Before 1967, Jerusalem was a sleepy old place, divided by a No-man’s Land. The buses arrived from the Tel Aviv area, chugging their way slowly up the winding, twisting Route One.
Jewish tourists were denied access to the Old City from 1948 – June 1967. Jews were not allowed to live in the Old City under Jordanian occupation. One had to go to the roof of Notre Dame to view the forlorn site of the Jewish Temple centuries ago.
Oh, how things have changed!
This year the population of Jerusalem is projected to exceed a million people.
Mayor Moshe Lion spoke at the annual Yekiray Yerushalayim, Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day event held at the Israel Museum on May 6th.
The previous venue for the event has been the Tower of David which is now under renovation and filled with construction equipment to make it accessible. For centuries the Tower of David was used as a military fortress to keep people out, now it is being redone to welcome everyone.
Renovation work also continues in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.
This area was fenced off after it was sprayed with a questionable chemical.
It’s the time of year I love, when multiple colors line the Jerusalem streets.
A long time favorite, these bird of paradise are near the Knesset.
Even the weeds looked attractive in the evening light this week.
Other signs of returning to life, as Jerusalem festivals are back. Some are hybrid, consisting of live and recorded presentations, as was The Jerusalem Writers Festival on May 3-5th.
President Reuven Rivlin came to the Jerusalem Cinematheque to kick off
the 4th International Conference on the Freedom of the Press hosted by the Jerusalem Press Club.
The five journalism prize finalists were able to attend the live opening event held in the small theater, but most of the conference was online.
The week after Lag B’Omer was a time for weddings and celebrations. As I walked thru Mamilla Mall all I had to do was to look up to find a wedding.
Ramadan continues for another week, nightly Muslim families come to celebrate in the Old City after day time fasting.
Muslim men arrived at Jaffa Gate, with prayer rugs over their shoulder.
President Rivlin received suggestions for forming a new government at Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence. Are we on the way to election #5?
The Museum of Tolerance appears to be nearing completion,
while work on the Netanyahu house continues,
and road work – too many locations to keep track of closings.
This year Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, is to go for a full week.
Last year under the corona cloud and lockdown there were no large celebrations for Yom Yerushalayim, the flags and dancing and parades were missing from the Jerusalem streets. This year the event is to return beginning on Monday afternoon, May 10th. In the evening following Jerusalem Day, the traditional Flag Dance will take place in the Old City at the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza, plus multiple other events and locations.
From the May 6 opening honoring accomplishments of long-time Jerusalem residents to the special Shabbat service at the Great Synagogue hosting the Jerusalem Mayor, and until a closing concert at Safra Square on May 13th– the celebrations have returned to Jerusalem.
A festive prayer service is to be held at the Kotel, in honor of 54 years since the liberation of Jerusalem. It will begin, at 7:30 pm, on Sunday, May 9th, as usual, combined with prayers in memory of those killed and for the recovery of those wounded at the tragedy at Mt. Meron, as well as prayers of thanksgiving for the miracle of Israel’s recovery from the coronavirus. Added will be a mass “hagomel” blessing for the first time during the Jerusalem Day eve prayers to offer gratitude for Israel’s recovery following more than a year of the pandemic.
Everyone can join using the above link for the live broadcast on the platforms of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, and itraveljerusalem.
To conclude, I am sharing Eitan Asraf’s excellent video, with visuals and edits in under 8 minutes, he has captured a wonderful overview of Jerusalem. Jerusalem Day is to be extraordinary. City website HERE
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!