Have you been to Kfar Kama to see Circassian life?

Slowly returning to normal means venturing off the Jerusalem streets.

People are beginning to get around again, and we joined a group tour going to the Galilee.

Leaving Jerusalem we saw the scorched remains from the summer forest fires,

which were way too close to the new construction in Mevaseret.

Going past Mount Tabor to Kfar Kama, to the home of the Circassian community, Adyghe Израилым ис Адыгэхэр; and in Hebrew, הצ’רקסים, descended from two groups who were settled in Galilee in the 1870s during the Ottoman Empire.

Circassia: country, the historical region was along the northeast shore of the Black Sea, was destroyed and devastated after the Russian-Circassian War which lasted 100 years from 1763–1864.

90% of the Circassian people were either massacred or exiled, today there are 2- 3 million in Turkey and the Middle East, and half a million in Jordan.

In Israel, the 4,000-5,000 Circassians live mostly in Kfar Kama.

The Circassian Heritage Center is not always open to the public. We had driven through the narrow village streets once before, but then the center was closed.

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Even the shutter blue windows and doors tell part of the story. This blue color is used throughout the village for good luck.

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Our guide gave a historical background to his people and history.

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In Kfar Kama, some of the old stone structures and arches are preserved.

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The mosque and minaret rise above the Muslim community.

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Contrasts of old and new are found along the meticulously clean streets.

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The signs are in 3 languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and Adyghe, written in Cyrillic script.

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In the museum, there are artifacts from the past,

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examples of traditional costumes,

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and items from early settlement, including a Singer sewing machine.

A visit to Kfar Kama Heritage Center needs a video of their distinctive dancers.

The male dancer in the black hat was at Beit Hanasi almost 10 years ago with President Shimon Peres for a Sukkot Open House Performance.

Too bad I couldn’t find those photos now. Does anyone else remember their performance?

This seemed a good time to share a bit and a look at the blending of old and new, little-known cultures and religions in the land of Israel.

More from the many things happening on Jerusalem streets next time.

Jerusalem Looking Up and Down

There are days Jerusalem feels like one big construction site. Taking advantage of the pleasant weather, I walked around to see what’s new on the Jerusalem streets and to share with you.

The lights are on again at the Israel Museum as night events are returning.

The corner where King George Street becomes Keren Hayesod Street near Paris Fountain is so dangerous for pedestrians, we now have a crossing guard. The sidewalk is so ripped up, sometimes two men are on duty.

The street adjacent to the new National Library is finally without any visible construction equipment.

Walk past the library you see the new government offices rising to the sky.

Walk around them and look across the Begin Highway to the new hi-rise apartments of Kiryat Moshe. A row of these is planned to replace the old smaller dwellings. The row of three hotels near the city entrance which used to be considered tall is dwarfed in comparison.

And then there is the Jerusalem Gateway project!

When the gate was open, I entered hoping to find a shortcut. I had a meeting near the main bus station, an area of Jerusalem that has continually changed over the past three years.

As always, my shortcuts end up taking longer. However what a sight this was, digging down and down.

This was a photo taken in 2012 of the Jerusalem Gateway project.

These photos are of the same part of Jaffa Road as it is now.

And a closer look at the construction rising well above ground level.

Nearby is the old Shaare Zedek Hospital on Jaffa Road that has had several tenants since the last patient left its stone walls. The 5th Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art is set to open here on November 11th.

The area behind it and the blue fence is to be a major building project.

Construction cranes and wires obstruct the view of the Chord Bridge.

Looking down its seems that it will be a long time before this is finished.

But all around Jerusalem, the development projects start by digging down.

Then look up and there’s more being lifted in and out of building sites.

Our local builder buddies ask for their photos often when I walk by.

Who remembers when this hotel was the only tall building in Jerusalem?

The Hilton Hotel, which became the Crowne Plaza, is now the Vert Hotel.

But, soon it will have competition for the tallest hotel and King George Street will have a new look.

Seeing the second group of foreign tourists greeted in the Vert lobby was exciting. Hopefully, international tourism will begin again. Individual visitors, not just groups, have a possibility to come into Israel as of November 1, 2021. But, there is a long list of legal requirements to enter.

This is the view of Cinema City and the Supreme Court from the Vert.

Another view over the new residential buildings and hotel.

And my favorite, the view of Nachalot, on a clear evening, with the mountains in Jordan visible on the other side of the Dead Sea.

Attending an event in the Vert Presidential Suite, I took a little tour for you

and checked out the loo in the impressive Presidential Suite.

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Oh, what a view at night!

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No matter which direction, day or night, the Jerusalem streets are impressive to walk or stroll or to run.

Here’s hoping the 11th Jerusalem Marathon is again an international one.

And next? Check out the options from 131 Open Houses later this month.

Jerusalem 10th Marathon


The Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2020, finally took place on October 29, 2021. The excitement was high, though this time it was not an international marathon. There are plans for the International Jerusalem Marathon to return in March 2022.

Few people remember the last Jerusalem half marathon in 2010. Those were smaller events, with only a few thousand runners. The race caught most drivers by surprise with random street closings.

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Last year, the launch for the 10th Jerusalem Marathon was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the evening of January 20, 2020.

A week later the streets were shut down in Jerusalem while the world watched the events marking the 75th year since the liberation of Auschwitz.

Then the world shut down because of Covid-19 and the marathon was postponed and then canceled.

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The finish line, which looked just like this year’s, was taken down.

This past week the Jerusalem Marathon was back and streets were closed.

Many streets were even repaved for the Jerusalem Marathon runners.

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The new playground at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was not ready in time.

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At a pre-marathon event at Notre Dame, the view from the roof was better

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than the one at Cinema City for the pre-marathon pasta party.

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The lineup at Cinema City for runner check-in seemed to run efficiently.

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The pasta and salads served were excellent. I waited a long time for the Mayor to come, but he never did, and I finally gave up and went home.

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One line in Cinema City long when I arrived and still when I left hours later.

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Not lines of families going to see a movie, but lines for corona testing!

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The full marathon finish line in the park was being prepared early in the week and was ready to go the day before.

The winner 29-year-old Israeli Yamar Gethon had a long lead along the way.

He zipped by me, but I got other full marathon runners HERE

WordPress is not letting me share more photos now – so next time.

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The Piano Festival, Oud Festival, the Manofim Contemporary Art Festivals,

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and the International Animation Festival and Biennale are back.

Facebook photos of the Jerusalem Marathon can be seen HERE

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The Jerusalem streets are finally coming back.

Hope to see everyone here soon!