But the huge public sponsored Jerusalem celebrations and gatherings which went on during times of war and terror in the past were canceled.
Last week I was joking about my supersaturated photo of Corona bottles.
This week coronavirus – COVID-19 – is nothing to joke about – except it was Purim.
Not in Jerusalem. See those front lawns and suburban homes? This “flu bug” caught by my photographer friend with a great eye was so clever I asked her to let me share it. Please note the license plate “NF LUNZA.”
Though Jerusalem municipal mega-events were canceled due to the Ministry of Health restrictions, people still arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate Purim and Shushan Purim. Purim was celebrated in the Machane Yehudah Market, the shuk, and Nahlaot, with singing and dancing, costumes, and yes, drinking.
The show went on at the Tower of David Museum, both days, and was sold out at the night event.
Purim in Jerusalem is not a one day, but a week-long event.
Starting on Sunday morning, though sometimes it is hard to tell what is really a dress-up costume, “animals” were spotted.
The morning crowds near the shuk and on King George Street seemed bigger than regular Sunday and included, seniors in wheelchairs and babies in strollers.
Purim costume dress-up is taken seriously in Jerusalem.
These high school girls posed on their way home from school.
Two high school boys let me take their photo, but did not offer me any ice cream.
The 10th annual Azza Zaza Purim was held Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. The megillah was read at dozens of Jerusalem business locations on the hour, every hour in another location, at times even at not kosher restaurants, thanks to Chabad of Rechavia.
At least on Purim, streets were cleared of construction vehicles.
On the streets, creatures with wings were spotted walking,
and angels and princesses of various ages.
Masks for costume or safety precaution?
With over 30,000 Israelis in isolation this Purim, visitors kept their distance.
But even with fewer people on the streets, during peak hours for delivering Mishloach Manot, Purim gifts of food, traffic was enough to be annoying and dangerous.
Part of Purim celebration is the seudah, a big meal with good food and drink.
Costumes are optional, but singing and music and fun are required.
The Jerusalem Marathon was postponed until November 6, 2020.
The COVID-19 coronavirus threatened Purim in Jerusalem.
Families were not out in great numbers as in the past.
I attended smaller megillah readings in private homes and didn’t roam the streets.
But thanks to clever friends, we will share one more Purim image that sums up this truly upside down Purim in Jerusalem.
Finally, the sun came out and warmed up the cold, still wet Jerusalem streets.
The Tu BiShvat holiday was cold and rainy this year in Jerusalem.
ט”ו בשבט – the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, has close to a dozen ways to be spelled in English. Each year it is a problem and a challenge of how best to spell it.
An easier challenge is to find new ways to celebrate it in Jerusalem, Israel.
In honor of Tu BiShvat, the New Year for Trees, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens opened its gates for free public entry, extending the holiday this year from Sunday night until Wednesday afternoon. Walking the paths in the sunshine was a good way to warm up after days of bone-chilling cold weather.
On Jerusalem streets, carob pods lie drying and unwanted on the ground.
Oh, how different than Tu Bishvat celebrations years ago in the United States.
Tu Bishvat agricultural celebrations were recorded in the land of Israel, long before the state was established.
The songs we learned were about the shekediah, almond blossoms, bursting out. On the trees in Jerusalem, almond blossoms indeed burst out early this year after the wet winter season in spite of the cold weather, and before most other trees.
One special new tree was planted in the Beit Hanasi, Israeli President’s residence in the back garden. The dedication says, by President Rivlin “and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, as a sign of friendship between the two nations, and in recognition of the value of preserving and sustaining the environment and nature.” 26 Tevet 5780, 23 January 2020.
Tu Bishvatseders, special meals with four cups of wine, white and red and mixed are becoming more common. My friends set a gorgeous table, nothing common about her efforts or artistic talents. The holiday food table was laid out for guests and everything tasted as good as it looked.
A special first-time event was held for Tu BiShvat at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.
A Malida table for Tu Bishvat set for a traditional ceremony originating from India.
The Ambassador from India to Israel Sanjeev Singla attended and wore a blue kippah. He spoke in English but said he hoped next year for Malida to know more Hebrew.
A candle was lit while special coverings covered the food.
Prayers were recited beginning with “Simon tov and Mazel Tov.”
The words ended with a psalm at the completion of the ceremony. Then traditional foods were served.
For hundreds of years, Jews in India prayed of the Prophet Elijah and to return to the land of Israel. At this time Malida was being celebrated in Jerusalem in a meaningful public venue.
While the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens are wonderful on a spring day, on a cold night not so much. However, on the quest for new this year, the new building was lit up on Tu Bishvat night.
The now impressive Botanical Garden, a former garbage dump, is looking ahead to take on social roles in the community.
The story of Honi planting a tree and seeing it 70 years later is an old rabbinic legend.
Fruit optimization of every tree in an orchard is the story of the future. Now there’s AI, artificial intelligence, and ML, machine learning to track layers of factors to get maximum growth for trees and fruit production.
When it got down to the specifics of data collection, Hebrew or English, I was lost.
But at the meeting, they served beautiful fresh fruit platters with giant strawberries and pomegranate seeds.
Also, the dried fruits and nuts, and fresh dates for Tu BiShvat that looked good enough to share.
Also, the Super Moon peeked out from behind the clouds on my way home.
A bonus to a few minutes without rain when walking.
Young people received awards at the event that highlighted inclusion.
One of my favorite moments on this busy Tu BiShvat week was at Beit Hanasi at the conclusion of the official program with the President. For the first time, I watched closely the signing of Hatikvah. Thanks to Shani for her special translation of the familiar words