introduce Israeli future technology to world finance leaders.
Champion Chess Player Garry Kasparov was one of the special guests. The former President of Bulgaria mentioned that after flight delays he arrived in Israel five minutes before the midnight closure to tourists.
Of the 300 invitees, only 3 were unable to attend the live conference which ended with a Black-Eyed Peas performance at the Jerusalem Pais Arena.
Kaf Tet–November 29th in 1947, the UN voted for the Partition Plan of Palestine, recognizing Jewish rights and leading to the establishment of Israel.
In 1977, the UN General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
In her opening remarks Irina Nevzlin, Cofounder and Chair of IMPROVATE recognized the importance of November 29 in her life, for she was born in the former Soviet Union and was able to move to Israel – ‘to come home.”
Annually Hanukkah in Jerusalem means sufganiyot, each year new fancy flavors are produced and millions of donuts are consumed.
The large chanukiah (menorah) was back in Mamilla Mall
and at Jaffa Gate near the entrance to the Old City.
The traditional menorah stood at the Kotel, Western Wall.
The new US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, lit the candles on the seventh night at the Kotel and tweeted, “As the Hanukkah song goes, we come to banish the darkness,ׁ and together, we shine a bright light. Hanukkah sameach!”
This year, for the first time, a lighting ceremony took place on top of the new Western Wall Heritage Center, built at the back of the Kotel Plaza.
As night fell, politicians and other invited guests who were honored at the ceremony stood on the rooftop overlooking the Kotel.
I was there on the second night when these flames were lit.
MK Miri Regev was impressed enough to share the event with her fans and followers with her phone.
The view of the Kotel Plaza from above was impressive as always.
However, in the new building, the view below was fascinating also. For years the area was a construction site, as archeologists carefully dug down and the site was covered from view. Now those digs are exposed and are seen here in the new educational building.
But there is much more to see underground. New levels of history have been revealed under the Western Wall Tunnels.
Before going on the new Big Bridge Tour there is a video to help explain with multiple drawings.
The blue mark shows where we were standing.
And here is how the area of arches looked in the time of the Romans.
The steps down show the new/old mikvah, but it is not a colorful image.
However, with new technology, the Roman waterfalls flow for visitors.
The arched rooms and columns are impressive, but not easy to photograph.
Workers were finishing up the wooden bridge for the opening the next day.
The main underground area we visited in August 2019 has been prepared for the public to see on the new Big Bridge tour.
This new spacious area of the old Western Wall has been exposed.
Also new is the ‘Chain of Generations’ tour, which begins with stories of Abraham and Sarah, and their descendants,
and continues with the story of the Exodus from Egypt and Moshe
leading the 12 Tribes of Israel into the Land of Israel,
and includes the 70 names of Jerusalem
and the destruction of Jerusalem,
the longing to return, the devastation of the Shoah, Holocaust,
providing names of early pioneers, ending with an inspirational video,
describing the Chain of Generations.
Only sharing a few snippets so you will appreciate the experience when tourists are finally allowed to return!
For those who support the UN’s denying a Jewish connection to Jerusalem, these tours will upset your day and misguided beliefs.
And on the eighth night of Hanukkah, the new US Ambassador to Israeli lit candles at Beit Hanasi, with the Israeli President and his wife.