15 New Things Above and Below the Jerusalem Streets

It was another roller-coaster week on the Jerusalem streets.

The sounds of children playing and birds chirping resonated from the Jerusalem parks as one walked by on the spring-like Shabbat morning.

It was only at night, after Shabbat ended, that we heard the devastating news of death and terror not so far away from our tranquil neighborhood.

However, I have decided to focus on what you did not hear about, not the “conflict” which garners international media attention, but what’s new.

My week started at the Kotel, Western Wall, where as usual, various groups of people of all ages from around the world were gathered.

One Jerusalem scene was perfect for black and white.

This colorful group of international Lutheran clergy was entering the Old City by Jaffa Gate to attend the ordination of the first Arab woman. Notice the international media reported that it took place in Jerusalem, with no mention of Israel?

Media reports called her a “Palestinian,” but did not note how the numbers of Christians in the Palestinian-controlled territories have plummeted under PA rule, whereas they have increased in Israel.

Work on the Tower of David is still not completed.

Some of the Old City streets were still quiet in the morning hours though the tourists are noticeable back on the Jerusalem streets.

The work on the restoration of the Tiferet Israel Synagogue is covered up but rises tall above the street in the Jewish Quarter. The construction to replace the structure that was destroyed by the Jordanian Legions in 1948 has taken years to complete.

Here is a reminder of how it looked for decades before work began.

Finally, the work on the Kotel Plaza elevator was underway. Those steps never were convenient for handicapped individuals or strollers, or anyone.

The Kotel Plaza is being dug up (again) for new infrastructure work.

This is how the work looks from above in the Western Wall Heritage Center.

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The work beneath the new Center building is not completed but is still an impressive look back centuries in time.

We were on our way to hear from the Rabbi of the Western Wall  Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. He gives his interviews in Hebrew and has them translated into English.

However, outside another famous rabbi not usually in the area was spotted. Rav Reuven Feinstein was leaving with a group as we arrived.

Also impressive is the newly enclosed Kotel Plaza area for women to pray quietly away from the elements. I have been watching the space for years and wondering what they were doing.

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But the main part of this visit was to see what was new under the Plaza.

Remember that I reported on a tour of Hanukkah 2021, that this area was not open to the public. Well, now it is, though excavation work is not ever complete, there is always something new to find going down.

Here’s a short video – with 4,000 years condensed into under 4 minutes.

It is not easy to condense so much history in a sound bite.

Sharing a few new images of the ancient space under the Kotel Plaza,

on the new Western Wall Heritage Great Bridge Tour.

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The ancient amphitheater that was never completed is now exposed.

The tour ends with the model of the Second Temple and the view of the Wall’s large stones under street level in the distance.

One photo of the new synagogue at the Western Wall, but there was so much more at the Kotel perhaps for another time.

Hard to miss it, Gan Sacher, Sacher Park is getting a big makeover.

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The signs are up for registration for the Jerusalem Marathon in March.

It’s only weeks away and Gan Sacher is the starting point and finish line.

Jerusalem gets discovered below the streets, and buildings rise above.

Things are not black and white, not just conflict, much more is happening on the Jerusalem streets.

And with the warm winter weather, color, lots of colors as flowers are blooming early before Tu Bishvat this year.

When are you coming to see on a Jerusalem Photo walk?

From Jerusalem Stones -Wishing All Shabbat Shalom

The United Nations has marked January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Home and belonging and ordinary people are the themes this year, in 2023.

The 27th falls on a Friday. Therefore, along with remembering, also, wishing all a Shabbat Shalom.

This section of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount Compound was underground, excavated, and soon to be opened to the public on the new Western Wall Tour.

שבת שלום

Jerusalem in January: See What’s Hot and Happening

January in Jerusalem, Israel, could be cold, dark and wet. But this year the weather has been mild, with sunny days and cool nights. Perfect weather to get out and walk on Jerusalem streets. Sadly, not good weather for farmers.

In the Talpiot neighborhood, the sun was shining over this old drab building painted with vivid colors.

I had gone to find the mural hung in support of Iranian women. The large banner is to be in this Jerusalem location for six weeks and then move on to another Israeli city.

The vivid Talpiot murals have increased over the years and graffiti has become a popular artistic expression along with the Jerusalem building and construction boom of recent years.

Not everything in Jerusalem is as it appears.

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This building might seem like a slum, and yet it is located in a popular and increasingly expensive neighborhood.

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Meters away from the Train Track trail, popular for walking and cycling.

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And this street in Jerusalem is a considered major thoroughfare.

Shabbat morning three Arab women were having driving lessons, on this street at the same time. One teacher was wearing a hijab, something that I hadn’t seen before.

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In Jerusalem, it’s possible to find time to pray, almost all day and all night.

You can also purchase a snack, drink, or pair of tzitzit from the vending machine at any time of day.

You never know what you will find next on the Jerusalem streets.

The bus stops are decorated with cute posters for a warm winter in Jerusalem. And it has been a very warm winter indeed!

The flowers are bursting with color.

It’s hard to walk down Jerusalem streets and not stop and notice.

This week I have constantly been impressed at the colors and variety.

But most of all, a sign of how warm it has been, the almond trees are in bloom already well before Tu B’Shevat – even before Rosh Chodesh Shevat.

I went on Friday to check out the almond blossoms and passed by Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence. Five layers of barriers were in place on Friday afternoon, all ready for anti-government protesters on Saturday night.

I checked out what was happening, and put together this video.

Remember Balfour Street from the previous protests? It was open to pedestrians during the protests and for many months.

Oh, the Jerusalem streets. What will happen next?

“You took me and my daughters 7 years ago and we loved it! Hopefully on our next visit!” was the comment I woke up to this morning in an email.  Was that the best cancelation comment ever?

When will you see the real Jerusalem streets?