Jerusalem New and Old

While so much in Jerusalem is old, much is also new. It is hard to tell which stones on the ground are really the old ones. Even some buildings are made to look old.

Amazing Old and New in Jerusalem looked so very different 3 years ago.

Walking along Hanasi Street, you can see new signs outside of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s official residence, marking fifty years in the present location.

Images from the past complement the sign with more detailed information.

It’s been Middle Eastern hot this past week. I have refrained from midday excursions, as it was not pleasant to walk under the blazing sun.

But how nice to see the shade provided in children’s play areas in new Jerusalem parks, even if very few children were out playing.

Covered play areas have been a given in Australia for decades, finally, they are in more and more Jerusalem parks.

And now there is a shade for this school, finally, work has been done over the summer after years of neglect.

Families are busy getting ready for school to start on September 1st and hoping for a better new year after the difficult conditions with COVID-19.

Others families were busy with weddings. Mazel tov to Ilanit and Meir!

With new online participation, one can now dance at more than one wedding at a time.

Engagement setups are always fun to see in this popular area. I did not stop to watch if she said yes to the “Marry Me” at the end of the floral runway.

Who would have imagined the first night of selihot online from Bahrain!

Some old scenes never really get old. The Kotel Plaza, Western Wall, visible in the distance with dramatic lighting is one of my favorites.

Notice many men were distanced from one another, that was new this year.

This is my favorite location for photographs, but new this time, I had to show a green pass to gain access.

The selihot tours of the Old City annually draw large crowds. On Thursday night the crowds were so large that cars were gridlocked and parking was scarce in the surrounding area.

New this year, uniformed police on a walking tour with young boys.

Mamilla Mall was busy, busy, busy, you name the hour, Israelis came.

Amazing as soon as one store goes out, a new one comes in the rental spot.

The old Arab souk, however, depends on foreign tourism and was not busy.

For selihot this year, the old prayers have a new look. The Great Synagogue was open again to those with the green pass. The main musical event was held at Binyunei Hauma, the Jerusalem International Conference Center, with the Mayor and a long list of performers.

This year musical Selihot services moved outside in Yemin Moshe, with the walls of the Old City in the background.

The new sounds could be heard around the old neighborhood streets,

from multiple locations late into the night,

Selihot services were held inside synagogues and outside on porches.

This week the 38th international Jerusalem Film Festival was back.

The live audience gathered in the Sultan’s Pool amphitheater with the huge screen, not far from the Tower of David at sunset.

Former president Ruvi Rivlin came with his daughter Rivi and sat in specially reserved seats a few rows back.

The front row was not easy to photograph from the angle that President Herzog’s new security team demanded.

Herzog spoke, then when he announced that he was leaving, the audience responded with audible displeasure.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion and others stayed to see the new animated feature film about Anne Frank.

Here is an old sight, the beigelah guy seated by the Cinematheque sign looking for hungry customers.

A week filled with new and old. New technology lets us participate in a Selihot program in Bahrain and witness weddings from afar.

And in the dentist’s office, this cube became a new tooth, in less than half an hour, to replace my broken molar.

As always there was more, but time now to wish you well and hope to see you soon on the (cooler) Jerusalem streets.

Next week is Rosh Hashana, a New Year.

Oh, where did the time go, the new gap year students are arriving?

The End of August in Jerusalem

Another week flew by in Jerusalem, Israel.

Shabbat morning I was not the only one taking a walk on the Jerusalem streets before the heat of the day.

Without his usual entourage, I almost didn’t recognize Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion with two security guards dressed in short sleeve shirts. It looked like the CEO of the Jerusalem Development Authority was the fourth person walking along looking at Azza Street.

Clouds of smoke covered the sun in the Jerusalem sky last week as the Jerusalem Forest burned out of control for two days. Homes and businesses were destroyed. People raced to put possessions into their cars and escape the flames. Hospital patients had to be evacuated until fire units could control the burning forest under windy conditions. Everyone was relieved when the winds and flames ended.

As usual, along with the bad, many new, good things were happening too.

Docu.text, the annual documentary film festival, was held by the National Library this past week.

The new Israel National Library complex under construction is an impressive sight at night. Looking forward to when it will finally open.

The new Train Theater is to host the annual International Puppet Festival.

The name now makes sense, as this is the original Train Theater being restored on the new campus, located at the end of the Liberty Bell Park.

It is located next to the expanded parking lot across from First Station. But be warned; I have seen cars circling around and around looking for a spot.

The Jerusalem Theater is preparing to celebrate its 50th year.

The opening night of the 38th Jerusalem Film Festival, JFF is set for August 24th, again at the Sultan’s Pool near the Cinematheque. However, this year there is a new addition, Film Truck, which will have showings in various Jerusalem neighborhoods – for free.

Quentin Tarantino received a special award from Mayor Nir Barkat five years ago and is to be back again this year in Jerusalem for the JFF opening.

Dr Ruth and President Reuven Rivlin

At the last big JFF opening night, BC, Before Corona, Dr. Ruth was a special guest, along with then-President Reuven Rivlin.

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Speaking of the former president, he was back at Beit Hanasi with new President Herzog and Prime Minister Bennett to welcome back the Israeli Tokyo 202 Olympic athletes.

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Cameras were readied in the main diplomatic hall of the Israeli President’s Residence.

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There were selfies galore with the two gold medal winners.

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Smiles, hugs, and kisses, as the athletes, coaches, and supporters celebrated Israel’s success at Tokyo 2020 games.

And of course, there were speeches also.

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Coming outside for official photos, President Herzog stayed for more and more poses with the medalists.

For even more of those smiles, check on Facebook HERE

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PM Bennett left followed by his security detail.

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Back at Balfour Street, the ugly added layers of security have been removed. Protesters are now in Ra’anana, where the Prime Minister lives, rather than near the official residence in Jerusalem.

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Families are getting in their last days on the Jerusalem streets near the end of August, and hopefully before the start of a new and better school year,

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Ben Yehudah is one of many locations with people listening to music and finding places to eat on the cooler summer evenings.

Big concerts at Kikar Safra, Jerusalem City Hall Plaza, are now accompanied

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by long lines of people waiting to get their jabs. Vaccinations are now going to be available in a long list of Jerusalem neighborhoods also.

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Those random Jerusalem street closings still continue to challenge drivers.

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And those building sites go up (after going deep down first) all over the Jerusalem streets!

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Get ready for The Jerusalem Night Run to launch the Maccabiah Games to be held in Jerusalem, set for August 29th.

The Israeli athletes on the Paralympic teams are on their way to the Tokyo Games. They receive less attention than the main Olympic events but have a tradition of more medalists.

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And as August comes to an end and we approach the New Year, a shemittah year. Planting on new traffic circles has been sped up.

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The new outside locations need to be planted before the restriction of planting begins with another shemittah cycle.

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Gardeners are busy now, but they won’t be as busy next year.

A favorite sight this time of year on the Jerusalem streets–pomegranates are ripening on the trees. And those in the know cover the ripe fruit to protect it from the birds.

So there you have it, some of the good things happening in Jerusalem to balance the bad ones that make headlines.

Take care and stay well, the new year will be here soon.

7 positive things in Jerusalem this week

Oh, what a year it has been in Jerusalem, Israel!

Oh, what a week it has been!

Where to start?

It’s been a year since Jerusalem’s Old City walls were lit with flags of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in honor of the Abraham Accords.

This week the first Israeli baby was born in UAE, Mia’s father is the Israeli General Consul in Dubai. Because of coronavirus normalization has not gone as fast as many would have liked.

Still waiting to show new Twitter friends the real Jerusalem streets when they are finally able to travel here.

Too many lights over the Jerusalem, Israel streets to see the meteor show, but we did have a clear view of the new moon, over the entrance to the city filled with construction cranes. Building and moving are major themes this week in and around Jerusalem.

New decorations keep popping up over the city center.

People have returned in large numbers to the outdoor spaces.

During the heat of the day, I try to stay off the streets. Jaffa Gate was not filled with the usual tourists, but a slow, steady stream of visitors.

Large gatherings are in danger of being canceled with the new COVID19 regulations and rising numbers of people sick with coronavirus.

However, small musical groups played along Ben Yehuda mall, with children and cats as part of the audience. When it gets so hot, the cats are smart enough to avoid the Jerusalem streets until late in the day.

At Zion Square, the renovated plaza with benches and shade, people appreciated having a place to sit under the newly colorfully decorated large trees.

The tours for Israelis who are not leaving for summer vacation, as usual, are popular and seen in many locations.

This tour group was in the area behind the King David Hotel.

Competing with a performance of Shakespeare in the Park. Theater in the Rough is back! Last year these annual outdoor events were not held.

This week the segway tours and dog walkers passed by on one side.

While from Bloomfield Park, one could also see the Tower of David where people flew by on a wire.

This year it’s Henry IV in Motion performed until the end of August.

This is the only Shakespeare group in the world acting with the wall of the Old City as background. An annual favorite on mine, more HERE

From Hansen House, the towering structure called Ester is still an impressive sight at night.

Lights lead into the former leper hospital from the main gate to the renovated new cultural venue.

I had not noticed these gravestones in the back garden before this week.

I assume that the lights and stands were set ready for one of the scenes of a theatrical performance taking place at Hansen House. With theaters closed so much of the past year, acting companies moved venues and outside.

The new Agam-designed mezuzah on Heichel Shlomo said to be the largest in the world, is easily seen from outside, but not so easy to photograph.

Not all construction work seems to have progressed this past year, it appears that the Knesset Museum still has a long way to go.

In the past year, Beit Avi Chai moved most of its programs online.

New corona warnings and rising numbers were announced this past week. While signs with Miriam Perez urging people to come to Jerusalem and enjoy the festivals and happenings are all around. Not elected Israeli President, she is donating money from her new modeling ad campaign to good causes.

Meanwhile, if the people who are walking on the Jerusalem streets look up from their phones, they will see that there are flowers blooming all along the streets.

There are these new lights near the Prime Minister’s residence to light up the night at the entrance to Balfour Street.

The month of August is half over, and it’s summer holiday time.

However, the big question is whether all schools will open on time.

No one really knows what will be next, but if you want to see the latest Corona regulations updated from Prime Minister’s office I posted HERE

New Rosh Hashanah art posters are up along the streets.

Hard to believe the year 5781 is almost over. Oh, what a year it was!

It’s the count-down time to the holidays. Selihot services and various selihot tours have been announced, too many to mention. No idea where we will be praying this year.

But for the first time in over a year, we had family for Shabbat dinner. Plus I was ready with some of it in time for a photo, chicken was still in the oven.

Oh, what a week it was!

What will happen next on the Jerusalem streets?