What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

What’s New in Jerusalem After Holidays?

The holidays are over.

It is time to get “back to normal.”

The Knesset winter season has opened, and universities are back in session.

A rocket from Gaza destroyed a home in Beer Sheva overnight.

Thankfully the mother was able to run with her 3 sleeping children to a safe room.

In Beer Sheva schools are closed, as students are home for a “rocket day.”

Happy New Year sign up way after new year in Jerusalem Israel

On one Jerusalem, Israel, street, the Happy New Year signs were still up.

Jerusalem Israel building cranes

And building cranes were also up, way up, and back to the business of building.

Jerusalem Israel Montefiore Windmill shield of arms over door

The Montefiore Windmill is now open as a winery and tourist spot.

The missing Monefiore coat of arms seems to be back over the door.

Bride and groom in Inbal lobby Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays, weddings galore filled the days and nights.

Ben Gurion actor in Jerusalem Israel at Christian Media Summit

Conferences and Israel 70-year missions are too many to list, enough to surprise Ben Gurion.

Jerusalem Israel conference with US Ambassador Friedman and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu on stage

Two hundred international Christian media professionals came for a media summit.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and US Ambassador Friedman were featured at the opening event.

I met a woman from Canada, a radio team from Estonia, and sat next to a working couple from The Hague, all supporters of Israel.

These visitors were all excited and happy to be here.

Security at First Station at end of day

Check out the security, still partially visible as I left the event at First Station.

Har Hazaytim tour buses in Jerusalem Israel

After the holidays tourist buses were still lining the road on Har Hazeitim, the Mount of Olives.

Record numbers of tourists arrived this past year in Israel.

Ido Aharoni diagram at ITSS

Ido Aharoni told the International Tourism Security Summit (ITSS) that Israel’s Main Value is its creativity. He used as an example actors in a theater group who bake bread on stage as part of the show. All the actors are blind and deaf, and use 1500 physical cues to perform perfectly every night in the theater.

which kills more people sharks or coconuts?

Summit seems to be the new term for conference. Some of the slides at the ITSS were great.

This one I really appreciated. Who knew how many people are killed by falling coconuts a year?

Night on porch of Inbal Hotel Jerusalem Israel

The Inbal has been renovating, and the patio was lovely at night,

View from Inbal balcony at night Jerusalem

as was the view over the Liberty Bell Park with the Dan Boutique Hotel lit up in the distance.

German Chancellor and Israeli President in Jerusalem Israel

As soon as the holidays were over, Angela Merkel arrived in Israel.

Israeli President House lunch for German delegation in Jerusalem Israel

The German Chancellor, her delegation, and Israeli guests were served lunch at Beit Hanasi.

Prof Aumann talks with Andrea Merkel at Beit Hanasi lunch

I wondered what Nobel Prize Winner Prof. Aumann said to Merkel as she entered the room with the Israeli President.

Jerusalem Israeli President House reception for Andrea Merkel and delegates

Other Nobel Prize winners were invited, and the only female Israeli winner sat next to Merkel.

Jerusalem street blocked to traffic during visit of German chancellor

Most people only paid attention to the German delegation in Jerusalem when streets were closed.

After the holidays, and traffic was back to normal, filling the streets.

Rabbinic Judges Swearing in at Israeli President House

Twenty-four new rabbinical court judges were sworn in this week at Beit Hanasi.

New Rabbinical judges with Israeli President

This photo of the President, Chief Rabbis and the head of selection committee has received attention for being all male.

Rabbi Amar and Rabbi Yosef at Israeli President House

But have you seen this photo? I am looking for good caption, open to suggestions.

This is only a fraction of what has been happening, and so much more is scheduled for after the holidays.

A Jerusalem favorite starts tomorrow.

Over 120 varied locations are open for free in the annual  100 Houses from Within 

Jerusalem Israel Zeev Elkin office

Municipal elections are at the end of October.

Signs were popping up everywhere.

This pop-up store front became a campaign location.

Holidays may be over, but much is still happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Pray it Forward

Pray it Forward

This is not a regular RJS post with a pretty photo and good wishes.

Sometimes you see something and think, “wow, that’s special.”

What a feeling when you find out it is bigger and better than you originally thought.

I saw an idea on Facebook and decided to help promote a 15-minute prayer session.

A virtual, international prayer group to show support and love for Ahava Emunah.

#HealingWithLove   #TogetherForAhava   #PrayItForward  – easy I thought.

I had done dozens of #Happylanche in honor of Ahava Emunah in the past.

Poser of flowers for #happylance

Perfect for after the holidays, unity, good will and good wishes from around world.

So the Facebook Group Together for Ahava was formed.

Facebook group together for Ahava

Link to join HERE  

But, that is only beginning of this story.

One of the first comments was:

I don’t pray daily anymore
I don’t wake up at 5am unless I have a really important flight that I was forced to take
I don’t wear a kippa anymore
I don’t keep Shabbat anymore
I don’t really believe praying for onesself works
…But I will be praying with all you lovely people with all the Love and Faith I can muster for the refuah of our dear friend and the healing and joy that will bestow upon her dear family ❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏

Wow, I thought this is better than I thought.

But, then Shira emailed me her story, the reason behind this initiative.

Wow is not powerful enough for this!

4 years I nearly died.
I was with my husband and kind on my annual trip to the United States to visit my parents, siblings, and extended family.
I only get to see my family once a year, so I always look forward to this 2 week visit.

But in 2014, things went terribly different from my regular trips.
Four days after landing, and while standing at the Kiddush for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I suddenly, out of nowhere, felt like someone punched me right in the stomach.
It was the freakiest experience in the world.
Like it happened totally out of nowhere.
And then, within seconds, I felt freezing.
I remember asking my brother if he wouldn’t mind lending me his suit jacket.
And then I felt like I was going to throw up.

Hundreds of friends and family came from far and wide to celebrate with us and I felt like a strange stomach virus was coming on.
I took myself home immediately, thinking I needed to be close to a bathroom.
My parents followed and strongly encouraged me to go to a hospital.
As the non-medicine/hospital person that I am, I told them this would pass.
It was only a stomach virus.
A 24 hour thing.
Plus, what hospital in America would take me? I was on traveler’s insurance and had no idea what that would even cover.

The next day, I was begging my husband to get on the phone with the insurance company in Israel and tell them – I. NEED. A. HOSPITAL.
Two days after being admitted to the hospital and having endless CTs, MRIs, ultrasounds, blood tests, and failed attempts at laproscopy, the physicians, surgeons, and specialists were stunned and stumped as to what was going on.
And then, I went into septic shock.
All my systems stopped working.
I was dying.

Decisions were made for me without my consent.

The next thing I would remember, 36 hours and two major abdominal surgeries to extract all the pus that was covering every organ in my abdominal area later, they gave it a name.
Spontaneous peritonitis.
I was told 1 in 3 people usually die from it.
I had survived, but was clearly not anywhere close to seeing the light.
I would be unable to get out of bed, unable to stand, unable to pass gas, and unable to eat.
I would be on a feeding tube for two weeks while in the hospital.
I would be unable to communicate verbally to any of the doctors.
I was in the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced in my life – nothing remotely compared to any of the 4 natural childbirths I had gone through.
Visitors came.
But because of the pain, I kindly asked to limit them to nearly none.

And so, I was alone.
And I felt alone.
And scared.
And confused.
I was filled with many, many questions.
Why me?
Why this?
How am I going to take care of my kids when I can’t even get out of bed?
How am I going to take an 11-hour flight back to Israel?
What about school for the kids? It starts next week!
And Avi Chai starts first grade!
This can’t be happening!

I cried a lot during that time.
A lot.
Cries of self-pity and victimization.
And I’ll never forget when a rabbi friend of mine came to visit, just for a few minutes.
I assumed he would just ask how I was doing.
Or ask what I need.
Or tell me that God is watching over me.
Or something like that.
But, he didn’t.

He told me he was praying for me.
Shira Bracha bat Malka.
He was using MY name in HIS prayers.
And not only that, he said the entire community was praying for me.
The. Entire. Community.
Shira Bracha bat Malka.
I was speechless.
Could it possibly be that people are taking time out of their very busy days and lives to pray for me?
People that don’t even know me?
People that have never heard of me?
They’re praying for ME?
It was something unfathomable.

You see, I did not grow up religiously observant.
Praying (let alone praying for others) was not something familiar to me.
Why would people, who don’t even know me, pray for me?
The enormous sense of gratitude and love that was instilled in me in that very moment brought me to tears.
One minute prior, I was feeling alone.
One minute later, I was feeling enveloped in a world of hope.
And faith.
That I would get through this.

Even if it would mean my husband would have to take our 4 kids back to Israel alone.
Even if it would mean using a walker for the next month and then a cane for the next four.
Even if it would mean telling my boss I’d need to take a sick leave.
Even if it would mean not being able to carry anything heavier than a glass of water for the next six months.
Even if it would mean not being able to stand upright or use any of my stomach muscles for the next several months.
Even if it would mean staying in the United States and not seeing my kids for the next two months.
I would get through this.
We would get through this.
Because hope and faith were instilled me by people praying for my healing.

Around the time that I was sick in the hospital, I stumbled about Ahava Emunah’s blog (a fellow ImaKadimanik), who for the past six years has chronicled her experiences as she “runs with” stage 4 cancer.
I immediately subscribed to her blog because I knew this was a superb human being.
Over the past few years she has courageously confronted her illness with optimism, resiliency, and super-human grace.
She has inspired me, and so many others in this group and around the world to bring love, gratitude, and faith to our lives.

I cannot come close to describing in words how Ahava Emunah has touch my life and the life of so many others.
Whether you know her or not, a magical opportunity has been created to virtually participate in a 15 minute segment of space-time (no matter where you are in the world), next Tuesday, October 9th (Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan) at 3 PM Israel time.

A critical mass of sincere hearts will (virtually) coming together to raise their voices in support and prayers of healing for Ahava Emunah Lange.

I will never forget how the power of prayer helped me in my journey towards healing.
I would like to pay that forward and do the same for Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta.
If you would like to join this virtual experience, please comment below and I will send you the details.
Thank you.

Consider joining us on Tuesday. HERE is FB link. Please share with your friends.
For those interested Tehilim, Psalms 1, 6, 13, 20, 102 and 130 are suggested.
Also, a GoFundMe Fund was started by friends see: HERE