Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Jerusalem after Shavuot – Festival Season

Oh, time seems to fly in Jerusalem, Israel.

One holiday and major event goes into another on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem Day sign in Hebrew

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, with its multiple events, is over.

Only a few leftover signs and flying flags remain.

Rainbow colors for Pride Parade at Jerusalem Israel e First Station with Italian travel bloggers

Italians were here for an international travel bloggers summit and posed in First Station.

They did not realize the colorful shades were for the Jerusalem Pride Parade.

Pride Parade in Jerusalem Israel and religious men say mincha before start

Before the parade began, near the Liberty Bell Park starting point, I saw this group of security personnel gather for afternoon prayers.

Jerusalem American Center lit at night with colorful lights, Gay Pride month

The American Center is still lit with rainbow-colored lights at night.

Learning for Shavuot night in Jerusalem

There were tens of thousands of visitors in Jerusalem for Shavuot. Synagogues and streets were filled day and night. In this photo, you can see a few of the hundreds of lectures and classes offered.

Israel Festival

Though it’s called the Israel Festival, the decades-old festival is held in Jerusalem, in various venues. This year it runs from May 30 to June 15, with enough programs to fill a newspaper supplement.

I want to share one production by the Elad Theatre held at the Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History entracne

This was the main entrance, back in days of the protests to save the Nature Museum. 

Museum of Natural History in Jerusalem in evening

Coming up the stairs from the parking lot near Emek Refaim as the sun was setting, lights were on at the Jerusalem Museum of Natural History.

Jerusalem Museum of Natural History grounds and pond

Was there always a pond on the grounds? For sure there wasn’t special catering.

The Nature Museum was best known for its large live snakes and tortoises.

Israel Festival Elad Theater setting for Romeo and Juliet

But on the grounds this night there was a table set for a banquet dinner. Dining, dancing with live music, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was on the menu for this Israel Festival event.

Israel Festival production of Romeo and Juliet

Here was Juliet on the balcony of the Nature Museum for the Masquerade Ball.

Romeo and Juliet outdoor in garden of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

At the opening scene, the audience donned masks and mingled with the actors. After drinks, the party was getting going with enthused production extras.

Stage for Romeo and Juliet in the garden of Natural History Museum

Romeo and Juliet met at the ball, but the main scenes were held as the audience dined on the catered food and more wine.

Romeo and Juliet in Jerusalem Israel Hebrew adaptation

The actors used the entire area, including on the tables. There were no bad or back row seats. There was interaction with the audience throughout this Hebrew language adaptation of the Bard.

Romeo and Juliet stage in grounds of Jerusalem Natural History Museum

Shakespeare is not routinely taught in Israeli schools. So in case, you do not know the conclusion of this famous story, I will end with one photo of the fight scene.

The location and weather were fabulous.  It was a great production, even if I did not try the food or drink. I hope this is not the last production of this type.

Sign for Tzamid Festival in Jerusalem Israel

But as soon as the Israel Festival is over, Tzamid Festival, Arts without Boundaries, begins.

Design Week at Hansen House at night

Design Week at Hansen House looks to be bigger than ever.

And the annual Shavuah Hasefer, Hebrew Book Week starts tonight at First Station.

Hebrew Book Week at First Station Shavuah Hasefer

I tried to get a photo of the new signs on the other side near the entrance from the parking lot. But an overly conscientious security guard would not let me get close enough after I walked all the way around.

Graduations and end of year performances, an International Freedom of Press Conference at the Jerusalem Press Club and a Camera event on antisemitism in the mainstream media were all happening last night, along with a concert at the Tower of David for the Israel Festival.

"picture Damascus Gate", "pinball photo", "image of Damascus Gate"

And the annual Jerusalem Light Festival is coming soon.

Amazing and diverse things happening on these Jerusalem streets!

More Romeo & Juliet – The Last Supper – photos HERE

 

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, What Next?

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day, What Next?

Yom Yerushalayim. Jerusalem Day.

Another fabulous day of celebrations has passed, celebrating 52 years of reunification in Jerusalem, Israel.

Remembering the divided city and nineteen years under Jordanian occupation is more important than ever as anti-Israel groups spread their narratives.

Yom Yerushalayim posters Jerusalem Day

Celebrating Jerusalem 52 signs lined Jerusalem streets.

On Yom Yerushalayim a large morning prayer service was held at the Kotel, Western Wall, and another with music on the Tayelet Promenade, with the Temple Mount in view.

The official memorial ceremony for Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel is held in the morning at Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

Israeli Ethiopian memorial in cemetery on Mount Herzl

A government minister and a representative of the bereaved families spoke at the event along with President Rivlin near the memorial for those who died during the treacherous journey from Ethiopia to the promised land.

Then there was another Har Herzl official memorial ceremony for the fallen of the Six-Day War and the War of Attrition.

The list of municipality events is too long to mention, and it was certainly impossible to attend them all. There were free tours, including the reopening of the sifting project, plus musical events and parades.

King George Street Yom Yerushalayim

The long-established parade dancing with flags went through the Old City. While a family-friendly parade begun four years ago was held elsewhere.

Roads were closed. Cyclists rode in from Gush Etzion.

To end the day, there was an official ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, with the President, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in attendance, at Ammunition Hill.   At the Kotel, the singing and dancing went on until well after dark.

Flags along Jaffa Road for Yom Yerushalayim

Flags lined major routes, such as Jaffa Road along the light rail line. The trains did not run Yom Yerushalayim in the afternoon as thousands walked this way to Jaffa Gate and the Kotel. 

Jerusalem street repair on Yoel Salomon Street

Construction somewhere in Jerusalem is a given, as here on Yoel Salomon Street.

Repairs and painting were slower as this has been the month of Ramadan.

Muslims fast by day and break their fast at sunset meal called Iftar.

President Rivlin hosted iftar meal at Beit Hanasi

President Rivlin hosted an annual Iftar meal in the gardens of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence, for 200 guests, including the Ambassadors of Egypt and Jordan and Muslim leaders.

Ben Yehuda Street Muslim women shopping during Ramadan

There is less shopping in Jerusalem by Muslim women during the heat of the day on Ramadan. However, these women were out on Ben Yehudah Street.

Jews were allowed on Temple Mount in the early morning Yom Yerushalayim. Police had to control the Arabs who rioted, screaming and throwing chairs.

Sheikh Jabari and Avi Zimmerman pose after press conference at Media Central

However, this past week Sheikh Ashraf Al Jabari from Hebron joined Avi Zimmerman from Ariel at Media Central for a press conference to discuss the Judea-Shomron Chamber of Commerce, economic cooperation and plans to go to Bahrain.

US Rep Eliot Engel in Jerusalem Israel with IDI and Brookings Institute

Also this week, US Rep Eliot Engel was at the Israel Democracy Institute to discuss his views on US and Israeli relations.

Signs for Israel Festival on Jerusalem Theater

While across the street, the Jerusalem Theater was being readied for the two-week Israel Festival opening night musical event.

Jerusalem Theater stage on Sherover Plaza for Israel Festival

A huge stage was erected in the plaza for bands to play at night.

Jerkily exhibit at Islamic Museum

The Islamic Museum has a new exhibit on jewelry, where old pieces are given a new look by new artisans.

Street sign for Bear Sound

Not just art and design, but the music of Beat/Second filled the Jerusalem streets.

If that is not cultural enough, opera is coming back to Jerusalem.

Opera in Jerusalem Israel in Sultan's Pool

Nabucco, “the beloved opera with the Hebrew slaves choir” is to be performed in the Sultan’s Pool, on June 20.

President Rivlin opened his Yom Yerushalayim evening remarks:

“My brothers and sisters, lovers of Jerusalem, 52 years ago this city was liberated, 52 years since the hearts of millions of Jews, Israel and the world heard the ‘Temple Mount in our hands’…52 years since we stood on the summit of Mount Scopus, touching a dream, a united Jerusalem.”

After dark,  Yom Yerushalayim did not ebb away quietly. Near the Kotel, music, and dancing continued. as tens of thousands of people filled the plaza.

Jerusalem Old City Walls for Yom Yerushalayim

On the walls of the Old City, Facebook comments were projected.

White night for Jerusalem Day

White Night in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, with live loud music continued all night long.  People as far away as Baka and Arnona said they were kept awake by the music.

But not to worry, no downtime in Jerusalem!

Design Week and Shavuot Hebrew signs in Jerusalem Israel

Another Jerusalem Design Week is coming.

But first, the holiday of Shavuot begins as soon as Shabbat is over.

Again people plan to stay up all night, this time learning Torah.

 

 

Lag B’Omer and Meron

Lag B’Omer and Meron

In Jerusalem, Israel, there were people of all ages, who in spite of the heat wave made their medurot, bonfires, on Lag B’Omer.

On Lag B’Omer smoke and fire are a tradition.

bonfire on lag b'Omer

Remember this RJS photo? Medurot are not little fires to roast marshmallows or cook potatoes in the coals. Many are crafted with all types of wood collected and saved for months.

Lag B'Omer bon fire in Jerusalem

In Jerusalem for Lag B’Omer  five years ago, I saw this controlled fire raging. This year there was no authorized huge fire in the area. Fewer individual bonfires as in the past could be spotted. Perhaps the 500 shekel fine controlled them or the official warnings?

But for Lag B’Omer, Jerusalem, Israel, is not the place to be for serious celebrants.

There are those who go year after year to Meron for Lag B’Omer.

Meron trip in July

Estimates vary, it is hard to count, as tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, converge into the mountain location, from all over Israel to these simple roads.

In preparation for Lag B’Omer, I took photos of what Meron looked like on a normal day, without a million people crushing together in the dark around a huge medura.

Building site in Meron

‘Nah Nachman MaUman’ was graffiti written on the wall of future visitor center.

Art seller in Meron

A vendor was selling portraits from a trailer.

Tourist gift shop in Meron

Souvenirs were available for tourists. It was a regular hot summer day. People come to Meron to visit or pray not just on Lag B’Omer. 

Entrances for men and women in Meron

There are separate entrances for men and women.

A large sign warns in bold Hebrew letters to “dress modestly.”

July day at Meron

There is more than one sign concerning dress code. I did not notice any no smoking signs.

Women at Meron

Inside, the tomb of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Shimon Bar Yochai, or Rashbi.

Meron women praying

On this quiet summer afternoon, a few women were deeply into their prayers.

Meron chair outside in sun

Outside, was this special chair. Many three year-old boys come to Meron for their first haircut. Especially on Lag B’Omer day, this would be one busy item for those traditional first snips of fine baby hair.

Meron synagogue inside

There was one small room, the study hall named in memory of Asher. It could provide some relief on a hot day for that hair cut.

Blue dome at Meron in day light

This blue dome over the tomb was easy to photograph in the sunshine. Now imagine it with hundreds of men crowded in it at midnight.

Lighting candles in Meron

This is a sign pointing to a room designated for lighting memorial candles.

People having lunch in Meron in summer

On a regular summer day, you can sit and eat on a covered outdoor patio. The view of the mountain range is spectacular.

Meron new tourist center

This was a sign announcing a project to build a guest center for study of Torah, in honor of Rashbi. 

But on Lag B’Omer night, Meron has medurot at its center. With singing and dancing, well into the early hours. Participants often arrive back home in time for dawn’s light. Hours are spent getting to Meron and then more hours are spent trying to return home.

Meron birds in tree above

I noticed the birds above watching over us that day. In the smoke and confusing of Lag B’Omer night, they would hide away in safety.

As I did this year, I was home with windows shut to keep out the smoke and heat.

Maybe one day I will finally get to Meron for Lag B’Omer.

Meanwhile, this video came up a on search for Rashbi.

Kinneret as seen from bus leaving Meron

A view of the Kinneret, Sea of Galilee, is always worth the trip up the mountain to Meron.

It amazes each year how there are not more serious injuries with the heat, fire, and crowds.

Another Israel miracle?