Jerusalem Day 55 – Yom Yerushalayim

Jerusalem Day, Yom Yerushalayim 50 was a big year with extravagant programs including a drone show, which was new and exciting at the time.

Last year I was in Tel Aviv for Yom Yerushalayim. Not so much fun having to sleep on pillows on the floor as bombs fell near the loft Airbnb I had rented – with no bomb shelter.

Jerusalem Day Israeli flags dancing in street

This year I am again missing the chance to march in the Flag Parade and show you the families celebrating and dancing in the Jerusalem streets.

After Shabbat thousands of young people were dancing and singing with a huge Israeli flag, and many smaller ones.

Yom Yerushalayim has been celebrated for more than one day this year.

The music was blasting from Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, ALL Thursday night. Huge stages were erected, as usual for the WhiteNight, all night long partying, but this year sounded and felt much louder. Other locations also had major live music productions but without as many complaints.

However, even earlier in the week, there were celebrations!

On King George Street, StandWithUs opened its new expanded education center with a flashing video in the new theater space.

The gala reception and program were held outside, behind the YMCA.

But warm feelings inside for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at StandWithUs.

Gorgeous, but cool nights on the Jerusalem streets early in the week.

In the never know what next, I had no idea what this guy was doing,

or who these guys were that wanted their photo taken.

You could feel the energy, people were back on the Jerusalem streets.

Mamilla Mall was alive again, with international tourists and Israelis.

The banner for ‘Yom Yerushalaim 55 years’ was outside of Jaffa Gate.

And inside Jaffa Gate, beigelles were ready for the tourists to buy.

The police station was ready, draped with holiday flags.

Large groups of students on holiday trips filled the Old City lanes.

The Western Wall Plaza near the Kotel was filled with group activities.

From the rooftop of the Aish building, I like to check the progress of the dome rising over the Tiferet Israel synagogue construction.

And of course, from the rooftop, to take multiple photos of the scenes below.

Including Ir David where the new restaurant and cable car station are to be.

On a clear day, you can see over the Dead Sea into to Jordan.

I went to see the Charge d’Affaires of the Kosovo Embassy in Jerusalem Ines Demiri accept an award from the Israel Defence and Security Forum.

People with Israeli flags kept walking by while Ines posed with Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum near the Kotel, Western Wall.

We walked out of the Jaffa Gate toward Jaffa Road, so she could go home and I could get the photo of the giant Jerusalem flag near Tzahal Square.

Oh, what a lovely time of year to walk on the Jerusalem streets!

Especially seeing friends finally able to return to Jerusalem again and join us to celebrate Yom Yerushalayim in 5782.

Jerusalem Old City Walls

Remember for 19 years 1948-1967, Jews were unable to walk in or live in the Old City, the closest was a view was from Notre Dame.

Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!

A Day in Jerusalem: What you did not see

When sand fills the air it’s a good time to shut the windows and stay off the Jerusalem streets. It’s not a pretty picture as the dirt blows in and covers everything on any day, especially on Shabbat.

However, earlier in the week, it was a very different story.

Monday morning, the sky was blue, the roses bright red, and the menorah across from the Knesset was surrounded by lush green foliage.

Even though I was in a hurry, I took the time to stop, appreciate the scene and take a quick photograph.

A Knesset security guard came over to question what I was doing. However, I was able to point and say how pretty, and he did not stop me.

The red carpet was out. Not for me, but for the President of the Austrian National Council. I could see the drums and tuba ready for an official musical band welcome, but I was on my way to a meeting inside.

First time back inside the Knesset in over two years, and getting permission to use my camera was an exciting way to start the day. The Knesset Israel Victory Caucus met to discuss the security situation of the past year.

Photo credit: Michael Katz

Thanks to photographer Mike Katz for sharing his photo with me of the new style tee-shirt, which I missed when I stepped out for a few minutes.

Incitement to terror has increased, what to do to stop it is the question?

The official car of Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka was parked as I was leaving the meeting which went longer than expected.

I say moving to Jerusalem has been an education in international flags.

I passed a tour group at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. The natural roof was not green this time as in a 2019 post.

Next to the Bird Observatory, the cemetery, across from the Israeli Supreme Court building has become a popular attraction with busloads of men and women coming to pray at the grave of the Zvhiller Rebbe.

However, at least one man was able to find a quiet moment to reflect.

I was rushing over to the new Nefesh BeNefesh Campus for the first annual Mental Health Expo, special for English speakers. Attended by 1600 people who took advantage to speak with dozens of participating organizations.

The lecture room was filled for Dr. David Pelcovitz’s talk. I had to push my way into the standing-room-only crowd which spilled into the hallway to take a photo. It was the most crowded room of people I have seen in over two years.

It was a beautiful day to be out and walk in Jerusalem. The new path in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was lined with new colorful flowers.

The new sign was up for the Kraft Family Sports Campus.

And the Ninja section at the park was filled with religious girls in long skirts excitedly trying out the exercise equipment.

Amazing the Jerusalem of contrasts, the new park area, and the old buildings as they were decades ago in disrepair adjacent to each other.

I passed this dumpster and wondered how long those wooden pallets would remain?

With Lag B’Omer approaching, all the wood along Jerusalem streets was being collected for upcoming nighttime bonfires.

The Jerusalem Book Forum and International Writers’ Festival were back again with local and international writers and publishers attending the opening events at the Jerusalem YMCA.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was present to award the Jerusalem Prize as he did in the last festival held in 2019 to Joyce Carol Oates.

This year’s winner British author Julian Barnes was not able to attend but appeared in a video.

It was fascinating to hear a speaker from Germany say how he felt safer now walking the Jerusalem streets than the streets in Europe.

One featured writer was Joshua Cohen, author of “The Netanyahus: An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family” which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

All that was on a day the media focused only on conflict.

Wednesday night, Lag B’Omer fires burned well into the night.

The piles of wood were prepared and piled high by thousands who partied all night long in Jerusalem. Musical performances went on in many locations until the early morning hours.

I tried watching online, but wonder if Meron Lag BOmer celebrations will recover any time soon after last year’s tragedy?

While there is a government crisis (almost daily?) and troubles abound, this week I preferred to walk during the day when the sky was clear and the sun shone and admire the flowers along the Jerusalem streets.

The plans for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, reunited for 55 years are well underway. From May 26 to June 2, 2022, Jerusalem is celebrating with 9000 flags and 42 km of flag chains hung along the Jerusalem streets.

Yes, there is much more happening in Jerusalem that does not attract headlines. What next? How about a parade for over 60-year-olds?

In the Jerusalem Cinema City where the Mental Health Fair was held, I saw these two women sitting, one Muslim and one Jewish. Not what you saw on your TV sets at night, but what was happening on the real Jerusalem streets.

It was May 16, 2022. Nakba Day in Jerusalem, Israel – what you did not see.

Jerusalem Streets Busy Again

The Jerusalem streets are busy again–the traffic is unpredictable with backups and street closings. Ah, to be “normal” again.

An annual biking event was held for those up early enough to ride through the Jerusalem streets as the sun was rising on Friday morning.

This year it seems like people are trying to make up for lost ‘corona’ time by packing in events and programs and trips to Jerusalem.

With President Guillermo Lasso of the Republic of Ecuador and First Lady María de Lourdes Alcívar on their state visit to Israel, the sounds of official motorcade sirens returned to the streets.

Besides official meetings and a State dinner at Beit Hanasi, with the Israeli President and Michal Herzog, Ecuador opened an Innovation and Trade office in Jerusalem at Hebrew University, with a large delegation of ministers and business people.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz had a motorcade escort as she attended official events, such as going to Yad Vashem and meeting the Israeli Foreign Minister.

Though it was not on the official state list of events, she was accompanied by Israeli protocol and greeted warmly at the Kosovo Embassy in Jerusalem.

She was hosted at a reception held at the Jerusalem Embassy in Israel, where she spoke briefly to invited guests.

In her remarks, she called Charge d’affaires Ines Demiri ‘Ambassador,’ a title I believe she deserves for the work she has done this past year to promote Kosovo and joint business and travel prospects between the two countries.

Here we are in the middle of May and the week with Yom HaZikaron and Yom Haatzmaut is always a busy time, but there was more this year.

The Michael Levin Base for lone soldiers and Bnot Sherut received a Sefer Torah dedicated by the Michael Levin Foundation based in the United States. Former Ambassador Ron Dermer was the featured speaker.

I loved how the crowd builds, as people come out and follow the Torah as it is carried joyously around the Jerusalem streets.

On the same day was the Nefesh BeNefesh Bonei Awards, this year held at Beit Hanasi for the first time. Olim, immigrants, who have contributed to Israel and its growth in various categories were honored.

Not all the honorees were able to attend. Dr. Jonathan Rieck was home sick with Covid, so his two sons accepted his honor. Entertainer Josie Katz also was not able to attend.

I got stuck standing in one spot for the entire program and was not able to get different angles of the speakers or the event.

I remembered a previous time I was in that one spot unable to move because of a live broadcast, but that time I did not complain.

As President, Isaac Herzog seems to enjoy greeting attendees after the events.

No longer under a news embargo is the news of the new state-of-the-art MDA blood collection center in Ramle.

On a media tour before the dedication, we watched as they prepared the facility.

The massive facility is so impressive I did a short video with some of the clips I took as we descended deep underground to see the new storage vault and largest door in Israel and much more.

The 2022 Jerusalem International Book Forum and Mishkenot Sha’ananim Writers’ Festival is back from May 15 – 19. Opening events at the YMCA.

Every Thursday, the Israel Museum’s Illustration Library is offering stories from its collection of thousands of children’s books from all over the world. Ages 3–8 | 4:30 pm Special activity | 5 pm Story hour | Free

The Israeli Ministry of Education is hosting the inaugural Education Innovation Conference on behalf of the OECD and reps from 18 countries are expected to arrive in Israel at the end of this month.

Flags are up for Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day on May 29, 2022, and Jerusalem has prepared a long list of public events to celebrate 55 years.

But first, we have Lag B’Omer this week. With all the building and construction and park renovations, where will the kids make those huge bonfires?

After two years, much more is happening again on the Jerusalem streets!

Hope you can join us in the celebrations soon.